Import Cars In United States of America

Importing Cars into United States

Importing a vehicle into United States of America is almost an impossibility as it must meet various EPA and DOT regulation. While the rest of the world has standardized on Euro emission standards, United States is still mandating its own rules. An imported vehicle must meet US emission standards, crash control tests, bumper tests and US theft prevention standards or it will not be allowed in:

  • All imported motor vehicles must meet standards under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966.
  • Vehicle must also conform to bumper standards under the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act of 1972,
  • They must also meet air pollution control standards under the Clean Air Act of 1968

If a vehicle is unable to meet United States regulations, it is refused entry or is destroyed at the port of entry. Always check the latest regulations before attempting to import a vehicle.


The duty on foreign-made cars (new and used) imported into for personal use or resale is 2.5 per cent and on motorcycles 2.4 per cent. A non-resident can import a car without paying duty, although if it’s sold duty must be paid. Savings can be made when importing some cars and motorcycles, although generally it isn’t worth the time, trouble and expense involved.

More information

For further information contact the Department of Transportation, National Highway Safety Administration, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590, 202-366-0123, ) or the Environmental Protection Agency (Ariel Rios Building, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460, 202-272-0167, ) who publish an Automotive Import Facts Manual, which can be downloaded from their website. US Customs publish a pamphlet, Importing or Exporting a Car, available from the ‘Travel’ section on the US Customs and Border Protection website ( ).

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