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Importing MX Plated Car INTO the U.S.?


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I have read some of the U.S. government postings on what is required, some of the fees.

Does anyone know a suggested contact, or border crossover point, or agent to facilitate the processing of the car into the U.S.?

Anyone familiar with this?

Thank you.

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It is next to impossible to import a car from Mexico into the US permanently.  If you do want to try this you would first have to check to see if that exact vehicle make and model was also sold in the US at that time and if it was, certify that it has all of the same safety and pollution equipment that was installed on the US market vehicle in order to meet all of the US safety regulations that were in effect at that time.  Probably not worth the hassle.  Used vehicles also have a lower resale value in the US than what they have here so you are better off financially to sell what you have here and buy something similar in the US.

One exception to the above is if the vehicle is greater than 25 yrs. old, you can then import it into the US as a classic or antique but you will need to know the specific laws of the state in which you want to register it.

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southland, the quickest way to determine if 'your' vehicle can even get to first base being imported from Mexico (anywhere, actually!) is to look under the hood. IF there IS an EPA Emissions Sticker there, that is a good first step. If not, quit right there as you won't get any farther no matter what you do. Second, if there is an EPA sticker there, look at the driver's side door jamb to see if there is a sticker/placard either from the DOT or the Manufacturer and it will have to have these words: "This vehicle conforms to all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety and Theft Standards in affect on the date of manufacture". If it DOES have that sticker/placard you are getting closer. If not, QED.

If you vehicle meets these first two requirements, let me know and I'll provide you with more info and a contact with the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) division of the Homeland Security Department.

P.S.  I have imported cars into the US recently.... Canadian but at the Mexican/US border but I've not seen (at least) an 'older' Mexican vehicle that met the above tests.

P.P.S.  I am assuming that your "Mexican plated car" means that it was built in Mexico (or somewhere else) for sale in Mexican and NOT a former US/Canadian vehicle that was officially Exported from the US and Imported into Mexico. If the latter, the process is easier. I have done that also.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks RickS. Maybe the below is a better orientation about the vehicle.

Canada manufacturing assembles the luxury brands of Lexus and Acura.

Mexico Acura imports directly from Canada, not from the U.S.

The U.S. also imports Acura from Canada.

I can't imagine a Canada assembled Acura exported to Mexico not meeting vehicle safety standards of the U.S.

It was $50,000 usd when new.

Of course, it does not and would not have EPA stickers or U.S. conforming statements on it because it never went to the U.S. in the first place.

That does not mean it would not qualify; in fact, it exceeds some U.S. safety and emissions standards, for example having full-time running lights.

Anyway, my question was for help to find a broker at the border.

That broker might be able to tell me if an Acura, originally sold in Mexico and originally imported to the Mexican agency from Canada, is importable into the U.S.

I'm not too good at the PM function or I'd send this to you directly.

Thanks for any help.

 

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" Of course, it does not and would not have EPA stickers or U.S. conforming statements on it because it never went to the U.S. in the first place. AND I can't imagine a Canada assembled Acura exported to Mexico not meeting vehicle safety standards of the U.S."

You may be trying to apply 'logic' to manufacturing practices and standards, and using 'assumptions' as fact. That can get one into trouble fast.

After recently importing 2 vehicles into the US, both from Canada and Mexico, what I can tell you is that you will not get to first base with a personal Import into the US if it doesn't have those EPA and DOT stickers. I've researched this quite extensively and talked both to CBP Washington DC and agents at the border who are doing the actual Import inspections. My guess is that IF the Acura was indeed manufactured with all the "equipment" to meet or "exceeds some U.S. safety and emissions standards" as you say, it WILL have that EPA Emissions sticker under the hood and the DOT placard on the driver's doorjamb no matter where it is destined to be sold. If they are going to go to the expense of putting all that equipment on the Acura they are going to put the stickers on it.

A normal 'broker' does not generally deal in importing vehicles into the US from Mexico, and the US only deals with a set 'few' DOT-registered Importers (RI) companies if one wishes to try and import from Mexico. I will see if I can find that list again (as I was importing personally, I did not have to use a broker but 'could have' if I wanted to pay them a big  fee and was not interested in wading through that bureaucracy myself, which I was and did).

BTW, one must be a US citizen to import a vehicle into the US.....

This is a link to the CBP website that discusses Importing into the US. Do not assume that, just because a vehicle was manufactured in Canada for the Mexican market, it meets Canadian standards. https://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/importing-car

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks RickS. I do see what you mean about assumptions and take that advisement about logic not coinciding with government laws and regulations.

I will look again under the hood, but I am afraid this vehicle, though it is a premium class, and will meet all U.S. standards, probably will not have those DOT or EPA Emissions stickers.

Thank you for your insights into the process of importing vehicles into the U.S.

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About half way down on this page is information. http://www.soniadiaz.mx/vehicles.html

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16 hours ago, southland said:

Thanks RickS. I do see what you mean about assumptions and take that advisement about logic not coinciding with government laws and regulations.

I will look again under the hood, but I am afraid this vehicle, though it is a premium class, and will meet all U.S. standards, probably will not have those DOT or EPA Emissions stickers.

Thank you for your insights into the process of importing vehicles into the U.S.

Why bother asking such a specific question on here..  Go right to the people who make the decisions. I have no personal knowledge of US regulations, I have imported vehicles into Canada.

In Canada if you call the Ministry of Imported Vehicles give them the make model and VIN number they will tell you right then yes or no, if it's a yes they will send you a   Import package which will contain all of the relevant Infomation and forms needed to import the vehicle. 

I would think there would be a similar thing in the US

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  • 2 weeks later...
37 minutes ago, southland said:

 

That is a good suggestion, TelsZ4. I have emailed the CBP and submitted the serial number, make, model, year.

I will report back what CBP tells me.

https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/218/~/requirements-for-importing-a-vehicle-%2F-vehicle-parts

Good move they are the only ones that can give you the RIGHT answer...

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Thank you for your inquiry. If the vehicle was manufactured for sale outside of the U.S. and does not have a U.S. EPA label in English, then it is a nonconforming vehicle (not manufactured to U.S. Federal emission standards). The vehicle will need to be modified, tested and certified by an Independent Commercial Importer (ICI). Or, if you can obtain a letter of conformity from the manufacturers U.S. Representative (http://www2.epa.gov/importing-vehicles-and-engines/light-duty-vehicle-and-motorcycle-manufacturers-us-representatives) stating that the vehicle was manufactured to comply with the U.S. EPA Federal emission standards.

 

U.S. version vehicles are vehicles that were: (1) manufactured in conformity with Federal emission requirements, (2) manufactured in accordance with a specific EPA certificate of conformity, and (3) manufactured with a U.S. emissions compliance label in the engine compartment that identifies them in the English language as conforming to all EPA requirements. Many U.S. version cars and light-duty trucks built since the mid-1970s and almost all U.S. version cars and light-duty trucks built since 1980 were originally manufactured with a catalytic converter and/or oxygen sensor.

Not all vehicles equipped with catalytic converters are certified U.S. version vehicles. For example, virtually all catalyst equipped vehicles marketed by manufacturers for sale in Europe are not certified U.S. versions. For a vehicle to be eligible for importation as a U.S. version vehicle, it must have a manufacturer-equipped EPA emissions label in the English language in the engine compartment (or on the frame of a motorcycle, or on the block of a heavy-duty engine), or it must be accompanied by a letter from the U.S. representative of the manufacturer that states the vehicle was originally manufactured to be a U.S. certified version or subsequently converted to conform to EPA requirements. Otherwise, the vehicle will be considered by EPA to be a non-U.S. version vehicle.

The regulations governing EPA's program for importing non-U.S. version vehicles were originally provided for in 1972 in the Clean Air Act (Act). These regulations ensure that all imported vehicles are brought into conformity with applicable emission standards. Section 203 of the Act prohibits importing any motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine not covered by a certificate of conformity unless it is exempted by EPA or otherwise authorized jointly by EPA and Customs.

The authority to allow the importation of nonconforming vehicles is discretionary with EPA and Customs. Customs will not permit admission of your vehicle until both emission (EPA) and safety (Department of Transportation) requirements for conditional admission are met, as well as all other Federal requirements. For a non-U.S. version vehicle to enter the U.S., it must be imported by either an individual who has a written letter of exemption from EPA, or by an Independent Commercial Importer (ICI), who is a private business in the U.S. that holds a valid EPA certificate of conformity. The ICI will modify and test the vehicle, as applicable, to meet the EPA emission requirements. 

 Independent Commercial Importers import vehicles into the U.S. for modification and testing purposes so that the vehicles, upon final admission by EPA, comply with Federal emission requirements. Whether a vehicle may be imported depends on several factors, including the year in which the vehicle will be imported and the qualifications of the ICI. First, eligibility varies from year to year depending upon the age of the vehicle. A vehicle's age is determined by subtracting the calendar year in which it was originally manufactured from the calendar year of importation. For example, a European manufactured vehicle built in 1986 and imported into the U.S. in 1996 would be ten years old. Second, the ICI has to have a currently valid certificate of conformity, and if the vehicle's age is less than six years old, the ICI must have a currently valid certificate of conformity for a vehicle specifically like yours (i.e. same make, model, model year, and engine).

Before making any purchase or shipping arrangements, you should be sure that there is an ICI who is eligible to import your vehicle and willing to import your vehicle and that you are prepared to pay the ICI charges. Vehicles required to be imported by ICIs must be entered through Customs by the ICI, not the vehicle owner, and must not be given to the vehicle owner until after the vehicle has met all EPA requirements and has been finally admitted by EPA. http://www2.epa.gov/importing-vehicles-and-engines/list-independent-commercial-importers-icis

 

Please visit our web site for a list of ICIs to contact if your vehicle is a nonconforming vehicle. You can also find more information on the importation on motor vehicles on our web site (http://www2.epa.gov/importing-vehicles-and-engines). Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions or concerns.

 

NON-CONFORMING (NON-U.S. VERSION) VEHICLES

·         EPA strongly recommends that prospective importers buy only U. S. version (labeled) vehicles, because of the expense and potential difficulties involved with importing a non-U.S. version vehicle.

·         EPA strongly recommends that current owners of non-U.S. version vehicles sell or otherwise dispose of those vehicles overseas rather than ship and import them into the U.S., because of the expense and potential difficulties involved with importing a non-U.S. version vehicle.

·         The EPA policy which permitted importers a one-time exemption for vehicles at least five years old has been eliminated.

·         Before shipping a non-conforming vehicle for importation, EPA strongly recommends that the importer either make final arrangements with an ICI for modifications and testing, or obtain EPA approval in writing for importation. Storage fees at the ports are costly, and the vehicle may not be eligible for importation.

·         Not all non-conforming vehicles are eligible for importation, and ICIs are not required to accept vehicles for which they have qualifying certificates of conformity.

·         EPA certification of ICIs does not guarantee the actions or work of the ICIs, nor does it regulate contractual agreements and working relationships with vehicle owners.

You will also need to contact the Department of Transportation (DOT) at 202-366-5291 or www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import/ for the DOT (safety) import regulations.

David C. Hurlin

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  • 1 year later...

I own a 1965 Volkswagen Beetle.  Purchased and registered in Mexico. I would like to import the car to Texas.  I understand that carś over 25 years old are considered classics and have different import rules.  

On 7/1/2017 at 1:19 PM, RickS said:

" Of course, it does not and would not have EPA stickers or U.S. conforming statements on it because it never went to the U.S. in the first place. AND I can't imagine a Canada assembled Acura exported to Mexico not meeting vehicle safety standards of the U.S."

You may be trying to apply 'logic' to manufacturing practices and standards, and using 'assumptions' as fact. That can get one into trouble fast.

After recently importing 2 vehicles into the US, both from Canada and Mexico, what I can tell you is that you will not get to first base with a personal Import into the US if it doesn't have those EPA and DOT stickers. I've researched this quite extensively and talked both to CBP Washington DC and agents at the border who are doing the actual Import inspections. My guess is that IF the Acura was indeed manufactured with all the "equipment" to meet or "exceeds some U.S. safety and emissions standards" as you say, it WILL have that EPA Emissions sticker under the hood and the DOT placard on the driver's doorjamb no matter where it is destined to be sold. If they are going to go to the expense of putting all that equipment on the Acura they are going to put the stickers on it.

A normal 'broker' does not generally deal in importing vehicles into the US from Mexico, and the US only deals with a set 'few' DOT-registered Importers (RI) companies if one wishes to try and import from Mexico. I will see if I can find that list again (as I was importing personally, I did not have to use a broker but 'could have' if I wanted to pay them a big  fee and was not interested in wading through that bureaucracy myself, which I was and did).

BTW, one must be a US citizen to import a vehicle into the US.....

This is a link to the CBP website that discusses Importing into the US. Do not assume that, just because a vehicle was manufactured in Canada for the Mexican market, it meets Canadian standards. https://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/importing-car

 

 

I own a 1964 volkswagen Beetle. Purchase and registered in Mexico. I would like to import it to Texas. I understand that for Cars older than 25 years, itś considered a classic and the rules are different. Hopefully easier. I´m pretty sure that it does not have the EPA sticker that you mentioned. I have a great mechanic in Mexico that works on VW cars. 

What can you tell me?

Thanks 

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We had a Mex-plated 2005 Toyota Rav-4 that was made in Japan. On the underside of the hood, a Mexican sticker was overlaid on the US Dot certification. Would assume that car could go into the US.

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In addition to a DOT sticker, which is usually on the door jamb and is about Safety, it would have to have an EPA and CARB emissions sticker. They are found on the underside of the hood usually so maybe you meant that instead of DOT. One would have to understand/research WHY a Mexican sticker would have been overlaid.

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31 minutes ago, tomgates said:

We had a Mex-plated 2005 Toyota Rav-4 that was made in Japan. On the underside of the hood, a Mexican sticker was overlaid on the US Dot certification. Would assume that car could go into the US.

Highly unlikely.

Links from my web site:

https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/425/~/registering-a-foreign-registered-vehicle,-car-or-motorcycle-in-the-u.s.-with

https://www.epa.gov/importing-vehicles-and-engines

https://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/importing-car

 

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Yes it was the EPA certificate, identical to the ones on our US cars. This car could have been sent from Japan to anywhere. Just happened to be sent to Mexico. Could have been sent to the US.

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