How to Ship Your Car While Stationed Overseas in the Military

Shipping your car while in the military can be quite easy, or it can be tedious.  Military personnel from all over the world goes through this process.  Maybe they are changing duty stations.  The first thing to ask is, “If shipping a car on my orders?”

How do you ship your car while stationed overseas in the military?  The first thing to do is to check your orders.  If you are authorized to ship your vehicle, then you are good to go.  The next step will be to contact the military traffic management command (MTMC).  They will give you the necessary forms to fill out and a checklist you must follow.  Keep reading for more information about shipping your car.

There are a few things you may want to consider when shipping your car.  You may want to know how much it will cost.  Perhaps, you want to see what you can keep in your vehicle when it is shipped.  One thing to keep in mind, what are the rules for shipping a car.  The MTMC will give you a checklist and paperwork with all this information.  However, I am going to provide you with the low down to help you better prepare yourself.

The Basics

How do you know if you are authorized to ship your car?  Here are a few basic requirements:

  • Are you a member of the military with the order approving the shipment?
  • Are you a DoD civilian with orders that are authorizing the shipment of your car?
  • Are you a retiree who has been authorized to ship your car?

Look at the list.  You can see one common factor.  All require some form of authorization.  Most of the time, this will be through orders.  You cannot take advantage of it.  You will only be authorized to ship one car, and it is usually associated with overseas.

The Cost

Considering you are only authorized to ship your car through order, the cost will be covered by the government.  If you need to send another vehicle, you must pay for it out of pocket.  Keep in mind, this is still cheaper than going through a regular shipping company to ship your car.  The thing to remember, your orders are the key.  It will outline what you can and cannot do.

Shipping Restrictions

There are a few restrictions that you must take into consideration.  You can only ship self-propelled cars.  If it takes gasoline and is used for personal use, you can be sent.  These are vehicles such as motorcycles, automobiles, motor scooters, pickups, etc.

If you are one of those soldiers who like to pimp out your ride, consider a low rider will not be authorized.  You also cannot have a lift kit on your car that is higher than 3 inches.  These restrictions are in place to protect your vehicle and prevent damages when loading and unloading.  You will want to check with your transportation office for any other restrictions.  Sometimes, your host country requires additional restrictions.

For example, if you take your car to Germany, they require your vehicle to have a speedometer that keeps track of kilometers per hour.  The same goes if you buy a car overseas and have orders to ship it to the states.  The United States requires the vehicle to show miles per hour.  Many times, if a car is purchased overseas, it does not meet these specs.  It can get very costly to have it converted.

There are also restrictions on the size of your car.  You cannot exceed 20 measurable tons.  The exception is if it is for medical purposes.  If you can ship a bigger car, it must be in the orders.  To see better what a measurable ton is, you can figure 1 measurable ton is about 40 cubic feet.  Therefore, a car would be between 9 to 15 measurable tons.  If you go over the allowable tons, you may be paying for the extra weight.

What Insurances and Licenses Must You Have?

When you left the United States with your car, you were all set.  Your license and insurance were right.  You have been gone for so long that when you return, you will need to prepare your car so you can drive it in the U.S. again.  Some states may allow you a short grace period to drive your vehicle, but you still must get it down right away.

Insurances and licenses will vary from country to country.  Your transportation office will have the information needed for the country you are shipping too.  Before you can pick up your vehicle in your gaining country, you will need to provide the proper paperwork authorizing you to drive your car in the host country.  For example, in Germany, you are required to lake and pass the military driving test.  It is like taking your written divers test all over again.  Only this time it is for your host country.

What Items Can I Leave in the Car when Shipping?

The best answer to this question, if it is there as emergency equipment, then it can be shipped with the car.  A few things that would qualify as car equipment are:

  • Your tools if it is under the value of $200.
  • Necessary equipment such as tire chains, tire jacks, first aid kit, warning triangles, etc. (In some countries, warning triangles are mandatory).
  • A spare tire.
  • Your car seats for the children, strollers, portable cribs, etc.

Check with your transportation department for a complete list of items.  Just as important as what you can ship is the list of what you cannot send.  Here are a few things on that list:

  • VCRs, DVD players, and TVs. The exception is the ones installed in your car.
  • Anything flammable.
  • Any form of liquids.
  • Military Gear!!!

Your military gear should never be shipped with your car.  It can be sent in household goods.  You may need it at your next duty station.  If you fail to comply with any of these rules, it will cause a delay in shipping your car until you remove the items you should not be shipping with your vehicle.

How to Track Your Car

You have just shipped your car.  You must know where it is and when to pick it up.  You can go to the PCSMyPOV website and track the status.  The necessary information the site will ask for is your order number, name, and Social Security Number.  You can also find valuable information such as where to pick up your car, a map to the pickup location, and an estimated date for pick up.

Shipping your car can be seen as a little overwhelming.  The transportation office will be a great support to ensure you are taken care of.  Remember, your orders are everything.  If it is not in writing, it does not exist.  Therefore, if it is not on your orders, you are not authorized to ship your car.  If you want to still send your vehicle, talk to your company and have your orders amended.=

Sometimes, if you are not authorized to ship your car, you may not be authorized to get a driver’s license in your gaining station.  Good luck on your travels, and contact Ship Vehicles if you need any help with shipping your vehicle!