Shipping a Car Overseas

Shipping your car overseas

When you receive your PCS orders you're entitled to ship your privately owned vehicle (POV) from or between locations overseas. If you wish to ship your POV overseas it must be authorized on your orders. Alternate ports may be used if approved by the military traffic management command (MTMC). Requests to use an alternate port should be addressed to the Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO).

Your owned or leased POV may be shipped to your new duty station at the government's expense. If you want to make your own arrangements to ship your own POV, consult your sponsor and transportation office for any restrictions. You may have to pay an import duty on a second POV. Your local transportation office has information on the host country's restrictions.

Size Limitations
The government will pay for the shipment of a POV that does not exceed 20 measurement tons. A compact car averages 9 tons and a full-size car is about 15 tons. Measurement tons can be determined by multiplying the length (in feet) by the height by the width, and then dividing by 40. Here's the formula: L in feet x H in feet x W in feet = Total Cubic Feet divided by 40.

Type of POV's You May Ship
Only self-propelled, wheeled motor vehicles can be shipped. This includes automobiles, motorcycles, motor scooters, vans, and pickups. Other passenger-carrying, multi-purpose motor vehicles may qualify. However, they may require a written certification stating the vehicle is for personal use.

Leased POV

To ship a long-term (12 months or longer) leased POV, you must provide a written authority from the leasing company. All requirements stated in the lease remain your responsibility.

When to Ship Your POV
Each branch of the military has different limitations for shipping a POV. A few of those limitations for the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy include:

  • Army and Air Force personnel POVs will be accepted for shipment if delivered to the port within 90 days after the servicemember departed for an overseas tour of more than one year, or within 30 days after the servicemember's departure on a tour of duty of one year or less.
  • Navy and Marine Corps personnel POVs will be accepted when at least 12 months remain to be served at their current overseas duty station at the time vehicle is delivered to the loading port.

What You May Leave in Your POV
Only authorized personal articles may remain in your POV when it's turned in for processing. All household items and camping equipment must be removed. You may ship the following:

  • Tools, which cannot exceed $200 value
  • Jacks, tire irons, tire chains, fire extinguisher, tire inflator, first aid kits, jumper cables, warning triangles, trouble lights
  • One spare tire and two snow tires with wheels (mounted and unmounted)
  • Portable cribs and children's car seats
  • Luggage racks
  • Small items such as thermos bottles, bottle warmers and car cushions if they can be packed entirely within a carton provided by the port
  • Catalytic converters, catalyst components (pallets), oxygen sensors and pipe segments used to replace converters in overseas areas

What You May Not Ship in Your POV
The following items may not be left in a POV during shipping:

  • Televisions and DVD players
  • Accessories not permanently installed
  • Flammable or hazardous substances such as waxes, oil, paints, solvents and polishes
  • Citizen Band (CB) radios, importation and operations of CB radios are prohibited in most overseas areas

Violating these restrictions may result in your POV being held at the port of discharge until the equipment has been removed and shipped out of country. All costs associated with removing your CB radio from your POV and shipping will be at your expense.

Tracking Your POV
You can track your POV through the American Auto Logistics website. Just enter your name, Social Security number, and order number and you can find out just where your vehicle is in the moving process. Directions and maps to the vehicle pick-up centers and more detailed information on shipping a vehicle can be found on this site, as well.

To get more PCS tips or information, visit's PCS/Home Buying Guide.

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