How to prepare and import a car to another country

Sending a car to another country can be a difficult task if you don’t know what to do. Fortunately, modern technology and work procedures mean that you can easily prepare for most circumstances. This article summarizes some of the key things to consider and the steps to take to ensure that a car is imported and that it reaches its destination safely.

Key preliminaries before importing a car

There are nine preliminary steps you will need to take when shipping your car. It is not advisable to skip any of them. Below are summaries of their functions at each step.

STEP 1: vehicle documentation

Start by gathering all the documents related to your car. Without them, the car may not arrive or leave. Carriers want to be sure that you really own the car and that it is not stolen. You will need your original registration, proof of insurance, a bill of sale, original title, and your identification, which can be a driver’s license or passport.

Remember to prepare all the procedures in advance to avoid delays. You should also have enough money to pay import duties and taxes to reduce storage fees. Furthermore, automobiles cannot be moved from the jurisdiction in which they were financed without the explicit and full consent of the lending bank.

STEP 2: Cleaning the car

The second step is to wash the car well. This includes the interior and exterior. This allows you to see any damage to the car before shipping. There are often damage disputes, and these can be easily resolved by cleaning the car, photographing it thoroughly, and declaring any dents, scratches, or dents. If you transport it professionally, you will have a clean car at the new destination.

STEP 3: Checking and Reporting Damage

Reporting the damage is a critical step that the carrier will require. You should conduct a detailed inspection and photograph the car, highlighting any damage. Hopefully, there will be no dust or mud. However, it can report paint peeling and discoloration. Given the significant improvement in shipping standards, the car is not likely to be damaged in transit. However, it is always best to make sure you know the exact condition of the car you are shipping.

STEP 4: Remove any personal items from the car

Do not forget to remove personal items from the car. They can be lost and the carrier will not be responsible for them. While cleaning, open all cabinets and shelves to remove your personal belongings. Never store boxes or other items in the car in the hope that they can be transported free of charge. These items are not insured against theft or damage, so if they are lost, you will have no recourse. In fact, the carrier can be fined for moving items in the car. Take this into account before importing a car.

It is never a good idea to leave personal and identifying information, such as insurance, in the car. Similarly, you need to remove parking passes and toll tags. Remember that leaving the toll tag ensures that you will be charged if the vehicle goes through tolls. It is advisable to leave a spare tire, license plates, jack and emergency kit in case of problems.

STEP 5: Carrying out necessary maintenance work before importing a car

You need to do all the necessary maintenance work before importing a car. This is done to allow the car to get on and off the truck. Otherwise, you may have to pay additional fees for forklifts and cranes. Check for mechanical problems and leaks. Look at the tire pressure to make sure it is not over-inflated or under-inflated. The battery must be fully charged. Top up the necessary fluids, including coolants, brake fluids, washers, and power steering. Write down the mileage so that you can verify any discrepancies at the end of the trip.

STEP 6: Empty the gas tank

Empty the gas tank because the vehicle will not drive for a long distance. You can leave some fuel for shifts in and out of the truck. When you fill up the tank before changing, you simply make your car heavier and incur unnecessary expenses. A quarter tank is adequate for most vehicles.

STEP 7: Removal of all external accessories

All external accessories must be removed from the car before shipping. These extras can damage the car during transit. At the same time, accessories are expensive and can be damaged. Some of the items that you would normally remove include custom racks, boxes, antennas, and spoilers.

STEP 8: Lock the car and leave the keys

Lock the car for security reasons. However, you must leave the keys or a copy of the keys with the carrier so that they can move the car. Locking your car door is added security and will help you if you need to file a claim for theft. Just hand over a spare key so you still have control over the car. These keys can be lost during transport.

STEP 9: Preparation and submission of a bill of lading

Prepare and present your bill of lading to start the process. Before shipment, the driver will call to make sure the car is ready for delivery. Sometimes you have to drive the car to the pick-up station. There must be an authorized agent to inspect the car and sign all documents, including one explaining the condition of the car. The bill of lading will show the origin and destination of the car. It will also highlight special and mechanical issues for future reference.

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Key documents needed to import a car

There are certain documents that you will need to export your car. In the US, these are listed in Section 192, subsection 2. Customs will want to see the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or Product Identification Number (PIN) if you don’t have access to the former. Some exemptions for paperwork may apply if the vehicle is only in transit when it lands in the US, has a temporary import order bond, or is exempt for non-residents for up to 12 months.

Customs officials need all documents to be with them at least 72 hours before the shipment leaves. During export, the vehicle is presented to the customs and border team to make sure everything is in order. Make sure you are familiar with the filing requirements under 19 CFR 192.2 (d). These are specific locations that are designated by the port directors and advertised during hours of operation. Officials will authenticate and mark the documentation once everything has been confirmed.

Insurance and tax requirements

It is imperative that you purchase appropriate and adequate insurance for the vehicle while it is in transit. Marine insurance covers sailing time. The carrier will have minimal coverage that cannot replace your car, so you may need to supplement it with your own more comprehensive package. Be sure to confirm coverage with the carrier. They can even inform you of additional costs depending on your car and its weight.


Shipping your car abroad shouldn’t be a problem if you understand the process and have all the proper documentation. Make sure your car is clean, prepared, and inspected before you deliver it. Remove expensive personal effects and accessories. Prepare and submit all documentation. Finally, check that you have adequate transit insurance before shipping. If you are looking for a quality, affordable company to ship your car, Buy from China. offers vehicle shipping abroad as a service. Contact us today for a free quote.