5 Tips for Moving a Car Overseas

If you are moving overseas you may want to move your car, as well as most of your household possessions. This is often the case if you are moving on a permanent or relatively long term basis. However before you start to make arrangements you must first do a little research.

Every country has its own laws and regulations relating to the importation of automobiles. Duties and other taxes vary by country. You may find that either your particular vehicle is not permitted or that the cost of modification to meet the destination country’s standards is cost prohibitive. Here are five tips to help you through the process of moving a car oversees efficiently.

1. Can I Import My Car?

Contact the embassy for the destination country to find out about customs rules and regulations as they relate to the importation of an automobile. The embassy will likely provide you a link to their local transportation authority that sets out the standards as they relate to safety, emissions and other regulatory issues. If your car requires modification to meet local standards you should determine the cost of such work in advance. You may find that it will be more costly than you anticipated. For example, the cost of converting a North American made vehicle to right hand drive for use in England far outweighs the benefit of taking your own car when you move overseas.

2. Who Should I Contact to Make Arrangements?

Always work through a properly accredited international moving company like Premiere Van Lines’ International division. They have the network of resources to prepare the customs documentation, make the ocean shipping arrangements, arrange for insurance, coordinate inland destination services and other processes involved in moving a car overseas. This is not the time to book with a “no name” forwarder directly over the Internet.

3. What Kind of Service is Available?

While it is possible to arrange for air service this is rarely done unless it is a specialty vehicle destined for a special event. Most cars being moved overseas are shipped by ocean freight. You can choose “Roll On-Roll Off” service where the vehicle is chained into position in a cargo hold or you can choose an ocean freight container. “Roll On-Roll Off” service is more cost effective but it may take the car longer to get to destination and the vehicle will be subjected more to the elements. Choosing to use a 20’ ocean container will generally shorten transit time and will provide more protection for your car during the trip across the ocean. The other decision to be made is whether you want to move your car overseas on a “door-to-door” or a “port to port” basis. If your final destination is not the port city where the ship will dock then it may be more convenient to arrange for “door-to-door” service. The extra cost may be well worth it.

4. What Personal Documentation Do I Have to Provide?

Very few countries will allow you to import a leased vehicle. Similarly, very few leasing companies will allow you to take a vehicle overseas. Generally, you will have to provide a copy of the original bill of sale, the original title or registration, valid insurance and a valid passport. The number of copies may vary by country. The company handling the customs clearance for you will provide you with the other documents that will be required by the specific destination country.

5. What Other Preparations Should Be Made?

Always do your own pre-move vehicle inspection, and take clear photos of the car from all angles. The shipping company will also do their own inspection but in the case of a dispute about damage, having your own photos of the vehicle will make settlement easier. The car battery must be disconnected or removed before shipping for safety reasons. Coolant or anti-freeze is to be left in the vehicle to accommodate changing atmospheric temperatures that are inevitable at sea. Generally you are not permitted to pack anything inside the car.

For more information about moving a car overseas contact your local Premiere Van Lines International office.

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