Shipping a car from the UK to the USA
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Dec 18, 2012 9:48 AM Last Post By: PhilZter
Oct 29, 2012 5:06 AM
Shipping a car from the UK to the USAHi,
I wondered if anybody could give me some advice on the following.
I'm planning a three month trip to the US next year, mainly the Eastern States and plan to bring my UK registered car with me. The vehicle is a 2011 BMW X5 valued at 40,000 GBP. I am disabled and need a car with adapted controls hence the reason I'm planning on the temporary importation of my own car.
My question is what are the approx costs of shipping the car to and from the USA, the cost of insurance, do I have to pay import tax & do I require a Carnet?
I travelled to the States a few times this year and had my passport stamped to stay for three months. Do US immigration issue six month tourist visas in case I decide to extend my stay?
The purpose of my trip is tourism.
Oct 29, 2012 5:20 AM
The "three month" stamp, which is actually 90 days (there is a difference), is the Visa Waiver Program (which is not a visa, but a visa waiver). This is non-extendable. Also , time in xCanada, xMexico and the xCaribbean after your first US entry is included in your time in the US, so don't think you can "reset the clock" by visiting one of them.
To stay longer in the US, you must get a B-2 visa, available only in advance from an embassy/consulate (any, but easier in your home country). These allow entry up to 180 days, which may be extended once. Extending your stay is not cheap. However, with a visa you can "reset the clock" by heading to a neighboring territory, with the usual caveat that all entry is at the discretion of the official you receive.
Oct 29, 2012 6:54 AM
2There are two types of transatlantic car shipping - roll-on/roll-off (RO-RO) or inside a shipping container. RO-RO obviously requires the car to be drivable on and off the ship; it also exposes the vehicle to the chance of dings and other damage (I'd imagine minor at worst). Of course the container option is more expensive.
With an X5, you're probably looking at £800 - £1200 each way, plus marine insurance and probably some taxes. I'd definitely speak to your insurance company to find out about coverage in the USA; frankly, with your adaptive equipment and the steering wheel on the "wrong" side, if the vehicle were wrecked, it would have basically no re-sale value in North America, so I imagine your rates would be correspondingly very high, but no knowledge.
The US embassy or consular office can give you pointers on documentation needed for a temporary vehicle import; it's obviously not impossible since we see a number of European vehicles on the roads in the summer (mainly German plates). Whether it's practical for you is an issue for you to examine. Remember the car will be on the ship for ~ a month at a time (to/from the east coast, longer to/from the west coast) so you should factor the "loss of use" into your thinking as well.
Oct 29, 2012 7:10 AM
3Do you really want to drive on the wrong side of the road sitting on the wrong side of the car? American roads are not designed with any thought to right-hand drive cars. You will find that to be a huge and dangerous limitation. Have you looked into cars with controls for the disabled?
Oct 29, 2012 7:28 AM
4With advanced notice, major rental car companies can get you a car with hand controls and sometimes other equipment. Here is information from Avis as an example.
This company specializes in renting vans converted for wheelchair use.
You will also want to look into what it will take to get a handicapped parking placard for your time in the US. You will probably want to arrange to get it in the state where your first arrive. It will be honored in other states.
Oct 29, 2012 9:27 AM
5Shipping your car in a container will likely cost more than what's quoted above, but the only way to find out for sure is to get quotes from shippers. No one's going to do that for you. If money's a concern, think about shipping into or out of Canadian ports--sometimes cheaper, always less security-obsessed. Don't schedule too tightly around shipping schedules--delays, sometimes weeks or months long, are common.
Insurance needs to be purchased from a company licensed in the States, so your home insurance company won't have anything to say. Google "Progressive Insurance" and start figuring it out.
Right-hand drive cars are not unknown in the States, but they're rare. They're not impossible to drive safely, but neither are they easy....and you'll be adjusting to driving on the wrong side of the road as well.
There are some minor fees, but you'll only be doing a temporary import, which is fairly easy and cheap. You don't need a carnet. You do need advance EPA clearance, which is easily done on-line.
Your other questions are already answered. I'd add that the nature of your questions suggests you haven't really put much effort into your plans just yet. Very few people here on the Thorntree have actually done anything like what you're proposing; you might do better asking elsewhere--I always suggest Horizonsunlimited.com, which is full of folks shipping cars and motorcycles in all directions and for all purposes.
Hope that's helpful.
Oct 29, 2012 9:37 PM
6Why cant you visit with someone that can drive you around, and just rent cars where ever you go, as many places, like major cities, you dont want a car, expensive to park and you can get everywhere by taxi anyway. Driving a right hand car would be a pain in the arse...
If you do ship it, I would use a reputable broker, that has done this before, you dont want the car stuck in Customs due to a DOT issue.
Hertz also rents cars with adaptive equipment for the impaired.
Dec 18, 2012 9:48 AM
7I got my BMW E93 transported from Europe (not UK though) to USA about 2 years ago. If you are looking for a company that would ship your car, you can find some useful information here. That's the company which I dealt with, that was the first and the last time when I used such a service, but I can say that I all in all I was satisfied with the service and the company. Unfortunately I can't remember what the final cost was but I guess it's easy to find out this kind of information.
(0 star Hotel)
From US$44.03 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$130.37 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$142.16 per night