There’s a lot of paperwork and documentation that must pass hands throughout the whole international car shipping process. This is to ensure everything’s done legally and thoroughly. No stone can be left unturned. This is why you need a shipping broker to assist you, but more on that later.


From the title of ownership to all the Customs documents in the U.S. and at the destination port, there is a lot of paperwork involved. The process involves several steps, but no worries:  Ship Overseas can walk you through it. Once you book a shipment with us, we will provide you with a detailed list of all the documents you will need, reducing your stress level and ensuring you comply with all laws. You don’t want to face any delays or fees!

What You Need

Be prepared to provide us with the following information:

  • Personal information: Two copies of government-issued ID (driver’s license or passport)
  • Vehicle Information: Year, make, model, VIN #, estimated value
  • Ownership information
    • If owned: vehicle title – original plus one copy
    • If recently purchased: vehicle title and bill of sale
    • If financed: a notarized copy of the title and a notarized lien authorization
  • Shipper and Consignee information: Name, address, phone number and email for the sender and receiver
  • Depending on which Port the vehicle will sail from, you may need a Bill of Sale or a Notarized Bill of Sale.
  • For some ports in Florida, you will need a Power of Attorney giving the clearing agents permission to clear your documents on your behalf.


You will receive all documents back that you provided for U.S. Customs clearance, if we handle the clearance for you in the USA. Those documents will be sent back to you after the vessel has sailed. Have them mailed to a U.S. address or sent via FedEx to a U.S. or overseas address. NOTE: there’s an extra charge if your documents are sent back via FedEx.

A Head’s Up

There are certain things you should be aware of when shipping a car overseas:


  • No car can leave the USA if it has a lien on it, which means the car must be paid in full.
  • The only people who can ship a car overseas and still have a lien on the car are members of the U.S. military and government employees or contractors. They will need a letter of authorization from the lender in order to pass U.S. Customs. If not, the car may be considered stolen. Permission must be in the form of an Original Letter from the Lien holder together with three certified copies of the Certificate of Title.
  • If you are in the military, you may also have to show your military orders or a letter from the government or state authority and a copy of the Title Record History, which you can get from the Department of Motor Vehicles in the state where the vehicle is registered.

How to Pay

You can make a payment in the form of a wire transfer, cashier’s check, credit card, and, in some cases, a personal check. Payments can be mailed to our offices in San Diego, CA.


If delivering your vehicle yourself to a terminal or to the port, we must receive payment immediately after you have made the delivery. If you need a trucker to come pick up your vehicle, you must make payment right after the vehicle has been picked up.


Why Do I Need a Broker to Help With all This?

Finding the right transportation company to help you is important in making the process simple and stress free. Here are some great reasons to partner with a broker like Ship Overseas to ship your vehicle.

Our brokers:

  • Have Access to a Network of Carriers: Brokers have a strong relationship with carriers that take the hassle and stress out of finding the right carrier for you.
  • Handle All the Details: A transport broker takes care of all the tedious details so you don’t have to, ensuring a smooth and effortless move.
  • Make the Process Pleasant: They’re available on the phone and online to make sure all your questions are answered. Our associates are pleasant to deal with, friendly, and accommodating. We go above and beyond to make sure your experience with us is a positive one.
  • Offer Affordable Options: We give you quick access to FREE quotes on all kinds of vehicle shipping, from cars and trucks to heavy machinery and RVs. Plus, we ship pretty much anywhere in the world, from hundreds of U.S. ports.


Need More Help?

Contact the experts at Ship Overseas to learn more about the paperwork involved and get a free quote. Call us toll free at 888-805-4994 or use our online quote form.


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Important info to Ship a Car Overseas:
  • No car can leave USA if it has a lien on it. What does this mean? Your car must be paid in full. The only people who can ship a car overseas and still carry a lien on the car are US Military and Government employees/contractors. For those people a letter of authorization from the lender will need to be issued to pass US Customs. Otherwise the car may be considered stolen.
  • A clear Title of Ownership with no Liens on the Title.
  • If you bought a car new, then your name must be listed on the front of the Title as the registered owner.
  • If the vehicle has been sold, then both the Seller and Buyer have to sign the back of the Title in the spaces as detailed on the back of the Title.
  • For safety reasons, the vehicle cannot have more than a ¼ tank of gas.
Import Duty for Destination Country:
  • Import duty is NOT collected by Ship Overseas. It must be paid at the arrival port by whoever is picking up the car. We wrote a blog post about vehicle import duty here. It talks about how to find out import duty for your country.
Travel & Living Abroad:
  • Most countries will allow a traveler to temporarily import their car for up to 6 months. After the 6 months is up, import duty will be charged. For many travelers going to Europe and taking their car, a deposit is paid up front. When the car goes back to it's destination country, the deposit is refunded. If a person has lived in USA for 1 or more years, most countries will allow that person to bring their car back duty free! The car must not have any liens on it. Please check with your Customs Department first.
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