Review Foreign Service Assignment Notebook: What Do I Do Now? - Chapter 8 "AUTOMOBILES"
Chapter 8 of the Foreign Service Assignment Notebook provides information on shipping a car overseas, including arranging for the shipment, required documents, preparing the vehicle, and more. Chapter 8 - Automobiles
Does You Vehicle Meet Import Restrictions?
Never assume that the vehicle you currently own can be shipped to your post of assignment. Many countries place import restrictions on vehicles based on age. Confirm with the Management Officer at post that the automobile you plan to take will pass customs import requirements and is acceptable and appropriate for the terrain. For European postings, large SUVs may not be able to be parked in embassy-assigned parking garages. Also ask your post whether you will need to ship spare parts. Purchase spare parts if post has indicated that you will need them.
If unleaded gas will not be available, check whether you need to have the catalytic converter removed and if it can be done without damaging the engine. The Transportation Operations Office can provide information on this procedure. They will also provide an Automobile Shipment Form and information on how to plan car shipment. Call (202) 647-4140 or (800) 424-2947.
Vehicle Title / Certificate of Origin
Make sure you have a valid title or certificate of origin for your vehicle. Locate this document. To ship a car belonging to a spouse or member of household, the employee's name needs to be on the title.
If you are still paying for the car, make sure that your loan company will let you to take the vehicle out of the United States. If there is a lien on your title, you will need a letter from the lien holder permitting the vehicle to leave the country. If you must refinance, the State Department Federal Credit Union does provide loans for cars being shipped overseas.
Investigate marine transit insurance and overseas coverage. See Chapter 6, "Insurance," in the Foreign Service Assignment Notebook: What Do I Do Now?
Make a note of your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), serial and motor numbers and keep copies of all shipping papers.
You will need a valid U.S. driver's license in order to acquire one in the host country. If possible, renew your license so that it will be valid for as long as you are away. Teenagers may find that host country age requirements prevent them from obtaining a license overseas, even if they are already driving in the United States.
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