If you are moving to another country, you may want to bring your car with you. Or perhaps you have been living overseas and you want to bring your car back to the United States. Before loading your car into a shipment container, however, it is important to understand a little more about how the international shipping process works. As with most things having to do with an international move, there is paperwork involved and you need to be properly prepared since your car will need to be transported through customs. With thousands of tons of cargo coming in and out of countries each day, it is the responsibility of Customs and Border Protection to pay close attention and regulate all shipments. As a result, there is a chance that your car will be subject to a full search and exam, which could result in delayed shipment. In order to prevent your car from being held up by customs, it is important to have proper documentation so your shipment is not delayed. However, should your vehicle be randomly selected and flagged at customs, you want to know how to go about getting it back as quickly as possible. Here are a few important tips for how to handle and avoid a hold up with customs.
Gather Your Documents
In order to ship a vehicle internationally, you will need to have several important documents prepared. These documents will need to be provided to the U.S. Port of Entry that your car will be shipping out of at least 72 hours before the date of transport. These documents include:
- Vehicle information: year, make, model, VIN #, and estimated value
- 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
- A filled out U.S. Customs and Border Protection Vehicle Export Cover Sheet
- Personal information: two forms of government issued ID (driver’s license or passport)
- Shipper and consignee information- name, address, phone number, and email for both sender and receiver
- Individual ports may have their own requirements so be sure and check with your shipper and the port to make sure you are not missing and of the required documentation
Failure to provide adequate information and documentation could result in your car being held up in customs. Preparing your paperwork in advance will help to reduce the chances of your car being held in customs.
What To Do if Your Car is Put on Hold by Customs
If customs holds your vehicle, two things may happen: an agent will perform an inspection at the arrival of the destination or your vehicle could be transported to a Centralized Examination Station. Unfortunately, there is a risk of additional fees if your car has to be inspected. If your car does in fact get put on hold, someone from customs will contact you directly or through your shipping company. If your vehicle is flagged, an agent has to perform an examination. This could take several weeks or even longer to be completed. You should inquire about the date of examination when you are contacted by customs. If you are having difficulty getting information about your vehicle, you should contact your shipping broker and ask them to help you sort through any additional paperwork that might be required for your shipment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to Your Car Moving Questions
The hardest thing for people researching car moving companies to understand is that the prices they are getting are not hard and fast gaurantees, but rather ESTIMATES of what one company thinks it will take to get a vehicle moved promptly versus another company's opinion of what it will take. Don't be fooled, there are not carriers committed to take your vehicle at these quoted prices, the company you choose will still have to get to work getting a carrier to commit to move it at the price they quote you.
Your total price breaks down into two parts, the broker's fee (or 'deposit' as everyone calls it) and the carriers fee (your COD amount) Make no mistake about this, EVERYONE YOU ARE GETTING SALES CALLS FROM IS GOING TO BROKER YOUR MOVE. In this industry, there are brokers who try to fool you into thinking that they are the actual carriers and there are an equal amount of carriers who sell themselves on the fact that they have a truck or two but are not being honest about the fact that they broker out 90% of the orders they book. Here is a quick easy way to tell, if a company takes an up front fee, whether they call it a deposit or any other name, they are a broker. Carriers do not take any payment until the vehicle is delivered.
In our opinion, you are crazy to do so. Have you ever been paid up front for the work that you perform for your employer? Why would you pay a fee up front when there are reliable and trustworthy companies like ours that won't ask for it until we provide you with your carriers details?
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will be between one and two weeks. From there you can figure your transit time based on how far your vehicle is traveling, i.e. from either coast to the Midwest might average 3-7 days.
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