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How To Import Cars Into The USA | A-1 Auto Transport

What's in this article?
  1. A-1 Guide To Importing Cars Into The Usa
  2. Emission Standards
  3. Department Of Transportation Standards
  4. Country Specific Import Restrictions
  5. Usa Vehicle Import Resources
Importing A Vehicle Into The USA

A-1 Guide To Importing Cars Into The USA

There are two important consideration when importing a car into the U.S.: emission standards and vehicle conformity (“safety” might be a better way to describe conformity for these purposes).

Emission standards are dictated by the Environmental Protection Agency and conformity is overseen by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Here’s a little more about each of them as it pertains to importing a vehicle.

Emission Standards

If a car is brought into the U.S. for permanent usage, you will need to get a certification from the E.P.A. that it complies with emission standards. Most cars manufactured outside of the USA do not have a label of compliance, which indicates that it meets EPA standards (some may—check around the driver side door or contact the manufacturer).

If you are importing a car into the US for permanent usage, you will have to fix any issues regarding emissions, safety, or functionality of the vehicle before getting clearance. Generally, the period given in which to make the necessary repairs is one month.

Import A Cars

Department of Transportation Standards

Just like imported cars must passed muster with the E.P.A. in regard to hazardous emissions, they also need to meet standards established by the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This test looks at basic components of the vehicle, checking that seat belts, wipers, head lights and other necessary safety measures are in place and working.

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Country Specific Import Restrictions

Cars and other goods may not be imported from certain countries, such as Iran and Cuba, so make sure to check with the Office of Foreign Assets Control to see which countries are currently prohibited (see below under resources for more information).

Any vehicle imported into the U.S. must have a clean title and pay a duty, which is generally around 2.5% of the value of the vehicle, though there are some exceptions.

Planning Or Considering Shipping A Car

Call us today at the number at the top of the page if you’re planning or considering shipping a car to the U.S. from another country! Our international shipping and import staff are on hand to answer your questions and offer advice 24 hours a day! Contact us today to learn more, or if you’d like a FREE cost estimate!

USA Vehicle Import Resources

NHTSA Vehicle Import Certification - Information about which types of vehicles may be imported, as well as import certification guidelines. This is a great place to look if you need to know more about meeting U.S. standards for vehicles.

Sanction Programs By Country - A current listing of the countries that the U.S. has sanctions against, many of which prohibit the import of goods, which includes vehicles. Vehicles from countries with sanctions against them may also not be brought into the country through a third party or another country.

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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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