Fee Quotation

Get a FREE removals quote.

Simply tell us where you are moving to.

Get a FREE removals quote. Simply tell us where you are moving to.

Shipping a car to the USA - should you ship or buy when you get there?

Posted by By Kirsty Parsons - November 20, 2014

As well as deciding on which household goods to ship you might also be considering shipping a car to the USA when you move. But should you ship or should you buy a new car when you arrive?

Essentially, this all depends on how much driving you’ll be doing once you get there – will you be commuting to work every day? If so, does your commute have strong transport links or will you need to drive to work? If your spouse takes the car to work every day then how will you manage the school run or be able to get to the shops? It’s easy to put these decisions off until you get out there. DON’T. You’ll only end up stressed, and probably out of pocket.

There are a couple of options regarding your vehicle that are worth thinking about before you move.

Shipping a car to the USA

If, say, you’re definitely going to need a car to commute to work when you’re out there and you want to bring your own then the first thing to do is get a quote from a company that provides services for moving vehicles for shipping a car to the USA so you know the costs. Many companies like Bournes will provide a quote to move your car alongside your household goods. The next is to make sure your vehicle adheres to the strict U.S. import regulations…

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation requires all cars to meet various standards for theft-prevention and safety when being shipped into the country, so HS-7 Form must be filled in.
  • You’ll also need to fill out Form 3520-1 in order to make sure your car meets federal air pollution standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Clean your car thoroughly; you cannot bring a car into the U.S. if it contains any foreign soil.
  • Don’t be tempted to use your vehicle for extra storage during transportation. This will only draw in opportunist thieves. Plus, items not properly packed will shift during transit, causing damage and you’re also more likely to forget to report items to customs this way, risking a search or seizure of goods.
  • Prepare for customs. In order to clear successfully you will need all documents pertaining to your vehicle, including the bill of lading, foreign registration paperwork and the bill of sale.
  • Once all your paperwork has been cleared, customs agents will release your car once a duty fee of 2.5% of the value of the car has been paid.

Much like with the rest of your items, the cost of shipping a car to the USA needs to be weighed up against the alternative – buying when you get there – how much will it cost to replace your car when out there? How much can you realistically get back by selling your car? How much time can you allocate to finding a new car when you get there? How new your car is – you might not want to part with it just yet if it’s brand new. Equally, a collector’s item or vintage model might increase with value over the years.

Buying or renting a new car when you move to the USA

For customers moving to the USA and wishing to buy or rent a new car, Bournes have partnered with International Autosource, a specialist company assisting customers relocating to the USA with purchasing or leasing a car, helping to overcome some of the technical challenges like not having a US credit history and at the same time significant cost savings vs. figuring it all out yourself! Find out more about buying or renting a car overseas and the services provided by International Autosource.

So, to ship or shop? Well, our advice is simple, do your research. Look into both options and get a better idea of the cost. Ask your moving company what the cost to include a car would be and don’t forget to add in any costs of getting the vehicle legally imported and on the road, then talk to a company like International AutoSource to find out the costs of the alternative. Once you’ve got your costs factor in any decisions like what you can sell your car for in the UK before you leave and your emotional attachment to it and you’ll be in a much better position to make this decision.


For a quote for moving your car and your household goods contact us about removals to the USA

Request a Removals Quote

Topics: USA, Vehicle Moving

Subscribe to our blog

Subscribe to Email Updates