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International Car Shipping Guide

Learn how to find an international shipping company and prepare your car for the journey.

From our #1 rated provider, montway_logo


02/21/2024 04:40 PM

The Gist:

  • Roll On/Roll Off (RORO)is the cheapest way to ship a car overseas.
  • The cost of international shipping ranges anywhere from $1,000 to $40,000 depending on the type of transportation.
  • Montway Auto Transport is our top rated company for international auto shipping.

If the prospect of international auto transport seems daunting at first, rest assured that it’s not as difficult as it seems. Yes, 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 all 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.

What Is The Cheapest Way To Ship A Car Overseas?

The cheapest method of shipping your car overseas is through Roll On, Roll Off (RORO) shipping. There are three methods of shipping your car internationally. Two methods involve loading your vehicle onto a freight ship to be carried across the ocean. The third method 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 your car and provides car owners with more peace of mind. To cut down on the cost, you can elect to share your shipping container with other cars.

Air Freight

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.

How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Car Internationally?

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
  • Shipping method
  • Route popularity
  • Vehicle type

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.

When shipping internationally, you might run into some challenges getting your vehicle through customs. This may require you to hire an agent which will cost extra money on top of charges you may have to pay at the destination port. 

If you’re looking to ship a luxury or classic car, enclosed shipping is a smart option to keep it protected. This shipping method isn’t as common as open transport, meaning it costs more on average to ship your vehicle in an enclosed container. Because of this, shipping costs are much higher than if you were to ship via RORO.

How To Ship A Car Internationally

  1. Pick a type of transport
  2. Compare quotes from providers
  3. Pick an auto shipping company

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 in order to have a stress-free experience.

Personal Information

You’ll need to give information such as your name, address, email, and phone number to the shipper and receiver to make sure both can contact you during the shipping process. This also helps to keep all parties who are responsible for your vehicle’s shipment on the same page.

Vehicle Information

By giving your vehicle’s year, make, model, and vehicle identification number (VIN), you can officially start the process of shipping your vehicle. This information will help moving companies get an idea of what they’re shipping and begin to form a quote to give back to you.

Your Keys

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 the title to have on hand, 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 only allow the export of new cars. Make sure you and your shipping representative are clear on all your destination country’s car export regulations before shipping your vehicle to minimize any kind of hassle.

Some export requirements include:

  • Bill of sale
  • Certificate of origin
  • Shipper export certification
  • Declaration of dangerous goods

Photo ID

You or the person who will be present at the delivery location will need to present an 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 car carrier.

Get An Extra Set Of Keys

Though it’s not necessary, most international car shipping services 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 It Take To Ship A Car Overseas?

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.

Car Shipping Overseas: Our Take

You can find international car shipping for as low as $1000. Research shows that Montway Auto Transport and Easy Auto Ship are the best auto transport companies for international car shipping and have a decent number of years of experience. Read more about each provider below:

International Car Shipping Companies

We believe that Montway Auto Transport and Easy Auto Ship are the best companies for international car shipping. Read more about each provider below:

Montway Auto Transport

Montway Auto Transport is an auto shipping broker that has efficiently and safely moved hundreds of thousands of vehicles. This company is great for first time shippers who need extra peace of mind. 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 4.58 out of 5.0 stars on the site.

Discover more by reading our complete Montway Auto Transport review.

Montway Auto Transport Best Reputation
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 844-601-0286 Coverage : 50 states
Pros & Cons
Pros Strong reputation, customer satisfaction, and industry ratings Carrier vetting Large network of 30,000+ carriers Offers expedited delivery Competitive pricing Cons No real-time tracking or mobile-app; must contact company for tracking info No guaranteed pricing $249 cancellation fee No specialty shipping services for recreational vehicles (RVs), boats, trailers, or other watercraft Intrusive Pop-up Ads

Montway Auto Transport is a reputable auto transport broker offering several car shipping services and cheap car shipping rates. We named it the Best Reputation car shipping company for 2024.

Easy Auto Ship

Based out of Youngstown, Ohio, 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 4.62 stars.

Learn more about the company in our full Easy Auto Ship review.

Easy Auto Ship Best For Locked-In Rates
BBB Rating : A+ Phone : 844-825-6207 Coverage : 50 states
Pros & Cons
Pros Guaranteed pricing from quotes Inexpensive car shipping rates Simple and streamlined booking process Free rental car if shipment takes more than two weeks Cons No 24/7 customer assistance No way to track shipments

Our team rates Easy Auto Ship 4.3 out of 5.0 stars and recognizes it for having the Best Added Benefits for 2022. The company is highly rated, and customers consistently praise Easy Auto Ship for its affordability, guaranteed car shipping quotes, and easy shipping process.

Car Shipping Internationally: FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about international car shipping:

What is the cheapest way to ship a car overseas?

The cheapest way to ship a car internationally is roll on/roll off, also known as RORO. With shipping via RORO, your car is parked on a freight ship as though it were a parking lot. Though RORO shipping is generally inexpensive, it does leave your car exposed to weather conditions.

Can you ship a car full of stuff?

Some shipping companies will allow up to 100 pounds of personal items to be packed in the trunk of your car, but most discourage shipping personal items in your vehicle. Leaving anything in the trunk will increase the vehicle’s weight and could cost you more money.

Can you ship a financed car overseas?

If your car is financed, you’ll need to provide the transport company with both a notarized lien authorization letter and a notarized copy of the title to ship the car to another country.

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.