Importing a Car to the USA


Thinking of importing a vehicle from abroad into the USA? Before deciding to do so, please read this article in order to get a better understanding of the importing process. Bringing a vehicle into the United States is quite easy, but first, you must make sure it qualifies fully per USA standards. 


When examining the vehicle you will import, make sure that it meets US engine specifications. If it doesn’t meet US engine specifications, then it must be 25 years or older. You can also import it, if it will remain in the country for less than 12 months. The qualification depends on the engine of the vehicle. These requirements are for boats, cars, motorcycles, RVs and other vehicles. If the vehicle has an engine, then it must meet the requirements which are quite strict. 

Importing car to USA


If your vehicle cannot meet the requirements set forth by the USA, then it simply cannot be imported. This is unless you receive special approval from import authorities. If you cannot obtain the special approval, then your only option is to convert the vehicle to be completely compliant. You can get the approval by filling out an application with the DOT and the EPA. If you can’t get the approval, then importing the vehicle becomes an expensive and lengthy procedure.


There are 2 different types of import categories. These are permanent imports and temporary imports. For you to be able to import a vehicle permanently, you have to be a company based in the United States, be a citizen of the country, or possess legal status to live and work within the United States. 


If you choose to import a vehicle temporarily, then it must leave the country within a year. If the import is temporary, then the vehicle does not need to conform to US standards. Examples of temporary imports include: race, exhibition, display, events, leisure, repair and vacation. 


Here are the documents needed for all vehicle imports into the United States: original bill of lading (transport document), the bill of sale and its foreign registration. These documents are necessary to import a vehicle and should be kept safe during the entire process. 


Importing a vehicle can be expensive. The cost varies depending on several factors. These factors include vehicle specifications, the origin and destination, and the shipping type (RoRo, container or air cargo). Work with your shipping agent to determine the best strategy and cost for your dream import.




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