Importing a vehicle into the US can be difficult, and it’s important to check if your vehicle meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) before proceeding.
Importing a vehicle for personal use
If you’re importing a vehicle because you are moving to the US you do not need a customs broker and can import for personal use. You are still required to meet DOT and EPA requirements below.
* If you think your vehicle is compliant to the (EPA) and (DOT) standards, but it doesn’t have the correct stickers, double check with the manufacturer. They may be able to give you a compliance letter that states your vehicle was manufactured to correct US standards.
Importing a vehicle for business
If you are importing a vehicle for any other reason you are required to use a customs broker and meet the EPA and DOT requirements below.
Meeting DOT and EPA requirements
To import your vehicle into the US, it must meet the requirements of two federal agencies covered under FMVSS:
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- The Department of Transportation (DOT).
If your car is over 25 years old, you’re in luck — most cars can be imported into the US once they reach the age of 25.
If you have a right-hand drive car check with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 1-888-327-4236. Make sure there are no special requirements before you proceed.
To meet EPA requirements, your vehicle must have an emission label. Find the label under the hood or in the engine compartment, see below for an example:
OR the manufacturer can write a compliance letter stating the vehicle meets all EPA requirements. The EPA will only accept letters from US or Canadian manufacturers.
You can find your DOT sticker on the driver’s side door of your car. Check for the text: “This vehicle conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety and theft prevention standards…”. See below for an example of what your sticker should look like:
- Remove vehicle recalls
- Update speedometer to miles per hour (MPH)
If my car does not meet these requirements
There are still options for those who wish to import but do not meet all of the requirements. A Registered Importer (RI) can make appropriate improvements to your vehicle to bring it into compliance with all US requirements before importing. Give us a call and we’ll make sure you get to the right person to help you import your vehicle!