How to Ship a Foreign Car to Your House
Many people interested in foreign vehicles often ask, ‘how are foreign cars shipped to the US?’ and find themselves unable to get a good answer. This situation is particularly complex if you’re trying to get a car shipped directly to your home. Such a situation is possible but must be handled appropriately and effectively to minimize any potential complications you may otherwise experience.
Thankfully, the answer to the question ‘how are foreign cars shipped to the US?’ isn’t an impossible one to answer. That said, it does require you to understand a myriad of different legal steps to make sure that this process goes smoothly. Just as importantly, you need to be ready to handle any challenges that may come your way when getting a foreign car sent directly to your home.
Prepare for a Complex Legal Situation
When learning how are foreign cars shipped to the US, it is essential to know what things to do when planning your legal situation. There are many rules and laws that you have to take into account when you are importing a car to your home from another country. Just a few of these will be described below to give you an idea of what to expect and how you can plan for them properly:
- Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act – Created in 1988, this act creates a set of standards and tests that must be followed if you want to import a car. All car companies importing vehicles must follow these guidelines. However, personal imports must also follow them, making it important to talk to a lawyer or get automotive etraining about such topics to prepare yourself.
- Clean Air Act – This law, created in 1968 and updated several times, sets standards for vehicle emissions allowed in the country. You can work with a commodities lawyer to better understand these restrictions and ensure that your vehicle follows them. However, you might be surprised at just how many cars from overseas may not follow these guidelines in many ways.
- Arrangements With the Company – You must make prior arrangements with the company shipping the car before you try to get a vehicle over to your home. These steps include working directly with the CBP about your import and paying attention to your freight forwarder and other elements. In addition, you may need a parcel audit professional to guide you through these challenging rules.
- Do the Proper Documentation – When importing a vehicle to your home from another country, you must make sure that you get the shipper’s original bill of lading, the bill of sale, foreign registration, form 3520-1, DOT form HS-7, and others. Then, you need to fill them out in detail to get the best results. You’ll have to do all of these upgrades in English, ensure that the vehicles meet the country’s emission standards, and work with a legal professional to finish the paperwork properly on time.
All of these steps must be taken long before you ever ship your vehicle to your home. Properly preparing your legal situation in this way helps to ensure that everything goes smoothly. However, this isn’t the only thing you need to do when learning how foreign cars are shipped to the US. There are many other steps that you make take to ensure that your vehicle can be imported correctly.
The key among these steps is ensuring that your vehicle is adequately prepared to minimize any confusion during shipping. In addition, you’ll have to talk to the dealer overseas about things like your fuel injection system and make sure that your vehicle is upgraded and kept in great shape. Doing so helps to cut back on your costs and provides you with an excellent import experience.
Preparing The Vehicle
Before you get your car shipped to your house, you must know how are foreign cars shipped to the US and how they are prepared before they arrive. This information is critical because you might find yourself in a challenging situation otherwise. For example, your dealer needs to take steps that help make this process go more smoothly and keep your car in great shape before it arrives.
Therefore, it is essential to know what preparation steps you must take when you’re learning more about how are foreign cars shipped to the US. Most import processes follow these same procedures to create a uniform and easy method for car owners. Just a few of the most critical steps that you can take include the items listed below (talk to your lawyer if you are confused about any):
- Basic Maintenance Steps – Talk to your mechanics and dealer overseas about getting the proper maintenance done for your vehicle. This step includes doing things like preparing the car’s motor and doing any other minor actions that must be taken to keep it in working order. For new and collector vehicles, these steps are significant because minor flaws could occur in some situations.
- Clean the Vehicle Properly – The U.S. Department of Agriculture demands that all vehicles from foreign countries get washed before they are shipped. This step is critical because the undercarriage cannot have foreign soil, or it might have pests and other dangerous creatures with it. These invasive pests need to be adequately managed. So, talk to your dealer to make sure they take this step.
- Test for Emissions – Just because your vehicle is supposed to pass emissions standards doesn’t mean that mechanical problems couldn’t cause it to fail them. Make sure that your mechanics check for any issues that could impact your emission standards, such as a broken muffler or other problems. Doing so helps to give you the best chance of a quick and efficient vehicle shipping experience.
- Choosing a Shipping Container – Your vehicle is not considered a shipping container in and of itself. As a result, you need to make sure that you do not place other items inside it (such as paperwork for the vehicle) and find a container that makes sense for your needs. In addition, climate controlled containers help to minimize the potential for weather-related damage that could impact your car.
- Finding a Shipping Company – In most situations, your car dealer should be willing to send your vehicle to you. However, you may find that some do not provide this service and that you need to find an independent shipping company. Thankfully, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to find a company willing to handle these steps for you. Just know that you’re going to pay a bit of money here.
By taking care of these simple tasks, you help ensure that you understand the answer to the question “how are foreign cars shipped to the US?” and prepare for this process as smoothly as possible. You need to make sure that you carefully check every element of this shipping process to ensure that you don’t miss any of the vital steps that influence its proper execution.
Beyond these steps, there are many more things that you have to do to make sure that your car is legal for necessary. However, doing so will cut back on situations like getting your car only to watch it get shipped back because you didn’t follow the rules correctly. Thankfully, it should be reasonably easy to follow these steps to keep your vehicle safe from getting exported back to the country from which it came.
Other Steps That You Must Take
The last things you must know when learning how are foreign cars shipped to the US include several steps that don’t fall into any specific easy heading. All of these steps are critical because they help to protect you and your vehicle from legal problems. And they also make sure that your city, state, and federal government taxes are all in order and handled adequately once you get your car.
Many of these steps do require you to pay more money to get your vehicle into the country. However, that is to be expected whenever you import anything yourself. And you also may need to pay cash for a shipping company to get the vehicle to your home, which can also be costly. Again, however, it is more than worth it. Just a few things that you will have to consider when importing a new car include how you must:
- Pay a Duitable Entry Fee – All foreign-made vehicles that you essential to your home must pay a duty when you bring them to your house. The level of this duty will vary based on many different factors, each of which is important to consider. For example, automobile owners must pay 2.5% duty, truck owners must pay 25% duty, and motorcycle owners must pay 2.4% duty on all vehicles. That value comes out of the total cost of the car, so make sure you prepare for this additional fee.
- See If You Qualify for an Exemption – In some cases, you may be able to get an exemption duty costs on shipping vehicles to your home. These exemptions include if you are returning to the United States and your vehicle accompanies on your return, will be used for personal use, and was purchased during the trip from which you are returning. This exemption is worth $800 if you qualify, with another 3% duty paid towards the next $1,000 of the vehicle’s value. This cost will be much less than average.
- Understand If You Qualify for Free Entry – In rare circumstances, you may be able to import a vehicle to your home without paying any duty. For example, this occurs if you’re a US citizen or government employee employed abroad and are returning for a short visit, claim nonresident status, and export the vehicle after you leave. Military and civilian employees may also get a similar duty-free import. Talk to your lawyer about this possibility to learn of more exemptions situations for you.
- Ensure Safety and Quality – While we briefly discussed filling out an HS-7 form above, it is essential to know what this form indicates. Typically, it requires you to comply with all FMVSS standards, including safety, bumper, and theft prevention standards. Most of this information should be available with the help of data center services but may also be found by talking directly to the dealer. Filling out this form helps to show that you’ve taken steps to ensure that your vehicle is protected.
- Follow All Tax Standards – When bringing a car directly to your home from overseas, you must work with your tax accountant to ensure that you do things properly and safely. These professionals will check all of your paperwork, ensure that you understand the unique tax impact that these vehicles may have on you, and ensure that you are ready for their extraordinary demand on your expenses. In this way, you should be more than capable of getting a great vehicle at a reasonable price.
Other steps you may want to consider include investing in space management systems to help with your vehicle storage, preparing your family for this new vehicle, talking to your local city and state officials about your import, and much more. All of these steps should be pretty easy for most car owners to handle if they take the time to research their different options in this situation.
And don’t think that your experience is over once your car gets to your home! When you’re learning the answer to the question “how are foreign cars shipped to the US?” you also need to consider things like registering your vehicle, adding a license, and buying insurance. Once your car has been appropriately imported, it can now be used for domestic travel and must be adequately prepared to avoid issues.
As you can see, learning how foreign cars are shipped to the US will give you the help you need to find a great vehicle at a reasonable price. By working directly with the dealer and understanding your duties and expectations, you can get the high-quality car you want and deserve. Just as significantly, you can cut back on unnecessary expenses that may cost you a lot of cash.