Ship Overseas Reviews

Your outstanding customer service and flexibility with our constantly changing itinerary ensured smooth transport of our family vehicle. Thanks for the help!

More Customer Reviews

Moving or returning to the USA after residing in the UK? If you are planning to import your car to the USA, there are several things to think about. First and foremost, you have to arrange for the overseas transport of your car. At the same time, you have to make sure the car can pass all the checks upon entering the US.

In some cases, duty-free import is possible, so why not learn more about it? Check out our guide to shipping and importing a car from the UK.

How long does it take to ship a car from the UK to the USA?

On average, shipping a vehicle from the UK to the US will take 2-4 weeks. This depends on various factors, one of them being the shipping method. RoRo (Roll-on/Roll-off) shipping enables you to count on a reliable departure and arrival date, which is especially significant if you are a non-US resident and want your car to arrive at the same time as you. This can even qualify you for a duty-free import (read more about it below).

Overview of the shipping process

Everything starts with choosing the shipping company and obtaining the shipping rate. To obtain the rate, you usually have to provide your vehicle’s age, make, model, and location.
The next thing to do is to choose the method of shipping. RoRo shipping is the least expensive shipping method. RoRo ships are equipped with roll-on/roll-off ramps for cars to be driven on and off the vessel, hence the name of the method. To be able to ship your car via RoRo, the car has to be in driving condition. Once aboard a RoRo vessel, the vehicle is safely stored below deck with protective covers to keep it safe from harsh marine conditions and other external factors.

After you’ve arranged for the shipping, you have to arrange for the transport to the port. Liverpool and Southampton are most frequently used UK ports for shipping to the US. If you cannot drive or transport your car yourself, you should see which options are available. Your shipping company may arrange it for you.

Once the car arrives at the US port of your choosing, you can either pick it up or have it picked up for you.

Importation requirement for the USA

Essentially, your car has to pass CBP, EPA, and DOT checks. For example, the car has to pass the safety, bumper and smog check, as required by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designed a manual with clearly outlined procedures for importing vehicles and engines into the USA. The regulations concern non-US-version cars and also US-version cars driven overseas. Lastly, the Department of Transportation (DOT) prescribed a set of Motor Vehicle Safety, Bumper and Theft Prevention Standards with which the car has to comply to be imported into the USA.

NOTE: If the imported car wasn’t made in the USA, isn’t returning and is 25 years old or older, it can be registered in the USA. For vehicles that do not fulfill these criteria, import is possible for a period of up to 1 year.

Duty-free import from the UK

Returning individuals holding the US citizenship are eligible for duty-free import into the US. Additionally, US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, US government contractors and US government employees can also import their vehicles from the UK duty-free.

For non-US residents

Non-residents may import a vehicle duty-free if it’s intended for personal use for the period of one year if the time of the import coincides with the importer’s arrival in the USA.
Nevertheless, non-residents have to obtain a pre-approval from the EPA prior to their arrival in order to import the car. The estimated time to obtain the approval is two weeks, during which time the vehicle shouldn’t leave the country of origin.

For more information on the import requirements and shipping services from the UK to the US, contact Ship Overseas, an international shipping company with more than 3 decades of being the car shipping industry.

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.
Share via
Contact Us on Whatsapp
Have a Question? Ask via Whatsapp
Send this to a friend