Information Re: Importing to the USA (2 Viewers)

  • Thread starter gilmorneau
  • Start date
  • Watchers 25
The Jade Bean

The Jade Bean

Toyota, coffee, family & project junkie.
SILVER Star
Joined
Aug 22, 2011
Messages
4,944
Location
Hurst, Texas
@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.
 
gilmorneau

gilmorneau

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 23, 2017
Messages
953
Location
Colorado
Excellent intel! Thanks for posting.
 
The Jade Bean

The Jade Bean

Toyota, coffee, family & project junkie.
SILVER Star
Joined
Aug 22, 2011
Messages
4,944
Location
Hurst, Texas
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

The Jade Bean

Toyota, coffee, family & project junkie.
SILVER Star
Joined
Aug 22, 2011
Messages
4,944
Location
Hurst, Texas
Here’s some of my import docs.
98C68986 CE60 4ADC 9A3A 3D0FEDF6B0F7
242287C4 71A7 4F0F B9B1 E7D1226B181B
7A6FCCB9 0844 42E5 91BD F316B112A351
 
bpeeps00

bpeeps00

SILVER Star
Joined
Mar 4, 2018
Messages
95
Location
Honduras
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.
 
RoninGT

RoninGT

Joined
Sep 8, 2020
Messages
26
Location
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

gilmorneau

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 23, 2017
Messages
953
Location
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

tlaporte

SILVER Star
Joined
Dec 17, 2003
Messages
951
Location
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

bpeeps00

SILVER Star
Joined
Mar 4, 2018
Messages
95
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
 
Sarajco

Sarajco

Joined
Mar 27, 2020
Messages
53
Location
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

The Jade Bean

Toyota, coffee, family & project junkie.
SILVER Star
Joined
Aug 22, 2011
Messages
4,944
Location
Hurst, Texas
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.
 
1

100er

Joined
Sep 8, 2021
Messages
3
Location
Wisconsin USA
Thank you for putting this comprehensive summary together. That must have taken up a lot of time!! This is very helpful for me, as I am starting to look how to get our family owned 2001 Land Cruiser 100 over to the US from Germany. It is the Diesel. In the Loophole chapter you mentioned that IFS Land Cruisers are on the list, and I understood that the LC 100 is on there, is this correct? This LC 100 has been in our family since day 1, and I am hoping I can get it here via the EPA 21 year rule in year 2022.
 
1

100er

Joined
Sep 8, 2021
Messages
3
Location
Wisconsin USA
Thank you for putting this comprehensive summary together. That must have taken up a lot of time!! This is very helpful for me, as I am starting to look how to get our family owned 2001 Land Cruiser 100 over to the US from Germany. It is the Diesel. In the Loophole chapter you mentioned that IFS Land Cruisers are on the list, and I understood that the LC 100 is on there, is this correct? This LC 100 has been in our family since day 1, and I am hoping I can get it here via the EPA 21 year rule in year 2022.
Actually never mind, you included also that detail. Quite impressive!! Yes, my LC 100 would be on the list. Just possibly some mods necessary to get it street legal in the US, such as adding a speedometer with Miles instead of Kilometers.
 
gilmorneau

gilmorneau

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 23, 2017
Messages
953
Location
Colorado
Yup, but there's a small catch: you wouldn't be able to handle the import yourself since the car is only 21 years old, you'd need to use the services of a Registered Importer. The RI would do all the necessary modifications to make the DOT happy.
 
1

100er

Joined
Sep 8, 2021
Messages
3
Location
Wisconsin USA
Yup, but there's a small catch: you wouldn't be able to handle the import yourself since the car is only 21 years old, you'd need to use the services of a Registered Importer. The RI would do all the necessary modifications to make the DOT happy.
I guess that makes sense, since the government wants to make sure I do the mods. Thank you for the heads up!
 
WarDamnEagle

WarDamnEagle

SILVER Star
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
5,744
Location
Riyadh and Auburn
Yup, but there's a small catch: you wouldn't be able to handle the import yourself since the car is only 21 years old, you'd need to use the services of a Registered Importer. The RI would do all the necessary modifications to make the DOT happy.
Are you sure the 100 series with a diesel engine is on the list? I recall the 100 being on there but I just assumed that was for the petrol engine. Just curious.
 
gilmorneau

gilmorneau

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 23, 2017
Messages
953
Location
Colorado
Pretty sure. "The List" is administered by the NHTSA, and pertains only to the safety features of the cars. If a car is on the list, NHTSA has determined that the car can be modified to comply with US FMVSS, usually because there's a US equivalent version. The modifications and importing need to be done through a Registered Importer, and can sometimes get expensive (depends on whether it's just mph speedo and headlights kind of stuff or if it's side impact protection kind of stuff).

Emissions, and thus what type of motor is in the car, are administered by the EPA. Totally separate arm of the government. If an import is over 21 years old, they grant an exemption to Federal Emissions standards, so as far as they're concerned, it wouldn't matter if the car is petrol or diesel. Any would-be importer will still need to comply with any local emissions requirements in their area, such as State, County, or Municipal regulations, but after it's 21 years old, the Federal government doesn't care.
 
gilmorneau

gilmorneau

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 23, 2017
Messages
953
Location
Colorado
I'm in the midst of another import that is somewhat special, so I thought I'd update this thread with some information about it. The car is a 1997 HDJ80 from Switzerland. Here it is:

Cropped


Part of what makes the import of this truck different is that it doesn't turn 25 years old until mid-2022, so I couldn't import it directly to the US*. The other thing that makes it a somewhat unique import is that it comes from Switzerland, which is not part of the EU.**

* I could have imported it through a Registered Importer, but it currently has no airbags or ABS, both of which it would likely have been necessary to add in order to meet FMVSS, along with any speedometer and lighting changes. Not sure if US market 80's of this vintage had different impact protection, but I certainly wouldn't have wanted to go there if they did. Anyway, I only need to wait six months and I can have it without the hassle or expense of a Registered Importer, so I'm just going to wait.

** If I had found the car anywhere in the EU, I’d have just bought it and stored it in Belgium until it was old enough to bring to the US, but because this car was Swiss, I couldn’t do that. As it turns out, a car from Switzerland can transit across Europe, but it needs to be immediately loaded onto a ship or otherwise exported to somewhere. It supposedly can’t stay in Europe un-imported and unregistered. It wasn’t old enough to legally come to the US, so…Canada to the rescue! While the US requires imported cars be over 25, Canada only requires them to be over 15. Thus was hatched the plan to buy the car, have it shipped to Canada, and store it until it was legal to import it to the USA.

I've kept a log of the process up to now:

September 22, 2021: Begin making arrangements with Canadian Customs Broker.

Sept 27, 2021: Customs broker sends me a contract for services/power of attorney form, plus some informational sheets on the process of importing into Canada. Customs agent obtains an importer number for me from CRA.

October 5, 2021: Customs broker sends me a “books and records” form to complete. Basically saying that I agree to keep all the paperwork regarding the import for 6 years and make it available to Canadian authorities should they choose to see it.

October 15, 2021: The car is picked up in Switzerland for delivery to the shipping port in Zeebrugge, Belgium.

October 21, 2021: Shipping company confirms booking.

October 25, 2021: Car is delivered to the port at Zeebrugge, Belgium

October 27, 2021: Canadian Customs broker requests copy of Bill of Lading, Bill of Sale, and title/registration papers

November 15, 2021: car is loaded on the MV Grand Orion for shipment to Canada. Shipping company sends me invoice, which I pay by wire transfer. Ship has left port. Also this day, I discover the possibility of obtaining a temporary permit in Canada that would allow me to drive the car on public roads for a limited time after it arrives, so I send an inquiry to an ICBC agent asking if this is applicable for me.

November 19, 2021: shipping company acknowledges receipt of payment and sends me the car’s original documents via DHL.

November 22, 2021: The car’s original title arrives via DHL from the shipping company. After stopping in Bremerhaven the ship is headed out to sea.

December 3: I receive word from the ICBC agent that it is possible for me to obtain a temporary permit to drive the car from the port to the storage facility. I’ll need to visit their office in person to obtain it prior to retrieving the car at the port. With it, I should be able to drive directly to the storage facility.

December 9, 2021: I’ve contacted a storage facility in Canada to arrange storage for the car.

December 11, 2021: Ship arrives at Panama Canal.

December 21, 2021: Arrival Notice comes today. I forward it to my Customs Broker.

December 22, 2021: Receive invoice from BC Vehicle Processing Center for terminal fees. I pay it via wire transfer.

December 23, 2021: My customs agent sends me their invoice. I pay same day using my credit card.

December 24, 2021: My customs broker asks me to confirm that the shipping line (ICO) has the telex release (of the Bill of Lading) ready as she has not yet received it. I forward the message to my contact at ICO. Don’t expect to hear anything about it until after the Christmas holiday.

December 27, 2021: Ship arrives at port of Nanaimo, BC

December 28, 2021: My car is unloaded from the ship. Receive word from my Customs Broker that the telex release is OK.

December 29, 2021: Receive word that the car has cleared Canada customs. Receive Customs clearance paperwork: Release Notification, form B3, and note from RIV that it’s a paperless import

December 31, 2021: I am contacted by the port letting me know the car is released and I can arrange to pick it up.

Jan 1, 2022: I begin setting up my ArriveCAN account, which is required now for entering Canada (this is COVID specific and anyone reading this in some post-pandemic future might not need to bother with it). Also, I contact the port at Nanaimo to schedule pick up of the car for Jan 6.

Jan 3, 2022: I receive confirmation that I have successfully submitted all necessary information to my ArriveCAN account.

Jan 5, 2022: Fly from Denver to Seattle, pick up a rental car, and drive to Vancouver BC. We get a room for the night.

Jan 6, 2022: Take the a.m. ferry to Nanaimo.

First stop is an Autoplan broker (BC auto registration and insurance office) to get an A-B permit (temporary operating permit) and 2 days’ worth of insurance so I can legally drive the car from the port to storage. Of course, the person with whom I had arranged it all had the day off, so I had to start over with someone else, but after a few calls to headquarters and some counsel from a supervisor, she got me my permit. Next stop was the port of Nanaimo, which is the most chill port I’ve ever dealt with. Super nice folks. Super smooth process.

By this time it was mid-afternoon, and darkness falls by 4:30-5:00. We still had over an hour to drive to get to the storage place, so off we went. Arrived after dark, in the snow, but found our storage unit and put the car to bed. Disconnected the batteries and did a few other things, then closed and locked the door.

IMG 9100 cropped


The car will be legal to import into the US at the end of July. I'll update again when I go get it. :bounce:
 
Njck22

Njck22

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 24, 2017
Messages
826
Location
Texas
The uni-est of unicorns. Thank you for sharing all of this information with us. Any idea where his brother wound up? I don't expect the existence any more of their kind in similar condition.
 
WarDamnEagle

WarDamnEagle

SILVER Star
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
5,744
Location
Riyadh and Auburn
* I could have imported it through a Registered Importer, but it currently has no airbags or ABS, both of which it would likely have been necessary to add in order to meet FMVSS, along with any speedometer and lighting changes. Not sure if US market 80's of this vintage had different impact protection, but I certainly wouldn't have wanted to go there if they did. Anyway, I only need to wait six months and I can have it without the hassle or expense of a Registered Importer, so I'm just going to wait.
My US 97 has air bags and ABS. Interesting that a European model didn't.

I'm just starting the process to ship my two Land Cruisers back from Saudi to the US. I asked the moving company that's handling my household goods for a quote to put them in a 40' container and couldn't believe the price, $26k. Now that was door to door service but did not include any import fees, etc. I have subsequently talked to a different logistics company and have a more reasonable $2750 per vehicle quote for RORO from Jeddah to Jacksonville. Still working on getting pricing from a couple of other companies. I was willing to pay more for a container but not that much more. I also think they are just taking advantage of the situation to some degree and it appears to be driven from the US side.
 

Similar threads

R
Replies
8
Views
927
drenmaster
drenmaster
A
Replies
11
Views
734
SugarBear
S

Users who are viewing this thread

  • gilamonster
Top Bottom