California Title and Registration of Diesels

Discussion in 'Importing' started by DrivingMissRosey, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. MrsCait

    MrsCait

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    Has anyone registered in South Dakota? I know they don't require you to establish residency or prove you have the car there. You are even allowed to register with your CA address and license. No emissions testing either.
    But I can't find out anything really about out-of-country cars.

    Non-Resident Title and Registration Information
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  2. saltycoconuts

    saltycoconuts Currently accepting donations

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    Maybe give them a call and ask it wouldn’t hurt and might get you somewhere
     
  3. TonyP

    TonyP GOLD Star

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    Montana is another very popular place people register vehicles.
     
  4. DVracing

    DVracing

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    I have a 1991 Land Cruiser Diesel RHD that is 100% CA legal and Legit. That said it was a learning experience, and there is absolutely zero chance to import one directly to CA without doing things that ruin the vehicle or why you wanted it in the first place.
    You pretty much have to buy a vehicle that is already registered in another state, and it has to be over 25 years old. You very well may need the actual Dept of Homeland Security import papers.
    The NTHSB has a clause that is clearly written that vehicles over 25 years old do not have to meet any highway safety standards. I found this out from the CA Highway patrol office that I was sent to when the first trip to DMV was met with 2 people that did not know the rules or care about me whatsoever. It will help a great deal to have AAA do the vehicle inspection that is pretty much to verify the Vin and the motor type and such. That will allow you to bypass the DMV inspection which is important because none of them know RHD is legal if it is over 25 years old.
    So after being stonewalled at the DMV I went to the local Highway patrol where he stated sorry no can do until I mentioned the 25 year old part, he then said oh yes but it is dependent on the actual day of production so he said I needed the actual import papers that were signed of and stamped by homeland security that lists the production date of the vehicle (by the way most other countries do not specify a production date so it is whatever the importer puts on the papers that counts). It must be 25 years to the day or more. Went back to Highway patrol office showed him the papers, he said I do not need his inspection and showed me the NTHSB document on the 25 years thing and suggested trying a different DMV office.
    Went to a different office, 15 minutes later after a supervisor had to accept the 13 digit Vin I walked out with 100% legal plates. I have had police and Highway patrol talk to me about my rig and never once has a single one mentioned it not being legal. If you have a legal registration and plate you are legal.
     
  5. tlaporte

    tlaporte SILVER Star

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    @DVracing Out of curiosity, when did you register your vehicle?

    I had reasonably similar experience to you, but that was 10+ years ago. Word is that things are much more difficult, if not impossible, nowadays. Curious to know if your experience contradicts that "word."
     
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  6. Omoitsurugi

    Omoitsurugi

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    Hey Cait,

    We just brought ours from Rota as well I fortunately got orders to IL though. Ours was pretty straight forward, just lots of paperwork. However, IL requires proof of residency.
     
  7. LRIwater

    LRIwater SILVER Star

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    Hello Folks,
    I have an ad over in the FJ45 for sale section for my 1980 HJ45 (shameless plug: For Sale - 1980 HJ45 in San Diego LH Drive, PS PB), and tlaporte suggested that I post here to explain how I imported directly into California. This is a long story...

    I originally bought the HJ45 from a friend's neighbor up in LA back in 2015. He had the importation docs, or so I thought, along with the Costa Rican title and bill of sale. I slowly tinkered on the truck, rebuilding and fixing the transmission, re-coring the radiator, new springs, tires, fuel tank, etc, etc. Finally got it to the point where I could start thinking about getting it on the road. My original plan was to pull it to AZ and get it registered there. It was Feb of this year.

    My wife was at the DMV getting another vehicle registered, and she asked about my HJ. DMV told her "no problem", and my wife filled out most of the paperwork with my help over the phone. DMV said all I had to do was come in with the documentation and pay for it. Registration and importation fees, etc, etc, retro back to 2015 purchase date was $978. Ouch, but worth it if I could get CA plates.

    I went in with my docs, and they said I need to bring the truck in for a VIN inspection. The good part was that they said that if I wrote a statement to the fact that it has been in a shop and not on the road, they would drop the fees to $563. Nice! Since the truck wasn't quite road ready (instrument cluster and seat belts not installed), I rented a tow dolly and pulled it over to DMV. Since there was only one VIN (on the frame), they said that I needed to get a California Highway Patrol inspection. Next appointment available was in 3 weeks.

    Another rented tow dolly. After explaining the whole story and checking the one VIN on the frame, the CHP guy signed off on the forms. Ok, good to go I thought. I took all of that back to DMV, and they took everything including the title, made copies for me, and said they needed to send everything to Sacramento to HQ to verify the importation docs. Welp, ok I guess? I had heard stories of DMV HQ denying the registration and keeping the fees, but oh well, here we go.

    About 4 weeks later I got a letter saying that I needed the Customs paperwork with the U.S. Customs stamp. It turns out that the paperwork I had didn't have the customs stamp. Ugh. The paperwork I did have showed the importer's name, and I looked up their contact info. They sent me all they had, but they didn't have the Custom's stamp. They said it was filed electronically. I sent the import docs that I received back to DMV HQ and said it was filed electronically. They sent another letter 4 weeks later saying that they need the U.S. Customs stamp.

    I contacted the local U.S. Customs office, and they said that I need to bring the truck down for a VIN inspection. Oy! Another rented tow dolly... and it was downtown San Diego. That was a fun towing and parking experience... They inspected the vehicle and gave me the right form with the right U.S. Customs stamp. The form indicated that I acquired the rig in the U.S. but it did not clear Customs correctly. This form fixed that issue. I sent that to DMV HQ and got the title and plates about 4 weeks later (last week!). Yay!
     
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  8. tlaporte

    tlaporte SILVER Star

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    Awesome! Thanks so much for that write up, @LRIwater !
     
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