Information Re: Importing to the USA (5 Viewers)

The Jade Bean

Hobby coffee roaster and Toyota junkie.
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@gilmorneau

Was your vehicle titled/registered in your name for the trip?
-Yes this was our Troopy while we lived in Honduras so it was in my name.

Did you need carnets for transiting each country you passed through?
-I didn’t need it for Guatemala as they are part of the CA4. I did get harassed by Guat police deep in Guat as they didn’t understand Americans driving a Cruiser and not needing a Carnet. However I basically demanded they leave us be and let us go and they did. I’m always polite until I need to be otherwise and it served me well.

At the Guat/Mexico border we did get fumigated and I did get a Carnet there.

At the Mex/US border we had a run in, but got through it. Basically here’s what happen. I did lots of reading online of what papers I needed, how many copies, etc. I had EVERYTHING. I was so excited to import I told them at the border I wanted to import and that was my problem. There were two border agents, one nice and the other a bleeping ?!%! The bleep told us we had to have a $10k bond and stay in Mex for three day and possibly drive all the way back to HND and start over. My kids were upset and my wife was crying after 3 weeks on the road and being told this and this guy was literally laughing getting off. It took everything to not punch him in the throat. The nice guy then shows up and says look the people that normally deal with this aren’t here since it’s the weekend and you seem like honest people so you can go and just do your papers at the local office in your town. In the end they didn’t even look in the Cruiser or ask us to get out.

Anyway we have since told multiple people to not say ANYTHING about importing and just only answer their questions. I’ve had two or three friends do the exact same thing with ZERO issues.

Importing at the local office was SOOOOOO EASY!!!!!

Side note, I still have my HND title and plates so there’s no reason now I couldn’t drive back and fourth and just switch plates.
 

The Jade Bean

Hobby coffee roaster and Toyota junkie.
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I was asked some other questions on another platform. “And now I know to NOT Offer any info that we’re not asked haha. You said you were on the road for three weeks- you guys stopped a lot? Did some tourist things? If so, any recommendations? And did you feel okay leaving the cruiser parked loaded up?

Also, did you have your residency back then? Once you crossed into México you got your carnet. Easy process? Did you also opt for the Mexican Insurance? I guess the border crossings can be sketchy depending on the officers.”

My answers: One of the three weeks was waiting in Mex. for a transmission seal from the US. We never did get our residency. I honestly can’t recall if we got the ins, but I don’t think so. We paid like $295 I think. It’s hard to remember. Lol. Wife says she thinks we did. Carnet was easy, just confusing what office to go in. Yes the border officer makes the difference. We only drove about 6hrs a day and stayed only at places that had locked up parking. We also stayed on the PanAm. We had our kids too so we had to stop often. At the US border it was confusing which lane to go into to get our carnet money back, but for some money a Mex. guy directed us.
 

The Jade Bean

Hobby coffee roaster and Toyota junkie.
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Here’s some of my import docs.
98C68986-CE60-4ADC-9A3A-3D0FEDF6B0F7.jpeg
242287C4-71A7-4F0F-B9B1-E7D1226B181B.jpeg
7A6FCCB9-0844-42E5-91BD-F316B112A351.jpeg
 

bpeeps00

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This is all very valuable info. I own two cruisers here in Honduras and I will be shipping my 40, and driving (to NJ) my 80. I will definitely share my experience once i start the process. Right now I am getting all paperwork in order and making copies (multiple) of all documents. If anyone can recommend a broker and open air carrier stateside, I would appreciate it. My 40 will be leaving from the north coast of Honduras and arriving in Pt Everglades, FL.
 
Joined
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Tampa, FL
@gilmorneau

Once the car has arrived, can it be driven from the port to my house, or do i need to rent a car trailer for it?
In my case it would be from Europe to Port of Miami. Then drive it to Tampa. (sorry if that was listed, and i missed it)

Great write up! I like the idea of making a trip of it to Europe (Southern France, Spain, Italy) to find the car i'm looking for and then sending it back.
 

gilmorneau

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Sep 23, 2017
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Colorado
Once the car has arrived, can it be driven from the port to my house

Short answer is yes, you can drive it home. I've done it several times. You'll need insurance, but if you have the Bill of Sale and the import paperwork, no one should bother about anything else. As with buying a car locally, you're allowed a little time to get it home and get to your local DMV to get it registered.
 

tlaporte

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Pasadena, CA
In California I was able to “pre-register” mine, since I had the paperwork and VIN information. Really, as long as I had paid the license fees, that’s what they wanted!
 

bpeeps00

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Mar 4, 2018
Messages
92
Location
Honduras
@gilmorneau

Was your vehicle titled/registered in your name for the trip?
-Yes this was our Troopy while we lived in Honduras so it was in my name.

Did you need carnets for transiting each country you passed through?
-I didn’t need it for Guatemala as they are part of the CA4. I did get harassed by Guat police deep in Guat as they didn’t understand Americans driving a Cruiser and not needing a Carnet. However I basically demanded they leave us be and let us go and they did. I’m always polite until I need to be otherwise and it served me well.

At the Guat/Mexico border we did get fumigated and I did get a Carnet there.

At the Mex/US border we had a run in, but got through it. Basically here’s what happen. I did lots of reading online of what papers I needed, how many copies, etc. I had EVERYTHING. I was so excited to import I told them at the border I wanted to import and that was my problem. There were two border agents, one nice and the other a bleeping ?!%! The bleep told us we had to have a $10k bond and stay in Mex for three day and possibly drive all the way back to HND and start over. My kids were upset and my wife was crying after 3 weeks on the road and being told this and this guy was literally laughing getting off. It took everything to not punch him in the throat. The nice guy then shows up and says look the people that normally deal with this aren’t here since it’s the weekend and you seem like honest people so you can go and just do your papers at the local office in your town. In the end they didn’t even look in the Cruiser or ask us to get out.

Anyway we have since told multiple people to not say ANYTHING about importing and just only answer their questions. I’ve had two or three friends do the exact same thing with ZERO issues.

Importing at the local office was SOOOOOO EASY!!!!!

Side note, I still have my HND title and plates so there’s no reason now I couldn’t drive back and fourth and just switch plates.
So if you still have your plates did you not do anything to stop the vehicle from generating the matrícula? You didn’t have to take it out of the system? Just wondering if I should prepare for any export documentation... thx
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2020
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Ouray, Colorado
THE PAPERWORK:

NHTSA form HS-7
. This is the form on which you declare that the vehicle you’re importing is either conforming to or exempt from US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. If your car is 25 years old or more, it will be exempt, and you check box 1 and state the manufacture date (month/year).

You’ll find the form here:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/hs7_r.v.7.pdf

There’s a video “how to” for completing the form here:



EPA form 3520-1. This is the form on which you declare that the vehicle you’re importing is either conforming to or exempt from US Federal emissions regulations. If your car is 21 years old or more, it will be exempt, and you check box “Code E”.

You’ll find the form here:


There’s a video “how to” for completing the form here:



(Neither the EPA nor the NHTSA ask you to prove that your car is exempt, BTW, only to declare it. It’s tempting to think that you could bring in any car if you just “declare” it to be exempt, and I’m sure people have tried, but declaring something to the US government when it’s not actually true is called perjury. It’s a felony.

That said, if your car gets held up in Customs for some reason, it’s possible that you may actually be asked to prove the facts you’ve declared. It’s best to know how to get some documentation. In the instance that your car gets held in Customs for any reason, it will accrue port and storage fees, and possibly fines. Unfortunately, nothing you can do about it but pay it. It’s never happened to me, and if you do everything “by the book”, ship RORO, and use a Customs broker, it’s unlikely to happen to you. )

Bill of sale. BoS should include buyer and seller names and addresses, vehicle description, year, make, and model, VIN, date of sale, sale price, and any other pertinent information. BTW, the amount you’ll pay in duty (import tax) is keyed off the amount on the Bill of Sale.

Power of Attorney. This is the form that allows a Customs Broker to legally act on your behalf in dealing with US Customs. It’s a generic legal document and samples abound on the internet if you’d like to see what one looks like. If you’re not using a Broker, obviously you wouldn’t need this.

Bill of Lading. Like an address label and tracking information. Has sender, recipient, the name of the ship, the port it’s sailing from, the destination port, description of the cargo, etc. It’s wise to confirm that all the data is correct.

Importer Security Filing. Required by US Customs (or is it Homeland Security?) for “security purposes”, it seems redundant, but they can’t live without it. Has much the same info as the BoL. This needs to be filed before cargo is loaded onto a ship headed to the USA

The Arrival Notice. As the name implies, notice of arrival. This comes with an invoice for Terminal Handling Charges (T.H.C.) and Wharfage.

Cargo Release and Delivery Order. As their names imply. You’ll need them to pick up the car at the port.

The Entry Summary, CBP form 7501. This is proof positive that your vehicle has cleared US Customs.

I’d recommend keeping a folder with printed copies of all the documents you accumulate during the process. You’ll need some of them when you pick up the car at the port, and may need some to register and title the car in your home state.
This is amazing! Exactly what we’ve been searching for- thank you for sharing! ih8mud never fails me!
 

The Jade Bean

Hobby coffee roaster and Toyota junkie.
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So if you still have your plates did you not do anything to stop the vehicle from generating the matrícula? You didn’t have to take it out of the system? Just wondering if I should prepare for any export documentation... thx
No, the matricula will continue to add up. I don’t see any issue though other than cost. When we decided to leave the country I had to pay 4 owners worth of back taxes totaling over $400. In Honduras you can pay like a min of $10 and push the taxes and you can do it through multiple owners. I didn’t even have to really pay it, but I didn’t want to have any snags so I just paid it. I still have my old card with everything in my name. Obviously the date would be off, but I don’t see any reason it wouldn’t work. The only thing I did special was have an attorney write up a letter in Spanish and English stating I officially own the Land Cruiser. Even with everything I did, no one in the US asked for any of it. It all depends on who you get when filling.
 

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