I?m going to give you an overview of how to import your car and some
agencies you should contact for more information.
You need to set up a way to ship the vehicle. You need to know the
arrival date so Customs can clear the car for entry into the US.
?Shipments are cleared at the first port of entry unless you arrange
for a freight forwarder abroad to have the vehicle sent in bond to a
Customs port more convenient to you.?
You will need the Shipper or carrier?s original Bill of Lading, the
Bill of Sale, the Foreign Registration, and any other documents
pertaining to the vehicle. You also need written prior approval from
the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Prior approval can come in
the form of an approval letter from the EPA, or a manufacturer's label
in the English language affixed to the car, stating that the vehicle
meets all U.S. emission requirements
You can also use a ICI (Independent Commercial Importer). ICIs can
only import certain types of vehicles, however, and in general, their
fees are very high. I would only recommend this if you?re REALLY
unsure of doing this on your own and can afford it.
(DOT Standards ? DOT = Department of Transportation)
(Plates and permits information)
If Austria has ratified the Convention on International Road Traffic
of 1949, you can drive in the US for one year with your own National
License Plates and with your driver?s license from Austria. Otherwise,
you?ll need to go to the Licensing Center in the state you move to and
take the test in order to be able to drive the car you import into the
You will need to have your undercarriage cleaned before importing your
car into the US. This is a Dept. of Agriculture Requirement.
You can not ship anything inside the car.
You may be taxed on entry of the car. The average rate is 2.5 % of the
value of the car on the bill of sale. HOWEVER, ?NONRESIDENTS may
import a vehicle duty-free (tax free) for personal use if the vehicle
is imported in conjunction with the owner's arrival? Conforming
vehicles imported under the duty-free exemption are dutiable if sold
within one year of importation.?
You must meet safety and bumper standards set by the DOT. You must
file DOT HS-7 ( http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import/hs799short.pdf
) at the time of entry. ?Vehicles that do not bear a certification
label attached by the original manufacturer must be entered as a
nonconforming vehicle under a DOT bond for one and a half times the
vehicle's dutiable value. This is in addition to the regular Customs
You should speak with a DOT Registered Importer (RI) to make sure you
car meets these standards and is eligible for importation.
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import/RiHT0012.html (List of RI?s)
?DOT requires that the vehicle model and model year must, prior to
entry, be determined eligible for importation. A DOT RI can advise you
whether your vehicle is eligible; if it is not, the RI can submit a
petition in your behalf to have your vehicle considered for
eligibility, if you so desire. Understand, however, that fees must be
paid at the time such petitions are filed.?
You may be subject to the Gas-guzzler tax. The amount of the tax is
based up on a combined city/highway Miles per gallon rating assigned
by the EPA. If the EPA has not assigned rating for the car you want to
import, a rating must be independently determined. 22.5 miles per
gallon is the magic number where you do not get taxed. It would be
wise to see if your combined MPG on the car you would like to import
is above that number to avoid the tax.
You must meet emission standards. You may want to find out the state?s
emission standards before you decide to import the vehicle and make
sure your car meets those standards or your willing to pay to have it
converted. You must meet the state and EPA standards both.
?Beginning with the 1974 model year, vehicles that were originally
manufactured to meet U.S. emission requirements, if driven outside the
United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Taiwan or the Bahama
Islands, may be required to have their oxygen sensor and/or catalytic
converter replaced. You may import your U.S.-version vehicle under a
Customs bond and have any qualified mechanic perform the necessary
work. You should contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
directly for detailed requirements and options before shipping your
http://www.epa.gov/otaq/index.htm (EPA website regarding this topic)
Ask for a copy of the Automotive Imports Facts Manual(order
#EPA420B94006), which describes emission requirements for imported
Fax (202) 565-2057
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Manufacturers Operations Division 6405-J, Investigation/Imports Section
401 M Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460.
*****Both the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) advise that although a nonconforming car may
be conditionally admitted, the modifications required to bring it into
compliance may be so extensive and costly that it may be impractical
and even impossible to achieve such compliance. Moreover, some vehicle
models are prohibited from importation. It is highly recommended that
these prohibitions and modifications be investigated before a vehicle
is purchased for importation.*****
There are some exceptions:
The following vehicles need not conform to emission or safety
requirements but may NOT be sold in the U.S. and may require EPA and
? Those imported by nonresidents for personal use not exceeding one
year. The vehicle must be exported at the end of that year-no
exceptions or extensions.
? Those belonging to members of foreign armed forces, foreign
diplomatic personnel, and members of public international
organizations on assignment in the U.S. for whom free entry has been
authorized by the Department of State.
? Those temporarily imported for research, demonstration, or
competition, provided they are not licensed for use, or driven, on
public roads. Parties responsible for such vehicles must submit proper
documents-that is, forms EPA 3520-1 and DOT HS-7 to Customs at the
time entry is made. Also, applicable written approvals from these
agencies must be obtained in advance and presented to Customs along
with these forms. Remember, the cost to return vehicles that have been
refused prior approval can be very high and must be borne by the
Please look at the bottom the website this information is from for
more valuable information, links and addresses.
http://www.usembassy-vienna.at/consulate/ (Austrian Consulate/Embassy)
U.S. Customs Service
Washington, DC 20229
Telephone (202) 927-6724
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import/ (DOT Import Website)
Telephone: (202) 366-5313
Fax: (202) 366-1024
U.S. Department of Transportation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Director of the Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance (NEF-32)
400 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20590
(All information quoted or included in this answer is from this
website about ?Importing Your Car Into the US?.)
Import a car into the US
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