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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 87219
Experience:  Private practice in several areas, including immigration
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Hi, Sorry I didnt know under which category of lawyer this

Resolved Question:

Hi,

Sorry I didn't know under which category of lawyer this falls....


I need to know about the process of changing the ownership of a California plated car into my name.

I have a greencard and live in NY but am currently in Yucatan, Mexico.

I bought the car in Mexico from it's legit owner, and will want in three months to return to the USA with the car permantly to be in the States. I need to know how to complete the ownership papers and where I need to be. I could go in about two weeks to California.

Is it different if I go to NY? I understand I might need to take the plates with me. Is there a smog test?

Can you please advise me on this and the process itself so i don't make any mistakes.

And, if the car is leaglly mine do I need to be in vehicle for it to cross the border or can a friend drive it for me providing all paperwork is correct.

Thank you, Fiona
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

Which state do you reside in, wherein you will want to register the vehicle?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I currently reside in NY but I am planning to move in three months to LA or Montana.

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Fiona,

Thank you.

Importing the Vehicle
For CBP clearance you will need the shipper’s or carrier’s original bill of lading, the bill of sale, foreign registration, and any other documents covering the vehicle. You will also be required to complete EPA form 3520-1 and DOT form HS-7, declaring the emissions and safety provisions under which the vehicle is being imported. Vehicles that meet all U.S. emission requirements will bear manufacturer’s label on the engine compartment in English, attesting to that fact. For vehicles that lack such a label, the CBP inspector at the port of entry may require proof of eligibility to import under the EPA exemptions or exclusions specified on form 3520-1.*

*CBP

EPA form 3520-1
http://www.epa.gov/otaq/imports/documents/3520-1.pdf

DOT form HS-7
www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/hs799short.pdf (immediate download)

You can actually find all the instructions here, but I pasted the most relevant information.

States
Each state has its own rules on registering the vehicle. If you can get it into the USA, then registering it with a state should be relatively easy. For CA, see here. For Montana, see here. It would simply be a process of going though the paperwork.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. (You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Ely,


 


Sorry just to clarify, if I fly to LA with correct paperwork and the car itself will stay in mexico can I do all I need to do in this way or does the car need to be present. I would prefer to have the cars paperwork in my name before I drive the car across the border in 3 weeks so want to do it all before.


thanks

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
No need to apologize! This is what I am here for.

if I fly to LA with correct paperwork and the car itself will stay in mexico can I do all I need to do in this way or does the car need to be present.

You cannot register the vehicle in CA (or Montana) until it has cleared US soil. So first you have to bring it in. Only then can you register it with CA or Montana.

I would prefer to have the cars paperwork in my name before I drive the car across the border in 3 weeks so want to do it all before.

Unfortunately, it is the other way around:

1) You (or an agent of yours or a transporter, etc) moves the vehicle to USA;
2) Once that is done, then, you can register it in CA or MT.

The states are going to want to see proof that it has been cleared by US Customs before they do anything.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

 


Yeah I hear you..... I want the truth !! thanks. That's why I like this site because I can trust the answers not just random comments on the internet.


 


For instance I understood that i could fly in with the change of owner paperwork and do that at any DMV in california (I have all the ex owners info on the Californian plated car and USA paperwork ) and in ten days they send me the new title papers in my name.


 


But this seems to not be the case.


Thanks very much , FIona

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Yeah I hear you..... I want the truth !! thanks. That's why I like this site because I can trust the answers not just random comments on the internet.

Great. I am pleased to hear this.

For instance I understood that i could fly in with the change of owner paperwork and do that at any DMV in california (I have all the ex owners info on the Californian plated car and USA paperwork ) and in ten days they send me the new title papers in my name.

How could you, if the vehicle may not even have a VIN assigned to it? So yes, it has to cross into the USA first, I am afraid.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 87219
Experience: Private practice in several areas, including immigration
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