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Auto Shipping FAQ: How Is Overseas Auto Transport Different From In The U.S.?

Subscribe January 06, 2014
Auto Transport | Car shipping process | FAQs

Jack decided to follow his dreams, so he applied and got a job working for a company in Bonn, Germany.

He had been in love with Germany since he went there after graduating college, and had visited several times since. Now, he was getting things ready for the move but he was worried – he couldn't decide whether or not to move his car with him.

  • Would he even be able to move his car overseas?
  • What would an overseas move entail?
  • How long would it take?
  • Was it even worth it?

Why Move The Car In The First Place?

In looking for answers, Jack had to figure out his own motivation for moving his car.

He had spent a lot of money on his 2012 Chevrolet Camaro. It was just the right color, and boy, was it powerful! He couldn't imagine being without it and couldn't wait to take it for a run down the Autobahn. But would he really need it?

Jack was going to be living on the outskirts of town, but his house was close to public transportation that would put him within a block of his office. He could probably do without it. Nevertheless, he didn't want to go to Germany without his car.

Other Things to Consider

Jack also had to take into consideration whether or not his driver's license would be good in Germany. The first time he went to Germany, Jack got a driving permit. This would allow him to drive while he was in the country, but a U.S. driver's license is only valid in Germany for six months. Jack did his homework and scheduled the required first aid class for just after he gets to Bonn; he's all set there.

Build a Checklist When Moving a Car Overseas:

Moving a vehicle across the U.S. is fairly simple - just choose an auto transport company, schedule your move and you're done. Moving a vehicle across an ocean takes a bit more.

For Jack, it was made easier by having a checklist of what he needed:

Original title

The U.S. government requires the original copy of the title before the vehicle can leave the country. The title is then returned to the shipping company, who will make arrangements to get your title back to you. Before you turn over your title, though, make sure you have a copy with you as well so you can prove ownership.

Letter of release from the lienholder

If you have a loan on your vehicle, you have to get a letter from the loan company allowing you to move it overseas.

Export Power of Attorney

The Export Power of Attorney will allow the shipping company to take care of your vehicle until it is delivered to you.

Photocopy of driver's license

It's always important to have a duplicate copy just to be safe.

More Tips For Overseas Shipping

Once the paperwork is done, the vehicle can be shipped overseas. A few important tips to remember, though, include:

  • Only you can pick up your vehicle at its destination. Be sure to bring your driver's license as verification that you are the owner of the vehicle.
  • Contact your insurance agent to make sure you have marine insurance coverage on your vehicle. Vehicles are transported via ship, so regular insurance coverage won't take care of anything that happens while at sea. Reputable auto transport companies also offer marine insurance coverage, but check with your own insurance carrier first.
  • Remember you may need to also ship your vehicle to the departure port, depending on where you live. It may also need further transport once it arrives on the continent to which you are moving.

How long does it take for your vehicle to get to you overseas? It depends on where you are going.

Obviously, it takes longer to ship a vehicle from the Western U.S. to Europe than it does to ship from the Western U.S. to Asia. Your car shipping company will be able to give you a better estimate of time, but just know it can take as few as two months or as many as six months, depending on the carrier and where it is being shipped.

In Jack's case, he did decide to ship his Camaro, even though it took four months to get it. His first trip down the Autobahn made the time he spent without his car worth the wait. He's been enjoying his drives through the mountains of Europe ever since.


No issues to report, service was dependable and reliable. Our car was available before the scheduled date! Very much appreciated!
T. Rosenthal


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