Well Said..Wow! Although I have made myself familiar over the last few years with most of this information, that is a very helpful, well written and comprehensive summary of the subject worthy of submission as a graduate level English essay. Thanks for that obviously considerable effort and for sharing.
Are there any issues importing vehicles where VIN numbers don’t match what’s in the vehicle?For example importing a land cruiser with an engine swap.I know that’s a lot of reading, but I tried to include anything pertinent that might be useful as reference. If there’s some glaring omission, please let me know and I’ll try to address it. Otherwise, I hope this proves useful for anyone interested in owning a foreign-market vehicle.
If you are from East Coast, New Jersey, try contacting a trustable logistics company to help you with Import in your city.Does anyone have any experience exporting from Costa Rica to the USA? I am down here now and trying to get a truck back. Any customs contacts/companies in the US would be much appreciated. Trying to figure this all out now.
wondering if driving it may be easier versus risking getting stuck in ports. Besides the danger factor of driving through Central America/Mexico., has anyone heard of the ability to do this? I’d like to just get it into the US then try to deal with the registering/customs situation.
I’d like to just get it into the US then try to deal with the registering/customs situation.
Unfortunately, "getting it into the US" necessarily means dealing with the "Customs situation". You can't just cross the border into the USA with any old car, and tell them at the border "I'll deal with clearing it through Customs later". They just don't work that way. The good news is, if you can get it to the border, you can clear it through Customs yourself. There's some bureaucracy, but it's doable. Mostly the same procedure as outlined in this thread.
If you're a US citizen, traveling in Costa Rica, and want to buy a truck and drive it back to the USA, it's a little more complicated. To drive it back, you'd probably need a carnet for each country you pass through. Relatively easy if it's your truck (registered to you in CR), but I'm not sure how you'd get the paperwork for transiting no less than 4 countries with a truck that's not registered to you. Never tried it.
As much as I'm all for an adventure, your easiest method to get it back to the USA would probably be to ship it, rather than drive it. Put it in a container and ship it to Newark. Then have a US-based Customs Broker clear it through for you so you can pick it up at the port.
Ironically, once it's yours and legally registered in the USA, you'd have no trouble at all driving it back to Costa Rica.
Some info and contacts you might find useful are here:
Wouldn't that be epic? I know there's a lot of hypothetical trips that people try to put together to fly down, purchase a vehicle, and drive it back. Most are thinking of an epic adventure and others for the chance of owning a sweet land cruiser or something not available in the US. I'm...forum.ih8mud.com
Exactly. We drove right over the Mexico border and imported locally in 2017. A friend did the same thing a year later and another friend two years later. I never did the fumigation thing. I did have a run in with a border agent, but the guy was just being a jerk and we got through it.This is not correct. Thousands of Mexicans do it every single day.
You are not required to deal with import at any land border. You are required to have insurance on USA roads. You can do your import at any Customs office. We have one here in Boise, Idaho that did the import for me on a Canadian Cruiser. @The Jade Bean did his in Texas at his local Customs office vs at the border when he crossed.
Also I didn’t read the whole thread, most is copy and pasted from federal websites. I don’t see mention of having the vehicle clean at time of import, this is required by law. You are also not supposed to have leaking fluids, old wood or organic materials on or in the vehicle. This does not seem enforced by what some people seem to be importing. I myself have presented proof of fumigation on more than one import though.
I think we're maybe talking about different things. Of course thousands of Mexicans cross the border with their vehicles every day, but I don't think they're all intending to import those cars permanently into the USA as @Ksalamander89 is.This is not correct. Thousands of Mexicans do it every single day.
Good to know. My experience is with importing via shipping ports, not overland, so I'm interested to know more about this. I understand that this would be true if the vehicle is registered in your name (in another country), but does the same hold true if you're transporting a car into the US with only a Bill of Sale? My assumption was that @Ksalamander89 is a US resident, traveling in Costa Rica, where he has found a car to buy and would like to drive it back home to the USA and import it permanently. Would he need to register it in his name in CR before making the trip?You are not required to deal with import at any land border.
A US Department of Agriculture requirement. I'll edit some of the above posts to reflect this.I don’t see mention of having the vehicle clean at time of import, this is required by law.
I've never had US Customs look for soil on a car, or even mention it, and have been surprised by how lax their enforcement on this can be. That said, owing to a recent bad experience with this issue, while I'm no longer importing cars, you can bet I'll be powerwashing the living sh*t out any future potential sales.This does not seem enforced by what some people seem to be importing.
I myself have presented proof of fumigation on more than one import though.