Import process from England to USA (1 Viewer)

Jul 18, 2018
Southern California
I have been documenting my import process for a friend and though i would post it here incase anyone found some useful tidbits. A lot of stuff particular to importing from GBP to JAX, USA on hoegh autoliners, but i wanted to document it all before i forgot it. Probably lots of typos and i had trouble with the formatting after copying from an email...

Below are some useful documents and links...
USA Car Shipping Guide
Importing a LandCruiser from Overseas | Toyota Parts Center Blog
Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Shipping A Car To The U.S.
Here Are The Four Legal Ways To Import A Car To The United States Vehicles - Nugent.pdf
Importing classic or antique vehicles / cars for personal use
Requirements for importing a vehicle / vehicle parts
Registering a foreign registered vehicle, car or motorcycle in the U.S. with the Department of Motor Vehicles
Import Regulations
Our Car Sourcing, Shipping and Export Services - Car Exporters UK

  • Find Car
  • Inspect
    • If possible send to reputable mechanic or dealer
    • run vehicle history and check for liens (important in england since they don't use titles)
  • Purchase
    • make sure you get a proper Bill of sale and foreign registration cert.
    • check with our state to see what docs are reqd for registration and what exactly needs to be on the Bill of sale
    • they don't have titles in england so the V5 and bill of sale are you only documentation
    • Try to avoid the high bank fees for wiring money (they either get you through an excessive fee or a bad exchange rate)
      • Best Ways to Send Money Internationally - NerdWallet
      • If they have a US bank account the cheapest method i found was to: go to my local bank of america and provide a routing / account # / amount ask them to transfer the funds (can't remember what this was called, but there were no fees involved. this will probably only work for paying the import fees or destination charges
  • Arrange export service and schedule ocean freight shipping
    • use export agent: for this and possible the above steps
    • export documents are taken care of by export agent and should require you to do anything
    • MAKE SURE THEY USE A "TELEX BILL OF LADING", otherwise you will be issued a physical document which the exporter will mail you, and then you will have to mail it to the shipping line before you can pickup the vehicle.
    • MAKE SURE THAT THE IMPORT AGENT is LISTED ON THE Bill of Lading as the "NOTIFY PARTY". Otherwise they will not receive the arrival notice.
    • Many of the issues i had were related to how the shipment was setup (physical bill of lading vs telex, incorrect name on bill of lading, import agent not listed as notify party). I was able to clear these up either through the help of the export agent or by directly calling the US office of the ocean liner (they were very helpful). if you use Hoegh into JAX, i spoke with Kirk (904-720-1356)
    • Consider insurance for the ocean freight shipment (i did not buy this, but you are taking a risk in the case that something bad happens while sailing over. Not sure who to contact, maybe the ocean liner)
  • Setup customs documents and work with US import agent
    • For west coast ports you can use: Priority Import Export Services, 11222 La Cienega Blvd #400, Inglewood, CA 90304
    • For east coast ports use: Pride International Inc. 2200 Broening Highway Ste 230, Baltimore MD 21224
    • Get estimates of total cost and fees
    • Regarding Bonds, i was not required to purchase one because the vehicle was for personal use and was my first import. If a bond is required the import agent should be able to help.

  • The import agent will eventually need:
    • Ø Completed and signed Customs Power of Attorney (attached)
      Ø Completed and signed EPA & DOT forms (attached)
      Ø Legible copy of your Title and Registration
      Ø Legible copy of your Passport and Visa or Driver’s License
      Ø Bill of Sale
      Ø Copy of the Ocean Bill of Lading once the vehicle has shipped
      Ø Type of fuel the vehicle uses:
      Ø Cylinder capacity of the vehicle:
    • At least 48 hours before the vehicle is loaded on the vessel overseas, an Importer Security Filing (ISF) must be done. The import agent can handle this filing on your behalf. Required Information (See ISF TRASMITTAL HOUSEHOLD GOODS.doc):
      • Importer of Record SSN and DOB
      • Seller Name and Address (Same as on Registration Document)
      • Buyer Name and Address
      • Bill of Lading from Exporter/Shipper
      • Import agent will need completed and signed Customs Power of Attorney to complete the filing.
  • Transport to the local port
    • vehicle mush be cleaned properly so that it passes ag inspection (all vehicles shipped into jax get held up by this)
    • for Ro-Ro, vehicle must run/start well and not have mechanical issues. At best they will jump start... not sure what happens if they can't get it started.
  • Wait / monitor shipment
    • you can track the ship via AIS... search the vessel name in google, then click on marinetraffic website ex:
    • An arrival notice is generally issued 4 days prior to vessel arriving into the U.S. at that time customs entry can be processed. Once customs is released, the vessel arrives into Jax and the car is made available for pickup is the cargo ready. If there are any kind of customs holds that can delay the process. We will not have an idea of a pickup date until the vessel actually arrives.
  • Submit remaining paper to import agent (prior to receiving arrival notice)
    • Customs power of attorney
    • Bill of Lading
      • you will have already sent the bill of lading and power of attorney in order to file the ISF
    • Bill of Sale and Invoice from Export agent (They really only need the invoice from the export agent)
    • Foreign registration documentation (V5) and any documentation proving vehicle age is >25 years
      • if the V5 registration date is >25 years it will do. because my 80 was imported to england from japan, it showed a 1st registration of 2004. For this reason i also sent along a car history report from Japan
    • Copy of your Drivers License
    • EPA form 3520-1 signed
    • DOT form hs799short
      • The EPA and DOT forms were confusing to fill out. Take a look at my attached documents and ask the import agent if you have questions.
    • Fuel type and cylinder capacity
  • Receive arrival notice (see my attached for example), pay the shipping line the destination charges
    • The import agent will offer to pay the destination charges and add them to their costs, but they will add a large fee (i didn't realize this until it was too late). So be sure to ask the shipping line for their routing/account # directly and send them the destination charges directly
    • Shipping line destination charges will be on the arrival notice
  • Import agent processes customs entry, Pay the Import agent their fees, and the shipping line the destination charges
    • The either don't take credit cards or if they do will charge excessive fees, so use the method i mentioned before
      • go to local bank of america and provide the routing / account # / amount ask them to transfer the funds
  • Receive notice from import agent that they have been notified of:
    • Customs release
    • Ag Inspection (if flagged)
      • If going through Jax, you will likely encounter a Ag inspection hold, hopefully it was cleaned well. Inspections are flagged at random. They will be checking the tire, and under carriage of the car for foreign dirt.
    • Telex release has been processed by shipping line
      • The telex release was simply an email from one person at Hoegh to some others along with the export agent cc'd see below
if a paper bill of lading was issued rather than a telex you will have received the original physical bill of lading from the export agent, and then have mailed the physical bill of lading to the shipping line. If it gets lost by the courier it will be a real hassle.
    • Import agent notifies you of full release (above), provide them with name person picking up vehicle and address to send original documents
      • EPA and DOT import documents along with foreign registration V5 and Bill of sale will be required to register in your state.
      • Make sure you do your homework before hand on what is required for title/registration where you reside.
        • Taxes/fees can add up. Some states charge tax based on estimated value rather than bill of sale cost.
        • Bill of sale should have everything reqd by your state... take a look at my attached template.
        • Time line required for registering (in GA it is 30 days from the date on the Bill of sale)
        • Temporary tags for driving home from port??
    • Setup TWIC escort and Pickup vehicle
      • Check arrival notice and/or import agent for pickup location
      • Pay attention to how many days they will store the vehicle for free (10 business days in Jacksonville)
      • Unless you are active military, you will need to pay for TWIC escort. For Jax Call 904-757-5055 to schedule TWIC escort.
        • It cost 75$ cash or check only.
        • They were only open for pickup M-F 8-3pm.
    • Take your checkbook and large stack of paper to DMV and be prepared for multiple visits and/or inspections
    • Enjoy your new truck!


  • HoeghArrivalNotice.pdf
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  • hs799short_template.pdf
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  • 3520-1_template.pdf
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  • BillofSale_template.pdf
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Jul 18, 2018
Southern California
Thanks for the write up! What'd ya have imported?

1991 HDJ81... It's a JDM 80 series that was previously imported to the UK in 2004. Low miles and mostly afflicted with minor issues due to sitting for a while. No lockers :( but it's my first cruiser and i am very happy with it. Been meaning to start a build thread but with a 3 yo and 2 mo i can't seem to find much time lately.
Nov 24, 2014
Traffic Land
Saw this Jeep today and talked to the owner.
She said her mom brought it over from UK.

I really don't know what to say about it and how it got registered here.
RHD too. That's what started the conversation.




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