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Taking Your Car Abroad: Everything you need to know

28th July 2023

Decluttering your belongings before you ship them can be a satisfying and necessary step before your adventure begins. However, deciding whether to transport your car with you or not can take a little bit more thought. From ‘How do I know if it is worth shipping my car?’ to ‘Is my UK licence still valid in another country?, we’ve put together a guide considering everything you need to know about taking your car abroad.

How cars get transported


When it comes to transporting your car abroad, there are three main options to choose from:

1. Container Shipping: Your car is loaded into a container, either on its own or with another vehicle, and transported by freight.
2. Roll-On Roll-Off (Ro-Ro) Shipping: Your car is simply driven onto a specially-designed vessel and secured for transportation.
3. Air: This is often the quickest method of transporting your vehicle.

Selecting the most suitable overseas transportation method for your vehicle will depend on your preferences, budget, and availability of services in your area. The most common method of transportation is Shipping.

You can ship belongings inside your vehicle as long as the shipping company is aware; however, these items will not be covered by insurance, and not all destinations approve of this. You can also ship your car in the same container as your other belongings, which is extremely cost and time effective.

Time and Cost Considerations


The time it takes for your car to reach its destination can vary depending on several factors, including the location and chosen transportation method. For instance, shipping a car from America or Australia may take approximately a month or even longer, while Europe generally requires less time.

Costs are influenced by various factors, such as the destination, size, and value of your car. It is worth remembering that faster shipping options often have a higher price tag. Booking in advance and allowing lots of time for arrangements can help secure more affordable shipping rates.

Is it worth shipping your car?


Deciding whether it’s worth shipping your car involves considering a few important factors. While the process is simple, different countries have varying rules and regulations regarding imported vehicles. Some countries may only accept cars of a certain age, while others require extensive cleaning and fumigation procedures to meet their standards.

You’ll also need to account for import duties and any specific port locations and associated costs. For instance, Australia’s expensive car market often makes it worthwhile to ship your car, but their extensive regulations regarding cleanliness and fumigation must be followed.

It’s crucial to consult with shipping companies and thoroughly research the regulations and requirements of your chosen destination to make an informed decision.

Documentation you’ll need to ship your car


Before setting sail, it’s vital to ensure you have the required documents in order. Here’s a checklist of the essential paperwork:

1. Title & Registration documents
2. Vehicle insurance papers
3. Identification documents – your driver’s licence or passport
4. Bill of Sale
5. Sales Tax proof documents
6. Lien Holder document (if a third party owns the car)

These documents will not only facilitate the shipping process but also comply with legal and customs requirements in your destination country. If you do not have all of the right documents, you could experience additional charges or delayed shipping.

Drivers Licence Rules and Regulations


Once you have decided you want to take your car with you, it is important to remember driving laws and licence requirements differ from country to country. Here are a few points to keep in mind:

European Union (EU): Depending on local regulations, you may need a local driver’s licence. In many cases, you can exchange your current licence for an EU licence without retaking any tests.

United States: For the first three months, you can use your UK driver’s licence. Afterwards, you may be required to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) or a state-issued permit, depending on the duration of your stay. Each state has its own rules, which will involve retesting.

Australia: You can use your UK licence for three months, after which you must obtain a local licence by visiting a service centre for a transfer.

Asia: Regulations vary across different countries, so consult local authorities and ensure compliance with the appropriate licensing requirements. Generally, an IDP is required after three months, and specific licence conventions (such as the 1949 or 1968 conventions) should be verified to ensure legal compliance.

Taking the time to understand the specific driver’s licence requirements of your destination will ensure a smooth transition.

Taking your car abroad can be a great experience, allowing you to explore new territories with the comfort of your own wheels. By being well-prepared with the necessary documentation, understanding shipping options, considering costs, and researching license requirements, you’ll be ready to embark on your international road trip with confidence.

Find more information on how to transport your car abroad or call us on 01638 515 335 today.