Import A Vehicle Into The US In 3 Steps

Import A Vehicle Into The US In 3 Steps

[Last updated March 23, 2022]

Many Canadian vehicles are being actively sourced by US buyers. Importing a road vehicle into the US can be difficult; however, we have broken down the process into these three steps for those who want to engage in this venture on their own:

1. Ensure The Vehicle Is Admissible For Vehicle Import

In order to meet the requirements for an import vehicle to USA you will need to have both an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sticker and a Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker affixed to the vehicle. If the vehicle is 25 years or older it is exempt from the DOT certification sticker. If it is over 21 years or older, it is exempt from the EPA certification sticker. If the import vehicle is without a DOT sticker, but does have a CMVSS Canadian Maple Leaf, it may still be eligible for import; by contacting the Manufacturer for a "Letter of Confirmation" which will only work for Personal use Imports. Commercial imports will require the vehicle to be imported through a US Customs Broker and registered importer and is required to hold the vehicle for a minimum of 30 days after importation. Import Vehicles with missing EPA stickers will not be allowed into the USA without contacting the Manufacturer of the Engine for a replacement. If the vehicle is a salvaged, repaired salvage or reconstructed motor vehicle, more investigation is required to determine admissibility.

Determine Vehicle Admissibility

2. Create/Obtain The Required Documentation

Since US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the DOT and EPA are involved with vehicle imports, it is important to understand that each agency has specific documentation requirements. The following list of forms will need to be accurately completed and submitted:

  • US Customs or Commercial Invoice
  • DOT Vehicle Declaration Form (HS-7)
  • EPA Vehicle Declaration Form (3520-1)
  • Copy of the vehicle registration
Video: CBP Info Center FAQ: How To Import Your Automobile
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3. Have The Vehicle Steamed, Sprayed Or Cleaned Thoroughly Before Shipment

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires that the undercarriage of the imported vehicle be free of foreign soil to safeguard against importation of dangerous pests.

Wherever you may be in the purchasing process whether you are currently ready to import vehicle to US or still in the contemplation stage and need assistance, we can help.

Speak To A U.S. Import Specialist
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About Author
Gina Crews

Gina Crews has over 25 years of US and Canadian Customs brokerage experience. Following a whirlwind nationwide tour providing sales and marketing support to Warner Brothers for their "Bugs Bunny Film Festival," Gina entered the logistics & brokerage industry. With an entrepreneurial heart, Gina has been a small business owner herself a few times over and now helps small and medium-sized businesses understand the cross-border process. Gina holds her US Certified Customs Specialist designation, is a dual citizen of the US and Canada fully versed in Customs regulations for both Countries.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.
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