Shipping Cars and Other Special Commodities Overseas

Importing or exporting commodities requires a thorough understanding of all legal requirements in the origin and destination countries. Failure to fully comply with laws and regulations can be costly and remedying the situation can be time-consuming. Interstate International has decades of import/export experience, and our team stays up-to-date with the ever-changing standards, rules, and regulations that govern commodities shipments.

The most common commodities Interstate handles are vehicles and alcohol.

Vehicle Transport

Interstate has extensive experience shipping cars, trucks, and motorcycles around the world. Anyone attempting to import or export a car, truck, or motorcycle must present the US Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) with several documents, including a full vehicle description and VIN number. Special documentation is required if your vehicle is leased, was purchased with an auto loan that remains outstanding, or is owned by a foreign national.

Exporting Vehicles With a Lien

If the vehicle is leased or has an outstanding auto loan, the owner must provide an original, separate letter from the third-party (bank or credit institution) permitting the vehicle to be exported. The letter must be on the third-party's letterhead and contain:

  • Complete description of the vehicle
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Name of the lien holder
  • Telephone number(s) at which the lien holder may be contacted
  • An original signature of the lien holder
  • Date it was signed

Importing or Exporting Foreign-Titled Vehicles

The owner must provide the original proof of ownership document with an English translation.

Importing Vehicles

A vehicle that was originally exported from the United States for non-commercial or private use may return duty free to the United States if the CBP is provided with documentation of United States origination. Documentation may be a state-issued vehicle registration card or a CBP certificate of registration (CBP 4455) that was completed and verified by a CBP officer before departure from the United States.

Any repairs or accessories acquired abroad for your vehicle must be declared on your return and may be subject to duty. Vehicles manufactured and acquired abroad may be subject to import duties at the following rates*:

Autos 2.5%
Trucks 2.5%
Motorcycles 2.4%


While federal regulations do not specify a limit on the amount of alcohol you may bring back for personal use, large quantities have become subject to increased scrutiny. If you intend to ship a substantial quantity of alcohol, contact your move consultant to arrange for the import of the alcohol into the United States.

*Subject to change at any time.

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