Are you interested in purchasing a car from overseas and having it shipped to the USA? Do you wonder what it will take to get your dream car over from Europe, Canada, or elsewhere? If so, then you need to start by learning all about importing a car the right way.
Not doing so can land you in a world of hurt. It can result in major fines, as well as the government seizing your car and all of the belongings inside of it.
See below for an in-depth guide on the many things you should consider when you import cars to the United States of America.
1. Find a Reputable Shipping Broker
You wouldn’t hire just any company to transport your vehicle from one end of the country to the other for a long-distance move. Why do any differently when it comes to hiring an international shipping broker?
Hiring an international shipping broker, also known as a customs broker, can benefit you or your business in several ways. While it isn’t mandatory to hire one, doing so can help give you more peace of mind throughout the process.
For example, rather than having to learn about all the international regulations yourself, you can put it in the knowledgeable hands of your customs broker. This is especially important these days, as COVID-19 is constantly causing these regulations to be tweaked, reversed, or put on hold.
Hiring an international shipping broker can also help you save money. If you make one mistake during the process, it can cost thousands of dollars (and more time) to fix the error and get your car to the United States.
A broker will also help you remain up-to-date on where your vehicle is. If any problems pop up during clearance, they’ll be notified of them and take action to correct the issues.
Again, it’s not mandatory to hire a broker, but we recommend it because they can help alleviate the stress in this hectic process.
2. Consider the Country You’re Shipping From
Unfortunately, shipping customs to the United States isn’t uniform; different countries have different costs, regulations, and laws about them.
For example, if you’re shipping a car from Canada to the United States of America, you need to get a tag and insurance from the province your car is being imported from. On top of that, you need the car’s Canadian bill of sale, a certificate of origin, and the car’s VIN.
If you’re importing your car from Europe, then the process is a bit easier (since it’s quite common). You’ll need to follow the US Show and Display laws strictly and fill out all of the required documentation. Your customs broker can help you with this process.
For those of you wanting to import from Japan, the process is a bit more difficult. Even if the car abides by the 25-year import law (more on that in a moment), you should expect to pay several thousands of dollars to have it properly imported.
If it’s less than 25 years old, then the process is a bit harder. You will need the bill of lading, export certificate, invoice, and car title—all of which need to be in English to be accepted.
3. Know the 25 Year Import Law
If you read the above paragraph and didn’t know what we meant by “The 25-year import law”, it’s important that you understand it before you proceed to import your car. Doing so can help you save a lot of time and money.
This rule states that if the car you wish to import is 25 years or older, it does not have to abide by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards guidelines. You can import it into the United States legally at any time.
Keep in mind that the 25-year rule applies to the age of that specific vehicle, not the model as a whole. This date must be easily identifiable on a label before it will be accepted.
4. Check to See If Your Car is NHTSA Approved
If you’re still in the shopping phase of buying a car to be imported, then take some time to check the NHTSA’s list of approved vehicles. These are cars that have been deemed eligible to be imported and used on USA roads.
If your preferred car model isn’t on the list, it’s still possible to have it approved after you’ve hired a DOT registered importer.
They’ll make all of the modifications that the vehicle requires to meet the safety and crash standards that the NHTSA has.
5. Budget for Import Fees
This is one thing you do not want to be blindsided by. On top of paying for the actual car itself and all of the costs to have it cleaned and transported, you’ll want to budget for proper import fees.
The level of the import fees depends on the market that you import it from, as well as the type of car itself.
Import fees for automobiles will be around 2.5-percent of their total cost, trucks are around 25-percent, and motorbikes are around 2.4-percent upon entry to the United States.
Take These Considerations Into Account When Importing a Car to the US
Now that you have seen an in-depth guide on all of the things you should consider when importing a car to the United States, be sure to use this information wisely.
Take the time to browse our website for more articles on importing cars, as well as many other topics that you will find helpful.