shipping car overseas

Importing A Car into the United States

Importing A Car into the United States

David Stone
Updated February 3, 2021 by David Stone

Table of Contents

    shipping car overseas

    Your Guide to Having Your Vehicle Shipped from Another Country

    You might have a few questions about importing your new car to the United States if you plan on moving there or if you are purchasing a vehicle from outside the country. This guide is going to cover all of those topics and you will be able to learn about several different concepts that you are going to need about when importing your car.

    We’ll start by discussing the type of company that you are going to need to reach out to if you plan on having your car imported to the United States. You will need to reach out to a reputable auto transport company that is capable of handling vehicle shipments. 

    There are many different auto transport companies available but only a few of them can truly provide you with the high level of service quality that you expect. It is extremely important that you carefully inspect their reputation and reliability before ever using them to ship your brand new vehicle.

    Paperwork for Importing a Car

    If you plan on having a brand new vehicle imported to America, then there’s a pretty solid chance that you’re going to have to fill out some paperwork on top of what you’d already fill out with the transport service provider. 

    U.S. Customs and Border Patrol may have some specific requirements before your vehicle is ever allowed to be transported into the United States. The same can also be said about the Department of Transportation. 

    Once you have filled out all of the necessary important paperwork, you should prepare to register your vehicle and find a way to get basic insurance as soon as possible. 

    The import paperwork can be stressful and tedious, but you absolutely need to make sure to fill all of it correctly or you may experience issues or delays with your vehicle shipment. There is a great collection of information available online on the U.S. Customers and Border Protection website.

    Estimated Costs and Pricing to Import a Vehicle

    This is an intimidating topic for many customers because having your vehicle shipped and imported to the United States is not exactly the cheapest service available. The good news is that this guide is going to provide you with an estimated range of prices based on a few different factors and scenarios that might come up. 

    Vehicle Shipping Between Countries

    If you are hiring an auto transport company to ship your vehicle into the United States, then you would expect to pay a scaled amount depending on where the vehicle is located.

    It would be much cheaper to ship a vehicle from a country like Mexico or Canada because it doesn’t require intercontinental shipping. Vehicles from either of these locations would likely be priced towards the lower end of the spectrum rather than the higher end.

    The prices can skyrocket if you plan on having your vehicle imported from Asia, Australia, or Europe. You should reach out to professionals and experts from within the industry to gain a clearer understanding of the pricing situation for your specific scenario. 

    Every little factor can influence the price, so it is extremely important that you are as clear as possible when reaching out to an auto transport company. 

    It’s worth noting that some auto transport companies simply do not offer international shipping for vehicles and you should really make sure to do your research so that you know which companies offer this type of shipping service.

    Vehicle Import Fees

    shipping a car

    There are a handful of import fees that are going to stack on top of your vehicle shipping costs that you need to be prepared to pay. This is one of the really expensive and frustrating parts about importing vehicles to the United States because they can really add up quickly. 

    You will need to have a lot of documentation and proof on your hands as well to show that you plan on importing the vehicle to America from a foreign country. Just to have your documents evaluated and processed will likely cost quite a lot of money in fees and service expenses.

    How the Shipping Process Works for Importing a Vehicle

    There are a couple of different possible scenarios that could play out but the most common one is that you are buying a brand new vehicle from a foreign country and you want it to be shipped to your home in the United States.

    If this is the case, then you are going to need to inform the foreign car dealer about this and try and organize a way to have it shipped with an auto transport company. Sometimes the additional costs can be integrated into the vehicle price and in other situations, they can be completely separate. It really depends on who you’re dealing with and how accommodating that they are willing to be. 

    Your vehicle will need to pass all of the emission requirements that are set forth by the EPA in the United States. Many vehicles do not pass these emission requirements and that can stop the import process from proceeding. The good news is that most new vehicles won’t face problems with this but some older used vehicles might. 

    Once you have negotiated with your foreign dealer and have organized a vehicle shipment with a reliable auto transport company, that’s when you would proceed to fill out the import paperwork that was previously mentioned in this guide. 

    You’ll go through the process of certifying and signing all of the documents that are required and follow the steps to have your vehicle shipped to you. Once your vehicle arrives on the mainland of the United States, it transitions to the traditional domestic auto transport process. Here it will be placed on either an exposed or an enclosed carrier and then your car will be delivered to either a terminal or your home. 

    All of these details will be sorted out as you negotiate with an auto transport company and they will tell you everything that you need to know in terms of costs, delivery windows, and any additional service fees that you might expect to pay. 

    Is Importing a Vehicle to the United States safe?

    There’s always a little bit of anxiety when having your vehicle shipped through an auto transport company. You shouldn’t feel bad about being stressed or anxious about this because it can be a scary process for vehicle owners. 

    The truth is that while some accidents can happen, in most cases the insurance policies that are used by the auto transport companies are enough to cover any potential damages or losses. Some foreign dealers may also opt to provide an additional layer of coverage to help protect your vehicle throughout the international shipping process.

    If you are still worried and concerned about importing your vehicle, then you could opt to get an additional layer of insurance coverage yourself. This is a great way to protect your brand new vehicle. Just remember, that it will cost quite a bit of money to purchase additional coverage but if you’re shipping a vehicle internationally and having it imported to America, then the costs could very well be worth it. 

    The biggest risk that pops up during the shipping process is damage to the vehicle’s surface or components. Sometimes windshields can get cracked or shattered, and vehicle surfaces can get damaged from uncontrollable factors like the weather. 

    In addition to these common issues, sometimes accidents can occur out on the road that may damage your vehicle. It’s extremely rare for auto transport carriers to get involved in accidents, but they can happen. It would be extremely unlucky to have your vehicle on the back of an exposed carrier as a severe accident takes place while your vehicle is being shipped on a delivery route to your destination.

    Importing a vehicle is pretty safe, but there are some steps that you can take to ensure that you are completely covered if an accident does occur during the process.

    Vehicle Shipping Overseas | Importing a Vehicle to the USA

    importing a car

    If you need to have your vehicle shipped overseas and imported to the United States, then your vehicle will need to be transported across the ocean on a boat. International auto shipping services can generally get you the most affordable pricing in this category. 

    There are several different auto transport companies located within the United States that can help you to arrange a vehicle shipment that will be imported from overseas. 

    This guide previously explored the estimated costs, fees, and pricing of having your vehicle imported. The truth is that there are several factors that could play a role in the general costs of overseas shipping. 

    If you are buying a new vehicle from a foreign continent and having it imported to North America, then other factors like the vehicle model, brand, age, weight, and size will all play a factor in the final pricing.

    You can reach out to many different auto transport companies to receive pricing quotes and estimates, but it is important to remember that any costs that are provided by the auto transport provider might not include import fees, taxes, expenses, and any other hidden fees that might come up in your situation. 

    Is Importing a Vehicle to the United States Worth It? 

    After reading through all of the information in this guide, you might be asking yourself if it is even worth it to have your vehicle imported to the United States from a foreign country. There is no exact answer to this question because it really depends on how important it is for you to have that specific vehicle shipped.

    Some people might find it more convenient to simply not buy the vehicle in the first place if they are not yet the owner. If you are the owner and you are planning on moving to the United States, then it might be a good idea to import it if you really need to keep that vehicle. With that being said, you could also sell it, take the money, and then buy a new or used car at a domestic dealership within the United States.

    There are many options available and you will have to decide for yourself if it is worth it to you. Auto transport companies will do everything in their power to accommodate you if you let them know your situation. Just be sure to only select auto transport companies that have a solid reputation from their customers

    Pros and Cons to Importing a Car to the United States

    import your car

    There are several pros and cons to factor into your decision before you ultimately decide whether or not you want to have your vehicle imported. You should evaluate these pros and cons to try and see if importing your vehicle is the best choice for your situation.

    PROS:

    • You won’t have to buy a new car once you move to the United States.
    • International Vehicle Shipping can be Protected with an Insurance Policy
    • Overseas Delivery is Quick and Safe
    • Terminal Delivery and Home Delivery Services are Available

    CONS:

    • International Vehicle Shipping can be Expensive
    • Import Fees and Taxes May Apply
    • Not All Vehicles are Eligible to be Imported to the United States

    There are many positive and negative factors to consider when balancing the idea of having your vehicle imported to America. You should spend a little time thinking about each of these factors before finalizing your decision

    Considering Your Options for Importing A Car

    importing a vehicle

    Now that you’ve had the chance to look through this convenient guide on how to have your vehicle imported and shipped to the United States, you probably have a lot of different things that you want to think about.

    It’s always good to spend a little bit of extra time considering your options so that once you are ready to make a decision, you can at least do so in a confident manner. Having your vehicle imported can be really exciting, but it can also be stressful if you are not mentally prepared for the process.

    David is a Senior Logistics Agent for Mercury Auto Transport. He enjoys helping others navigate the auto transport process through his informational articles.

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