Documents you need to clear your Vehicle at Sea Port

You have made the decision to ship your car overseas but the process looks complicated to you. It is not actually complicated as long as you know what documents are required and the other processes involved.

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International Vehicle Shipping can vary by the location you are in and there are also a lot of key factors to take into consideration when shipping your vehicle abroad. One of the main factors is what documents you will need to ship your car abroad. This article will highlight it all.

What Documents Will I Need?

The key documents you will need to ship your car overseas include; 

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  1. PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION: You are likely to provide two forms of identification. This can include state-issued ID, driver’s license, passport, and any other form of identification.. 
  2. CAR NAME: You should plan on bringing two copies; one for putting in the vehicle, and another for presenting at the time of the booking. 
  3. PROOF OF OWNERSHIP: To ship a vehicle overseas, you must be able to prove that you own the rights to the vehicle. You will need to provide a bill of sale before you can ship your vehicle. If you are leasing or financing, you will also need to present a copy of the lien authorisation, notarised by the lien holder. 
  4. RETURN ALL PAPERWORK TO THE CAR TRANSPORT COMPANY: They will also need you to sign a consignee form and a container list. The consignee form will be provided by the shipping company and is required for you to fill out before your vehicle can be shipped. It will include your name, address, phone number and the country you are shipping your vehicle. You will also need to fill out the make, model, year and estimated value of your vehicle. 
  5. LETTER OF INTENT: This is just to state who they are to contact, and whom to send Original Documentation to once the shipping has been completed, to enable you to collect your vehicle and show Proof of Ownership.

How To Prepare Your Vehicle For International Shipping

The following are key things to do after you must have submitted all documents to ensure that your car is safe while being transported overseas. They include;

  1. Take out all the fuel in the fuel tank: The fuel tank is supposed to be less than a 1/4 tank full.
  2. Remove all personal belongings: Personal belongings are supposed to be removed to avoid being stolen during the process of shipping.
  3. Check the conditions of your car(s): You should ensure your vehicle(s) is in operating condition, with a working emergency brake, and is licensed or qualified to be licensed for operation on public streets or highways. Also, the vehicle has to be neatly washed.
  4. Check for any cracks or damages: You should ensure there are no cracks in windshields or other windows or any damage to any part of the car which does not result in a serious issue later in the long run during the course of the shipping.
  5. Remove any fire extinguishers: You should remove any fire extinguishers you have in your car too.

Things To Know Before Shipping Your Vehicle Overseas

  1. The age of the vehicle: Some countries have restrictions on the age of the Vehicle being imported into their Country. Therefore, you should contact Customs Clearing Agent in that receiving Country to confirm your Vehicle meets age requirements before shipping.
  2. Import Taxes: 99% of Vehicles being Exported outside of Nigeria or any other country will incur charges when vehicles reach their destination, and you should contact a Customs Clearing Agent in the receiving Country to get an estimate on import taxes. Generally, this is calculated based on a percentage of the Vehicle’s overall Value.
  3. Briefly, the under listed are 8 things to Know Before Shipping Your Car
    •    Do Your Homework. Research the company you’re looking to hire
    •    Ask Questions. “Ask what’s all included in the quote you receive,”
    •    Check Out the Shipper’s Insurance.
    •    Book Early
    •    Prep the Vehicle
    •    Look for Red Flags
    •    Be On-site for Pickup and Delivery
    •    Understand How Payment Works.

Shipping Methods You Could Use

The following are the two major types of shipping methods used to ship cars or any large item overseas. They include;

  1. Ro/Ro: Roll-on/roll-off (RORO or ro-ro) ships are vessels that are designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers, and railroad cars, that are driven on and off the ship on their own wheels or using a platform vehicle, such as a self-propelled modular transporter.
  2. Container: A shipping container, also called an intermodal container, is a large, rectangular steel box that is used in the cargo transport industry. The term “intermodal” refers to the fact that shipping containers can be moved from one type of transport to another: they can be moved by ship, rail, truck, or plane.

Although it requires a lot of effort, time and money when looking for the right company to ship your vehicle, the payoff is worth it. Hiring a shipping company means all the work is done for you. You can fly to your destination without any worry, knowing your vehicle will arrive with professionals that know what it takes.


After all, you have already been acquainted with the necessary documents to ensure a smooth shipping experience. Now, it’s time to serve you with some tips to make sure that the procedures are followed correctly.

  • Planning ahead and scheduling in advance: Having procured the vehicle safely and ready to ship it, you have to schedule the shipping as far in advance as possible to ensure delivery in your desired time frame. With the luxury of time schedule for the delivery, you will comfortably take care of any possible challenge in the process of transit without fear.
  • Cleaning out the car: Your vehicle needs to be free of any personal items during transport. Transport trucks must meet strict weight requirements and insurance will not cover personal items in the vehicle. Failure to remove all your belongings could result in an extra charge or cause a delay in the transport of your vehicle or both.
  • Inspecting your vehicle and making a checklist: An important step in the automobile transportation process is to do a thorough inspection of the vehicle and present it to the auto transit company for an acknowledgement before they take possession of the vehicle. It is also a good idea and highly recommended, to take photos of the car from all angles so you can file the photos away until the car has been delivered. This helps if you suspect there is any cosmetic damage to the car as you will have photographs to show what the condition of the car was at the time the driver took possession of the transport.
  • Ensuring low fuel and removing antennae: Make sure that you have not more than a quarter tank of gas/ petrol in your vehicle for transport. More fuel than this can provide an unnecessary safety hazard. Remove any loose parts from the vehicle such as bed liners that are not bolted down, so that they do not get blown off during transport. Any non-retractable antennas must also be removed so that they do not get damaged while in transport.

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