How To Ship Your Car From Anywhere To Korea, Stress-Free!


This article is about shipping your car to Korea but, it can also apply to other countries.  It’s almost the same process, but you will have to do your due diligence researching before you ship your car to other countries.

Shipping your precious privately owned vehicle, like your car, truck, or motorcycle from the United States to South Korea can be a stressful event.  If you want to ship your car and your job is in Korea, you want to live there, or you want to retire here then this article is for you.

Shipping a vehicle to Korea from US also works for those that aren’t in the military.  If you want to bring your car to Korea, then you came to the right place to get the information.  This post is my experience shipping my car while serving in the military.

I was stationed in Korea, and my car was stored at the Seattle Vehicle Storage Facility in the United States.  I missed driving my car so I decided I wanted to bring it over to Korea. I own a Chevrolet Camaro 2010 2SS, the first Camaro model that came out for the movie “Transformers.”  This car will be a classic because of that.


My Car at Lotte World Tower 2


A Vehicle Storage Facility (VSF) is a storage parking lot of cars for military service members.  Military service members are allowed to store vehicles at these facilities, for free, when they are sent overseas.  These Vehicle Storage Facilities are located throughout the United States and even abroad.

Storing my vehicle at the VSF meant that they would routinely check on my car each month, and let me know if something was wrong.  Can you say your mother or grandmother will do that for you?

When I got to Korea, I realized that I needed to ship my vehicle to Korea from the US because I decided to live off base and live in the economy.  I didn’t want to buy and drive a cheap car, basically a junk car that is held together with masking tape, crazy glue and daily prayer.

I was living off post and needed a reliable car to go to and from work.  So what did I do?  I decided that shipping my vehicle to South Korea was necessary.  I decided to pay out of my own pocket the cash needed to ship my car.  I paid out of my own pocket because I was not authorized to ship the car on the military expense.


Container Ship At Port


How Did The Car Get To The Shipping Company? A Service I Used The Shipping Company Offered.


If you are still in the United States and heading to Korea later, you can drive the vehicle yourself to the international vehicle shipping company.  Then they take your vehicle and get it on the boat to Korea. Final destination, Korea!

If you are already living or working overseas and you can get a relative or friend to take the car to the shipping company, then the shipping company will take it from there.

If you are overseas who don’t have family members or friends to rely on back home, then you will have to rely on the cargo shipping company.  A representative from the car shipping company can pick up your car from wherever it is and put it on the boat to send off to Korea.  I recommend you find a vehicle shipping company that is close to your car’s location.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?

The car shipping company needs a Power of Attorney to get your car. So what is that?


Legal Documents Signing Power of Attorney


The Power of Attorney for Shipping Your Vehicle Overseas


This is where a “Power of Attorney” comes into play. It gives someone or a company authorization to act upon your behalf.  Once you have it written up and “official”, then it is not so complicated to do it a second time for other situations.  So how did I do it?

I yelled “Go Go Gadget Power of Attorney!” and it was so. Hmmm. Just kidding.

A legal specialist or an attorney can draft a Power of Attorney.  Within the military, trained legal specialists are available who can draft up a sealed official “Power of Attorney.” Also, did I mention that it’s free for military personnel and dependents?  I went to the legal specialist on base and got it done for free.  For everyone else, you need a legal specialist, a lawyer.

Sea Gull


More Than One Power of Attorney for Shipping Vehicles To South Korea


I needed three (3) Power of Attorneys.  The first Power of Attorney allowed someone from the shipping company to pick up the vehicle from the Vehicle Storage Facility.  A power of attorney has to have a specific individual’s name.  So I emailed the shipping company and asked for someones name there, and they gave me a name of one of their people to name in the Power of Attorney.

The second Power of Attorney allowed the shipping company itself to bring the vehicle and pass it through U.S. Customs and onto their Shipping Boat.  The name of the shipping company DBA has to be on this Power of Attorney, not a person’s name. DBA means “Doing Business As.”  It’s the company’s name that was used to create a business in the United States.

The third Power of Attorney was to allow someone from the shipping company to personally go to the vehicle registration office and pick up my Title to the car.  Huh?  Why is that you may ask?  Simple.


Shipping Containers At A Port


Still Paying On The Vehicle Loan? Then You Need Permission To Ship The Vehicle to South Korea.


If you are still paying a loan on your personally owned vehicle, then you don’t own the car, the bank does.  Since the bank has given you a loan, they have placed the vehicle on a lien, meaning they are assuming the risk that you will pay the car loan off.  They are the lien holders and you were given a lien certificate with the bank as the lien holder.

If that is the case for you, call the bank and ask their permission to ship the car.  If they approve, they will send you an official letter allowing you to export your vehicle to Korea. If it’s not approved, then you will be riding a bus to work.  Technically, they are the lien holders on the car, so you don’t own the vehicle until your loan is fully paid off.
So I decided to pay off the auto loan and become the owner of “BumbleBee.” oops; sorry, that may become a copyright trademark infringement.  My car doesn’t like that since its name is “Fire Wall.”

If you have no auto loans on the vehicle, then you can ship the car. You ask permission from yourself and you don’t need to ask anyone’s permission. However, I did need the third (3rd) Power of Attorney because I didn’t have my Original Title to my vehicle. Why is that?


Shipping Containers At Port


A Little Bit of Drama, Worthy of a Korean Drama Scene!


I realized this would be an extra pain, so I paid off my loan and asked for my Title.  Its mine and I want it right now!  However, I realized afterward that they didn’t email it to me directly.

The bank participated in the annoying electronic vehicle title program meaning they emailed the title of the vehicle to the Vehicle Registration Office of the State that was my home of record. This meant my vehicle registration was lost.

The registration office processed the title and two weeks later, mailed it to an address that was on their file.  My home of record was in Tacoma, Washington state.  They mailed my Vehicle Title to a place I had not lived at for over 5 years!

After an overseas phone call from me, they sent another one to the shipping company’s address.  You need the original vehicle title to be with the car shipping company.  After they get the car on their boat, then they will mail the original vehicle title to you, because you will need that to claim ownership of the vehicle when it gets to destination port, in my case South Korea’s port.


Night Time At A Shipping Port


However, for some reason, the vehicle title was returned back to the Vehicle Registration Office (VRO) as undeliverable.  The VRO said I could pick it up myself but unfortunately for me, I was living in Korea and I couldn’t just hop on a plane to the VRO to pick up the title.

Time was being wasted trying to get the vehicle title to the vehicle shipping company.  I was renting a car on a monthly basis, and the longer it took to get the vehicle title to the shipping company, the longer it was going to be for the car to get to me.

I didn’t have a place in the United States at that moment because I was living and working in Korea, so the vehicle title was going to the wrong place.  To bypass the wait of getting my vehicle ownership title sent to Korea, I decided on the third Power of Attorney.

The third “Power of Attorney” came in handy.  I had the “Power of Attorney” authorizing someone from the shipping company to go to the Vehicle Registration Office and pick up the Official Vehicle Title to my vehicle.  This Power of Attorney saved me extra days for the Vehicle Registration Office to re-process another title and to mail it. Another vehicle title that would be lost in the mail.

This is where this post will end.  Intermission.  This is a great time to grab a cup of coffee, soda, sandwich and read part 2.  We go over shipping and picking up your vehicle.


Busan Night Scene


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DISCLAIMER:  The paragraphs above is my attempt at Korean English humor. I am a Korean-American, so I believe it is ok. If you don’t like it, then don’t read the paragraphs above. Too late, you already done it.