Personal Car Export to EU from USA Help

Greetings everyone,

Does anyone have any experience in exporting their personal car from the USA to the EU? Or, has there been any similar topic in this community? I have searched, but haven’t found any such thread here.

I am looking for someone to share their experience in exporting their car from the USA. Similarly, any help regarding the regulations and tax exemptions would be much appreciated.

Until then,


A google search will help you find out who can do this and what it requires . The last time I saw an article it seems that with US customs and the other countries customs entry charges the person decided it was not worth the expense . Why are you asking ? What if you go to a place and find out your steering wheel is on the wrong side.

Wrong end of the rope to ask. Where to ask will be the authorities in the country to which the car will be exported and registrered. All countries (in EU) has their own rules and different custom laws and then there are the EU regulations.
I live in DK = EU and importing a car from USA to DK is not that costly in general - apart from shipping, AS LONG as it is a classic car. That means more than 35 y/o. Newer than that - ohh-boy -trouble is brewing.
Be prepared - within EU - to supply all kinds of documentation on the car with regards to complying with EU safety standards, emission standards type approvals and many other things if the car is newer.
If You have questions, feel free to ask.

If UK is involved, remember that they will probably have left EU late this year.

It can be done but is generally not worth the hassle. EU has huge import duties on new cars. A “classic” may require different but equally burdensome documentation.

I once tried to help a friend in Venezuela, when Chavez booted out the “Gringos”, to get his 1994 Nissan Sentra into Canada. The car was assembled in Colombia! and did not have seat belts in the rear seats. Emission gear was minimal, and Transport Canada gave me a long list of inspection items that would have to be “corrected” before the car could be licensed.

Aside from not meeting any of the USA/Canada emission and safety regs, the paperwork was awesome. I advised him to just sell the car there. Which he did.

Many years ago before safety and emission regs, you could buy a car in Europe while on vacation, then have it shipped over afterwards. Mercedes, Volvo, Renault and others had the arrangement.

A friend took a long term assignment in Australia, and was allowed to have his car shipped over at company expense. Since Aussies like those big “Yank Tanks” he shipped an Oldsmobile Delta 88 convertible fully loaded over to Sydney, only to find out that the steering wheel was on the wrong side!!! Australia allows our type of cars for short visits, but to licence for longer term you have to switch the steering wheel; to the left.

It cost him an arm and a leg to order the special; conversion kit and new dash to get compliance.

The sweet spot came when he returned after a few years and sold the car locally for a hefty profit to a local enthusiast.

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At least, you can register a car in DK with the steering in the wrong side and I believe that you can also in UK. Others, I don’t know.
Oops, I recall that I have seen old English cars in France, french registered and wheel to the right.

A fellow named Sam Glover from Practical Classics magazine (UK) wrote an article in that issue of the magazine (within the past 2 years) describing how he purchased a classic Corvair on the east coast USA, drove it across the USA to LA, and shipped it from there by boat back to the UK. If you can find that article it will have some USA-based contacts that helped him w/the paperwork issues. If your can’t find the article, ask for help at your local public library, they often have computer databases of magazines published outside the USA e.g. PressReader.

You could bring it into the UK under single vehicle approval which would allow you to register it in the UK and you could get US sized number plates if that’s the only way one fits on the back.

Left Hand Drive is allowed but it will be similar to driving a right hand drive car here and pulling up to toll booths among other things.

For the EU you’d be better served asking a company like Cosdel which exports collector cars to Europe and could give you a better idea of what’s required and the cost.

I wonder if we will ever here where this person is going and what the vehicle is . Also why go to all that trouble and expense . I think if I was going to some place like that I would want to see a vehicle or two that we will never get here in the US.


A friend was over for a few years from Germany. He bought a Challanger for his local US car with the intention to sell it before he went back. He liked it enough to take it back to Germany. Shipping was pretty reasonable, about $2k picked up in the Pittsburgh area and dropped off in his home town in Germany. He hired a local expert car shop (in Germany) to modify the car to meet local requirements. It was $$ but money was not a concern for him. Many things had to be changed, mostly with external lighting, color of turn signals etc. I do not remember all the details.

Best to hire an expert in the destination country to make the modifications. You do not want to be stuck over the pond trying to fix a few issues with someone a long flight away.

Hello everyone,

Thank you for the answers. I greatly appreciate it.

I have been living in the EU for the last 8 years (dual US/PL citizenship). I have read some (dated?) articles about importing personal vehicles from the USA to the EU and having the import duty / VAT waived as long as I continue to keep it in my possession for two years after importation.

The government pages aren’t clear on this situation. So I have decided to resort to car forums to see if anyone has had a similar experience.

As to what car I have, well, here is the second layer to this cake, my friend here would like to purchase a front-end-damaged MB S63 AMG Coupe <50k$, 2014+.

I am doing my homework to see how I/we can purchase the car in my name in the USA (my being a US citizen), and then importing it to the EU, holding on to it and repairing it during the supposed 2 year period, then selling it. Similar cars go for much higher rates, especially in Poland, where I currently have been living, than in the USA.

The problem I have is transparency of the law, its definitions, and avoiding the tax man’s interrogation.

Any further information will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers everyone,

You want to buy a damaged German vehicle that is in the US , ship it to Some place in Europe that already has many places to buy a Mercedes , spend money to repair and then count on someone actually buying it from you in two years.

What could possibly go wrong .


The short story is that this isn’t a DYI task, hire a professional service.

In addition to the EU Customs/Import issues, which could leave the car permanently stranded on arrival, there’s another whole bunch of potential problems with the purchase, documentation, transportation to the port and safe shipping.
i.e. Nobody in their right mind is going to sell or transport a car to the port for an overseas purchaser except for cash so you could end up buying that proverbial “pig in a poke”. And then there’s the whole problem of damage to the car during transport and storage to the port and during shipping.

If you go online you’ll find firms that do this for a living, not cheap but worth every cent.

And how would you know if a forum response with a screen name and no way to verify if they actually giving correct up to date information . Simple you don’t .

You can be sure there will be many barriers to doing this. As a way to make money this idea is nuts. In my opinion, of course…


Agree with @texases, this is not a way to make money. This is for something you have a passion for with excess money to have fun with.

my 83 colt was setup for RHD. the trans was on pass side. the brake booster was on pass side. i never looked at linkage from brake pedal to booster. maybe it was cable? had a tiny panasonic battery. im thinking 300cca? my atv battery for my mower is same size.

Just for laughs, I went to:

and punched in Texas as start point, New York as departure point and Gdynia as arrival point. 2150 USD, no insurrance, no nothing, but there will most likely be several different fees added to that. For a car like the one OP descibes - forget it. Much cheaper to buy such a money pit in working order in Germany.

Furthermore, there are 113 adds just on Autoscout24 in Europe for that specific model from -14 and up. all under 112k USD (100000 Euro)


I completely agree with you. For the vast majority of cars, buying locally makes much more sense.

An exception would be something like a recent transaction where the EU buyer was very knowledgeable about the car, the car was built to International standards and because it was a V8, many more were sold in the US than in the EU so the US price was much lower.
Low enough to justify the additional shipping costs, the risk of buying from the pictures and the hassle of arranging full payment “in good funds” before the car or original documents left my possession.
(NO credit cards, letters of credit, check drawn on a foreign bank, PayPal, etc…way too many scammers out there)

I’m not sure if it was me You responded to, but …
There are no international standard. USA have their standard, EU have theirs and Australia probably something different also, the countries within EU have their own specific standards on certain things.
Lets say, I go over to my local Toyota dealer and buy a Camry, then I want one more for my wife and find the last one exactly the same in existance in USA. I buy it in USA and get it shipped to - in this case - Denmark. It’s the exact same car, same factory, same spec, same everything. Then I have to show documentation that it conforms to all our regulations. From emissions over crash test to safety equipment and many more things in order to get it registered. It can be done, but for a hefty price in time and money. There are a few companies doing this, but they are only dealing with special and sought after vehicles.
If you try this as a private person, you’ll probably end up with more paperwork than car.
Importing a car from one EU country to another EU country is a lot easier, but still a lot of hassle.