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The following is a discussion re importing classic cars that you may find useful:
Any car that is imported into the US will have to confirm to various emissions, bumper and safety standards before it is rendered legal to use. Here are the few steps on how to import a classic car to the US. You'll need:
- U.S. EPA form 3520-1
- U.S. DOT form HS-7
- DOT Registered Importer (RI) contract (when applicable)
- Money to pay for duties
Check the NHTSA List of Approved Vehicles as this list will give you an idea if your classic car is eligible to be imported to the USA. If the vehicle you purchased is not on the list, you will have to hire the services of a DOT certified Registered Importer. This specialist will perform the necessary modifications to make the vehicle conform to crash and safety standards. Secure a DOT Form HS-7 to ensure that the vehicle conforms to various bumper and safety standards. The services of an RI could be expensive, but are necessary to make the vehicle eligible for import.
Consult the U.S. EPA guidelines become familiar with the various regulations that need to be followed when planning to import a car into the USA. The emission testing procedures will measure the amount of hydrocarbons, nitrous oxide and particulate emissions from the tailpipe while the car is strapped into a dynamometer. All cars have to meet U.S. EPA standards before they can be imported and used in the US. Certain vehicles such as race cars and classic cars built before January 1, 1968 may be excluded from emission requirements.
Secure a U.S. EPA form 3520-1 to prove that the vehicle has passed EPA requirements. This form will be given to U.S. Customs officials before given the permit to enter.
Before shipping the classic car, notify the carrier or shipper of the arrival date of the car to make the necessary arrangements at the U.S. Customs office.
Have the vehicle shipped and prepare documents such as the original bill of lading, bill of sale and old vehicle registration. These documents have to be presented to Customs upon arrival of the car.
Present the vehicle documents upon arrival along with the EPA form 3520-1 to U.S. Customs and pay the appropriate duties/fees corresponding to the transaction. Duty rates are normally based on 2.5% of the purchase price of the car. Other regulations and exemptions may vary. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection will provide all the necessary information regarding updates, fees and exemptions in regards ***** ***** a classic car to the USA.
You should also make sure that you empty the vehicle of all personal belongings prior to its departure. If you leave anything inside there is a high risk of theft while the vehicle is in transit or sitting at docks. Most shipping companies will reject your vehicle if it has personal belongings inside, and if not, you could be in for a hefty charge by Customs upon the vehicle's arrival.