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Shipping A Vehicle To Europe

Jun 2, 2008
I am planning to go on a driving tour of Europe next summer, and would like to bring my car. My intention is to send the car ahead via overseas shipping, fly out from Los Angeles, and pick up the car at the port of the first country where I intend to start my vacation. Right now I still don't know my exact itinerary, but I do know that I will be traveling to Italy, France, Germany, and Switzerland.

Is this possible? What are the things I should know about overseas shipping of vehicles to Europe? One more thing, how about you joining me on this tou

The answer

Thanks for writing. Yes, it is possible to ship your car to Europe, drive it around there, then ship it back. It's actually very easy! Here's what you should know:

You will need to find a good international shipping company for your car. There must be many in Los Angeles; it shouldn't be hard for you to find a good one. Just make sure that they have a good track record and specialize in overseas shipping of vehicles.

Your car could be shipped overseas via RO-RO, where the car is driven onto the ship and tied down, or via container shipping, where the car is packed and shipped in its own metal container. Shipping rates vary, so I suggest you discuss this with your shipping company.

Your car's registration and insurance papers must be current. Take out the papers and license plates from the car, and bring them with you when you fly. I would also advise you to buy marine insurance for the car while it is in transit. Some people also get additional insurance for while it is abroad. Talk to your international shipping company and your insurance company and get their advice.

A new license plate for Europe will not be necessary; in fact, it is a requirement that a car driven in Europe for tourist purposes should display the car's original license plates and a nationality sticker yes, even cars have citizenships too! The nationality sticker is an oval sticker that displays the initials of the country where the car is registered. Failure to display your nationality sticker could result in a fine.

Certain European countries, like Germany and Switzerland, require that you carry a warning triangle caution sign, a first aid kit, and spare bulbs in your car.

When you turn over your car to your international shipping company, make sure that the car has no more than 1/2 of the tank filled with gas. You'll need to have gas to be able to drive it out of the port, but you don't want it filled too much as to pose a hazard while being shipped.

When you get to your destination and claim your car, check to see if there were damages incurred during overseas shipping. Affix your license plates and nationality sticker, then drive the car to the customs office to fill out the paperwork and pay your customs duties.

That's it, you're ready to explore Europe!

One last thing before you leave the United States, familiarize yourself with the speed limits and traffic signs for each country you intend to visit.

As for your invitation to join you, I think I'll take a raincheck. I have way too many letters to answer right now. Thank you for the invitation, and enjoy your vacatio
About the Author
Nir Dotan is a writer and promoter of Internation Moving services, and
International Shipping Local as well as International Moving.
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