If the prospect of international auto transport seems daunting at first, rest assured that it’s not as difficult as it seems. There are more steps involved than with cross-country car shipping, but the top car shipping companies have developed methods to safely, efficiently, and affordably transport vehicles around the world.
Shipping a car overseas is a bit more expensive than shipping one domestically, but it’s easy to find cheap car shipping rates by comparing free quotes from auto shipping brokers. Once you get a general idea of what international car shipping costs, you can choose the shipping company that best suits your needs.
Methods For International Auto Transport
There are three methods of shipping your car internationally. Two involve loading your vehicle onto a freight ship to be carried across the ocean. The third involves flying your car to its destination via freight aircraft.
Roll On, Roll Off (RORO)
RORO is the cheapest method for international auto transport. Your car is driven onto the deck of a freight ship, parked, and secured via ratchet straps and clamps. Much like with domestic open carrier shipping, your car will be exposed to the elements.
Car Shipping Containers
The most popular overseas car shipping method is via enclosed shipping containers. It’s a bit more expensive than RORO, but it’s a safer option for both your car and your peace of mind. To cut down on the cost, you can elect to share your shipping container with other cars.
Though shipping your car via air freight is the safest and fastest international vehicle transport method, it’s by far the most expensive. Most people who choose air freight own rare, exotic, or luxury vehicles.
International Auto Transport Costs
The average cost of international car transport ranges from $1,000 to $5,000 for standard transport service. For air transport rather than ocean transport, costs can range from $5,000 to around $40,000.
The best way to find out what overseas auto shipping costs is to request international car shipping quotes online from the top international shipping companies.
What Affects International Shipping Costs?
Several factors can affect how much it costs to transport your car internationally:
- Distance to destination port
- Size, weight, and condition of your vehicle
- International car shipping insurance
- Taxes and fees in destination country
When calculating your budget for an overseas car transport, you may want to consider shipping your car from a popular port, such as Los Angeles, Miami, or New York. Using a less common departure point can significantly raise the cost for your shipment.
How Do I Book International Auto Transport?
International vehicle shipping isn’t as complicated as it seems. These three steps outline the process for booking an international car shipment.
1. PIck A Type Of Transport
Based on your shipping needs, you’ll have to decide between roll on/roll off shipping, a vehicle shipping container, or air freight shipping. RORO shipping is by far the cheapest option, but it does leave your car exposed to potential damage. Container shipping is a much safer option, and most carriers offer cost-effective multi-car containers. Air Freight is the quickest and most expensive option but is generally used for rare and high-end vehicles.
2. Compare Quotes From Providers
Most car shipping brokers’ websites have instant quote tools available. By comparing quotes, you’ll be able to find which international car shipping company best suits your needs and budget.
3. Pick An Auto Shipping Company
Once you find a quote that works for you, it’s best to book your transport as soon as possible. The longer the lead time, the less you’ll pay.
Requirements For International Auto Transport
Before transporting your car overseas, you’ll need to gather some required documentation to share with both your shipping agent and the transport carrier.
The shipping carrier will need a set of your vehicle’s keys for the duration of the transport. Your keys will be returned to you when your vehicle is delivered.
Title And Registration
To pass through shipping ports, the carrier will need the original title to your car. Most companies advise making additional copies of your title, but the original will be returned once your car gets delivered.
Notarized Statement From A Creditor Or Lessor
If you’re leasing your car, you’ll need to provide a notarized letter from the lessor stating its knowledge of the shipment and granting permission to ship the vehicle. If your car is currently financed, you’ll need the same notarized letter from your creditor. If your car is under a lien, some ports may not allow it to pass through customs.
Country-Specific Requirements For Car Export
Car export requirements differ from country to country. Some countries only allow the export of cars over a certain age, and others don’t allow the export of used cars. Make sure you and your shipping representative are clear on all your destination country’s car export regulations before shipping your vehicle.
Some export requirements include:
- Bill of sale
- Certificate of origin
- Shipper export certification
- Declaration of dangerous goods
You or the person who will be present at the delivery location will need to present ID to receive your car. Most people use their U.S. passports. If you don’t have a passport, you’ll need to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Preparing Your Vehicle For International Auto Transport
Once you’ve set the date for your international transport, chosen your shipping method, and worked out export requirements, you’ll need to prepare your car for shipment.
Wash Your Car
Washing your car before an international transport serves a few purposes. First, it’s easier to spot any existing damage on a clean car. Additionally, some countries may not allow dirty cars to pass customs for fear of invasive plant material or insects. When shipped to another country, cars must first be quarantined and inspected. Cars that are not clean may fail that inspection and be shipped back to the country of origin.
Remove Possessions From The Vehicle
Personal possessions cannot be left in the car when it’s shipped internationally. Extra items could not only put your car over the shipping weight limit but also create a higher risk of burglary while it’s in transit. Also, the inside of your car should be cleaned so it passes the customs inspection.
Remove Or Secure Loose Parts
Make sure any removable or loose parts like bike racks, antennas, hood ornaments, and roof racks are either removed or fully secured before shipping your car overseas.
Empty Your Gas Tank
You’ll want no more than a quarter tank of gas in your vehicle. This is enough to drive the car onto and off of the transport carrier.
Get An Extra Set Of Keys
Though it’s not necessary, most international shipping companies recommend making a copy of your keys. If the set left with the car somehow gets lost, you’ll be glad to have an extra set of car keys.
How Long Does International Auto Transport Take?
The transit time for international auto transport is between 30 and 60 days on average, though it depends on a few factors. The distance between the pickup and final destinations, the transport method, and the time it takes to prepare and load a vehicle for transport all affect the time it takes to ship a car overseas.
Additionally, you have to factor in the time it will take to get your car through customs. Some countries have more stringent inspections than others.
If you need your car shipped internationally as quickly as possible, you may want to consider booking a sole shipping container rather than a shared container. If you have a larger budget, air freight is the speediest method of international auto transport.
Best Companies For International Auto Transport
Montway Auto Transport
Montway Auto Transport is an auto shipping broker that has efficiently and safely moved hundreds of thousands of vehicles. In addition to its extensive domestic shipping options, Montway offers international auto transport services.
The company holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and an average customer rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars on the site.
Discover more by reading our complete Montway Auto Transport review.
Easy Auto Ship
Youngstown, Ohio–based Easy Auto Ship specializes in a number of transport services, including international auto shipping. The transport company guarantees its pricing so you won’t have to worry about hidden or surprise fees. Easy Auto Ship also has added benefits like reimbursing you for a car wash if your car arrives dirty.
The BBB gives Easy Auto Ship an A+ rating, and customers on the site give the company an average of 4.6 stars.
Learn more about the company in our full Easy Auto Ship review.
FAQ: International Auto Transport
How We Rate Auto Shippers
Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of car shipping companies. While there are multiple qualities that make an auto transport provider successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are the most important for consumers:
- Cost: Cost can be difficult to compare between providers because so many factors impact auto shipping rates. To determine our cost score, we perform a secret shopper analysis for a variety of vehicles and routes.
- Services: Our team of experts looks at the types of services available, as well as insurance coverage and the ability to guarantee pickup and drop-off dates. Ratings also take into account whether the transport company is a broker or a carrier.
- Reputation: It’s important that a car shipping provider is able to deliver your vehicle in a safe and timely manner. Companies with a strong rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) score well in this category. Established providers with a long history of reliable service also receive positive marks.
- Customer Experience: We comb through consumer reviews on sites like the BBB to learn about customer experiences. Car transport companies with a low volume of complaints score well in this area.
*Data accurate at time of publication.