Moving a car overseas – what you need to know

One of the most common questions we are asked by people moving overseas is ‘can I take my car with me?’

Since cars are, behind houses, normally the second largest purchase we make it is understandable that you will want to hold onto it where possible. In some cases it is worthwhile, especially in countries where vehicles are more expensive and the process of importing it is not too arduous, but getting a car into certain countries is considerably harder than others.

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The most common way of shipping a car is to use a shipping container. The container will be brought to your home, the car loaded and secured to prevent movement during transit, and this will then travel on a cargo ship and be unloaded at a port in your destination country for you to collect. On payment of the appropriate importation duties and Customs fees, and possibly after a quarantine period depending on country, the vehicle can then be driven away.

In many cases people are moving lock, stock and barrel to another country and so will be taking other domestic goods along with their car. Pickfords provides a service to outfit a container with shelving which maximises the space available inside, protecting both your car and the items being transported. There’s a handy photo album showing this on our Facebook page – check it out at http://www.facebook.com/pickfords.

If you’re exporting a car from the UK, there are a number of stages you need to go through. Firstly, if you’re moving your car out of the UK permanently (or for longer than 12 months) you must notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), and return a completed ‘Notification of Permanent Export’ section from your V5C.

We strongly recommend that your car is cleaned thoroughly inside and out ahead of shipment. For transportation to Australia or New Zealand this is particularly important, as your vehicle will be subject to strict quarantine inspections when it arrives and could undergo additional cleaning (at your expense) if the authorities deem it necessary.

The requirements for shipping cars abroad vary by country, and Pickfords can provide you with the latest information with regard to the appropriate importation permits. In some instances, you may only import your car if you have owned it for at least twelve months, and there may also be a requirement to pass local compliance tests (similar to an MOT in the United Kingdom) before being legally allowed to drive it in the destination country. Customs will need to clear the vehicle and there will likely be duties and taxes to be paid before the vehicle is released. During this time the vehicle will remain in port or at an agent’s warehouse.

In summary, shipping your car can be worthwhile, but it depends hugely on where you want to take it. We highly recommend gaining professional advice on shipping a car overseas as early as possible – it is a complicated process and very costly if your car travels without the correct paperwork to support it. Pickfords moves hundreds of cars across the world every year, so our Move Consultants are well-placed to answer your questions. To get in touch with your nearest branch and find out more, just visit the Pickfords website at http://www.pickfords.co.uk.

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