International Moving Company License #: FMC 02238N

International Moving From USA to Any Destination

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International Vehicle Shipping

As a licensed NVOCC freight forwarder SDC International Shipping. specializes in every aspect of the overseas vehicle shipping process. The SDC International Shipping logistics team is highly experienced in the full gamut of overseas shipping methods. SDC International Shipping will create a customized international vehicle shipping plan, whether you are shipping a vehicle as a part of overseas relocation, or just the vehicle itself.

Unlike other companies that only deal with vehicles, or only deal with cargo, SDC International Shipping is a freight forwarder licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission for all marine commercial and residential exports. Our experts will work with you to find the vehicle shipping combination that works best for your particular move. We aren’t trying to sell you the particular service that we have, we have all the services and want to help you chose what works best for you.

International Vehicle Shipping – the Value

Vehicles bought in the United States are affordable compared to most countries in the world. In many countries, there are high taxes on automobile purchases in addition to high local sales taxes called value-added tax (VAT). This is especially true for European countries, where the average VAT is 20% and other taxes may reach 100% of the vehicle’s value.

Gathering vehicle cost information anywhere in the world is quite easy on the internet. You should try to check the cost of a vehicle comparable to the one that you own. Make sure that you are comparing the same models, as slightly different model names are used by vehicle manufacturers in different countries. 

Sending a vehicle overseas will cost a few thousand dollars, depending on your exact pickup and drop off locations. The transit time takes a few weeks if it is sent via a specialized service. If it is sent in your private container it might take a little bit longer, but it will cost less money.

Returning citizens who have been living outside of their country for a certain period are allowed to import a vehicle without tax. This varies from one country to another, the shortest period is for at least 6 months abroad, and for some, it is 2 years, but for most countries, the necessary period to have lived out of the country is at least one year. Immigrants arriving with permanent residence visas can bring vehicles tax-free. There are a few countries that do not offer a tax holiday on the import of cars. You can ask your SDC relocation specialist to help you check the regulations of your destination country.

International Vehicle Shipping

Vehicles Eligible for International Shipping

Regulations will change from country to country, but for most countries these regulations are standard:

Cars must be between six months and five years old. If you have an older car, it might be very worthwhile for you to sell it and buy a new car six months before your departure if you are eligible to import a car tax-free.

A notable exception to this rule is for antique cars, which in many jurisdictions can be imported, but this must be checked thoroughly before sending. There are some countries that require special approval for the import of any car. In most countries, however, it is sufficient to just send a car that meets the requirements.

The most commonly sent vehicles are automobiles. However, these are not the only vehicles eligible for international shipping. Other very commonly sent vehicles are pickup trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, and pleasure boats. All of these vehicles are licensed, and most of them will have some sort of safety regulations and equipment that you will have to have checked at a local licensing facility.

There are some countries that will allow for the import of one of each type of vehicle, others will allow one per adult, still others one per family. Some countries come up with unique regulations that sound trivial like “only families can import four-wheel drive vehicles”. It is quite typical, however, for countries to differentiate between light pickup trucks and heavy pickup trucks, the latter is usually considered commercial vehicles and might be subject to tax even though the sender is eligible for a tax holiday.

In many of the most common destinations that our clients relocate to, including the UK, Australia, and Thailand, they drive on the left-hand side of the road. In these countries, the steering wheel in the cars is on the right-hand side and the hand controls of motorcycles are inverted. You cannot import automobiles to these countries (in the UK you can temporarily import a car). Motorcycles can sometimes be imported. It is critical, however, that you get prior permission in these countries for the specific model you want to import. 

Recreational Vehicles

Do you love camping? There are many countries in the world where a recreational vehicle is a great option. If you are moving to one of the left hand driving countries, sending a “motor home” type of recreational vehicle is not an option, just like automobiles. However, the “travel trailer” or “caravan” type of recreational vehicle can be sent. 

Please note that the width of a travel trailer is wider than a shipping container. When we send them, they are sent using the RO-RO method separate from the remainder of your shipment (see below).

If hitting the road is a part of your lifestyle, you should definitely consider sending a motor home.

Other Vehicles 

Vehicles that do not require licensing can usually be shipped along with your personal effects. These include electric bicycles and scooters, jet skis and snowmobiles and their trailers, bicycles, senior mobility scooters, off-road motorbikes and ATVs and more. In some countries, motorcycles smaller than 50 ccs do not require licensing and can be sent along with the remainder of your shipment. 


If you own a recreational boat, you will want to take it with you to your new home. Most countries allow for them to be sent. Sometimes boats can be sent in your container. In “high cube” containers, boats can be placed on their side allowing for a width of up to almost 9 feet. Larger boats are sent on the trailers using the RORO method.

International Vehicle Shipping Methods

Most cars, SUV’s, motorcycles and light pickup trucks can be sent within your shipping container. The interior width of a container is 7 foot 10 inches. The most popular method for sending these vehicles is using a 40’ container that will include your household goods and personal effects and the vehicle. When this is done, the vehicle is the last thing placed in the container. That way it can be easily removed at the port of entry and delivered to the adjacent licensing facility. 

Please note that your physical presence is necessary for most countries when the car is delivered to this facility. 

Large vehicles, full-sized pickup trucks, and travel trailers are sent utilizing a method known as RORO, for roll on roll off, where the vehicle is sent in a special sea vessel designed for the task. Boats sent using this method are sent on their trailers.

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