The most common used car imported from Japan to the USA are Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) cars. Import cars to the USA can be hard with all the safety regulations in the USA but not anymore. The importation volume rises after the U.S. government introduced a 25-year rule. Before the 25-year rule came into effect, it’s very difficult and costly to import a car due to safety concern regulations from EPA and DOT. After a 25-year rule in effect, cars manufactured 25 years and older now can be classified as antique vehicles, which qualifies for EPA and DOT exemption when import.
List of JDM cars
You can easily import cars over 25 years old with the current 25 years EPA and DOT exemption rule. Below are some of the list of JDM cars commonly imported.
Subaru STI RA
Nissan Skyline GT-R R32
Nissan Pulsar GTI-R
Honda EK9 Civic Type R
Nissan Silvia S15
Honda Civic Type R FK8
Nissan Skyline GT-R
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X
Honda S2000 Type S
Subaru Impreza WRX STI
Can you import a car less than 25 years old?
Yes, you still can import cars less than 25 years old if the vehicle meets EPA and DOT safety standards under the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act of 1988, the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Saving Act of 1972, and the Clean Air Act of 1968.
What if the car does not meet EPA and DOT standards?
You can’t import a car that does not meet EPA and DOT standards unless the car is under modification by Independent Commercial Importers (ICI) to meet EPA and DOT safety standards. We don’t recommend you to take on this road since the cost of modification can be very expensive.
What is USDA inspection?
You might ask why USDA has anything to do with car import. USDA inspection is to make sure that all goods imported to the USA do not contain dangerous pests that will affect the U.S. environment. So, make sure the car is fully clean before import.
What is the duty for import cars from Japan to the USA?
Imported car whether the cars are new or used, personal use or for resale; CBP will collect 2.5% of the commercial value of the car. Also, miscellaneous fees such as Merchandise Process Fee (MPF) at 0.3464% and Harbor Maintenance Fee at 0.125%.
List of documents for customs clearance.
Bill of lading – shipping documents from exporter
Commercial invoice – the value of the car
Car registration – proof of ownership
What do you do after the car cleared customs?
Buy car insurance if are driving the car when picking it up from the warehouse.
Register you can with local DMV and provide proof of customs clearance, car registration.
Pick up your car from the warehouse (please note there might be a warehouse handling fee occur).
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