Importing vehicles from Japan

Vehicle Import Blog

Importing from Japan

Importing from Canada

Importing from Europe

Importing from Australia

Importing from the rest of the world

How to register an imported vehicle

 

How to import vehicles from Japan.

  • Most Japanese market cars are right hand drive (RHD)
  • Most vehicles sold in Japan do not meet United States Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS)
      • The Japanese vehicles do not meet US FMVSS as they were not built to meet these standards. This does not mean they are any less safe than a vehicle built for the US, it just means it was not built to meet US standards
  • Japanese vehicles are not built to meet US emissions standards

Vehicle Importation Guidelines - US NHTSA

Importing vehicles from Canada

Importing Canadian certified vehicles

  • Vehicles 15 years and older can be imported to Canada. The US requirements are 21 years or older for the EPA , and 25 years old for the NHTSA. Canadian vehicles imported under the 15 year rule can not be imported to the United States.

Vehicle legalization and registration

Most people can not grasp the difference between vehicle legalization and vehicle registration.

  • Legalization – a vehicle in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and Environmental Protection Agency standards
  • Registration - registration is the responsibility of the individual states and localities. Most states do not check to see wether a vehicle is federally legal. If they see the vehicle, and are paid the registration fees, they will give registration for the vehicle.
      • Many people seem to get confused that if a vehicle is registered, that it is legal or "legalized". A registered vehicle is just a registered vehicle. Registration could still be revoked by the DOT, EPA, or customs service, if the vehicle was found to have entered into the country fraudentley.

Ways to import cars

Normally

  • HS-7
  • 3520-1 - http://www.epa.gov/otaq/imports/quikover.htm
  • Customs approval

Abnormally

  • As parts, a vehicle body with no engine and no driveline is not considered a vehicle by the NHTSA.
  • In a container not declared as a motor vehicle
  • As a Kit car. Kit cars are a very grey area. The Clean air act states if a vehicle is taken apart to avoid importation regulations, then that is a violation of the Clean air act. Mostly, if a body is imported, then the owner declares it a kit car, and reassembles it, its up to the states to register it.
  • Driven across the border. US Customs at the border does not seem to check over most vehicles. Its not illegal to drive a Canadian vehicle in the US, so a vehicle that has been registered in Canada, would not get much scrutiny.

Temporary

Driving a vehicle in the United States

  • MOTORISTS VISITING THE UNITED STATES as tourists from countries that have ratified the Convention on International Road Trafficmay drive in the U.S. for one year with their own national Iicense plates (registration tags) on their cars and with their own personal driver's licenses.
  • WHEREAS the said Convention was signed during that period by the respective plenipotentiaries of the United States of America, Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, India, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Sweden, Switzerland, the Union of South Africa, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Yugoslavia, and the said related protocol was signed during that same period by the respective plenipotentiaries of the United States of America, Belgium, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, India, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, Sweden, Switzerland, the Union of South Africa, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland;
  • MOTORISTS FROM CANADA AND MEXICO are permitted to tour in the U.S. without U.S. license plates or U.S. driver's permits, under agreements between the United States and these countries.

Exporting a vehicle from the United States

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/export/export_docs/motor_vehicle.xml

Importing a vehicle to Australia

http://www.customs.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=4371