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Exporting a car to the US

Exporting a car to the US

Old Oct 27th 2010, 4:54 pm
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Default Exporting a car to the US

New here so be gentle!

This isn't your standard exporting car question. I have two cars that I want to take to Florida with me, but neither are straight forward. Actually, one is very straight forward in fact.

First car will be (in 2 years) a 25 year old Golf GTI. It's a limited edition, owned it for nearly all 25 years (by that point) so I'm not happy about letting it go.

Does anybody know what restrictions are lifted on a 25 year old vehicle as it's subject to different rules?

Second car is a proper Ford Mustang. I could sell in the UK and purchase again in the US, but for personal reasons I want to keep this exact car. I believe it started life in Canada and got straight on a boat to the UK.

Because it's Canadian in manufacture, does it get treated differently? I'm reading that Canadian built vehicles get no import tax - does the fact the car went via the UK change that?

Also, I keep reading that US Residents returning to the US get $400 tax allowance on imports, could this count for someone who has got CR1 like me and is moving to the US (CR1 in 3 months hopefully).

Or what does "returning" actually mean, eg how long outside the US do you have to be to be returning?
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Old Oct 27th 2010, 5:03 pm
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Default Re: Exporting a car to the US

Originally Posted by tinman0 View Post

Also, I keep reading that US Residents returning to the US get $400 tax allowance on imports, could this count for someone who has got CR1 like me and is moving to the US (CR1 in 3 months hopefully).

Or what does "returning" actually mean, eg how long outside the US do you have to be to be returning?
No idea about the car question (although the topic has been done to death here multiple times, if you search you'll find them) BUT if you go to the wiki, there is an article titled Immigrant Visa Arrival (that is what you will be) and it's got a link to the Customs page you want.

You are not a returning resident, but an arriving immigrant, which is MUCH better for you in terms of what you get to bring in duty free.
Now that I think of it, cars are specifically covered in there as well.
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Old Oct 27th 2010, 6:51 pm
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Default Re: Exporting a car to the US

Originally Posted by tinman0 View Post
New here so be gentle!

This isn't your standard exporting car question. I have two cars that I want to take to Florida with me, but neither are straight forward. Actually, one is very straight forward in fact.

First car will be (in 2 years) a 25 year old Golf GTI. It's a limited edition, owned it for nearly all 25 years (by that point) so I'm not happy about letting it go.

Does anybody know what restrictions are lifted on a 25 year old vehicle as it's subject to different rules?

Second car is a proper Ford Mustang. I could sell in the UK and purchase again in the US, but for personal reasons I want to keep this exact car. I believe it started life in Canada and got straight on a boat to the UK.

Because it's Canadian in manufacture, does it get treated differently? I'm reading that Canadian built vehicles get no import tax - does the fact the car went via the UK change that?

Also, I keep reading that US Residents returning to the US get $400 tax allowance on imports, could this count for someone who has got CR1 like me and is moving to the US (CR1 in 3 months hopefully).

Or what does "returning" actually mean, eg how long outside the US do you have to be to be returning?
Besides the issue with taxes there may be issues with safety features and smog control. Normally when a car is sold into the US, it must meet US safety and smog requirements at that time and normally doesn't need to be upgraded to meet future safety and smog requirements. I don't know how that is handled on a used car.

I had a friend that tried to import a used Jaguar in the late 1970s and finally gave up because of all the issues.
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Old Oct 27th 2010, 7:12 pm
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Default Re: Exporting a car to the US

He was trying back in the late 70s?

I have a feeling the 25 year old rule is recent-ish, and everything I've found says that the rules are relaxed, with the exception of bumpers and something else, which the car should get through as the US version has the same bumpers etc.

And trying to get import agents to reply to email is becoming somewhat of a problem as well.
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Old Oct 27th 2010, 7:43 pm
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Default Re: Exporting a car to the US

Originally Posted by tinman0 View Post
I have a feeling the 25 year old rule is recent-ish, and everything I've found says that the rules are relaxed, with the exception of bumpers and something else, which the car should get through as the US version has the same bumpers etc.
First off, you'll need written proof from the manufacturer, that the cars meet (or exceed) US safety and emissions control for their model years (read = the safety and emissions standards that were in effect the year the car was manufactured). If you've personally owned the cars more than a year, you shouldn't need to pay any duty on them. Licensing and registering the vehicles is on a state by state case... so you'll need to search the state's DMV site for that sort of information.

Your Golf will be eligible for "historic" plates once it's 25 years old... but that's only if you don't use it as a "daily" vehicle and just take it out for a spin on the occasional weekend jaunt.

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Old Oct 27th 2010, 11:41 pm
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Default Re: Exporting a car to the US

Actually, vehicles that are over 25 years old are way easier to import into the US than anything newer. This link here is slightly older but the important sentence hasn't changed - vehicles older than 25 years are exempt from both EPA and DOT regulations. However, IIRC in places where you are required to pass a smog check it will still have to pass the standards for the particular year of manufacture unless you have exemptions for that, too (in NV, you can register a classic vehicle in such a way that you don't have to get it emissions tested if you're using it for less than 2500 miles/year).

Last edited by TimNiceBut; Oct 28th 2010 at 12:20 am.
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Old Oct 28th 2010, 3:54 am
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Default Re: Exporting a car to the US

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
Your Golf will be eligible for "historic" plates once it's 25 years old... but that's only if you don't use it as a "daily" vehicle and just take it out for a spin on the occasional weekend jaunt.
depends where you are and what insurance company you have.. eg, if you try to get cheap 'classic car' insurance through someone like Hagerty, then yeah, they'll impose annual mileage restrictions.

My ex-gf claims that a colleague of hers was in the process of going to BMW in Germany to purchase a new M3 and tour around abit and drive on the autobahns (whoopy-fr!gg!n-doo ) and then bring the car home, here, when he's done..... I informed her that he could be s.o.l. and customs could impound the car and crush it if he tries to bring it in the US... she got all defensive at me and snapped "don't you think he's looked into it??" "I don't know... I don't care... I've never met the guy...just sayin' my understanding..." Now, the only plausible way I can think of that he could do this is if he was able to buy a US spec bimmer from factory... (but could they register and insure it over there?) and even if one could do it, why go through the headache and $$$$ importing it and tax, duty etc. I hope the sob learns a harsh expensive stupid lesson... all in the name of trying to impress people. Twat.
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Old Oct 28th 2010, 4:20 am
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Default Re: Exporting a car to the US

Factory delivery of certain German brands is nothing new and has been available for decades - you basically order a US spec vehicle via your dealer and pick it up at the factory. And yes, you can register them in Germany with an export plate (and the dealer/factory will probably help with that) and then get it shipped over.

Maybe the guy's not that much of a twat but actually has done a little research.
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Old Oct 28th 2010, 4:39 am
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Default Re: Exporting a car to the US

Originally Posted by TimNiceBut View Post
..
All in all, just seems a pointless exercise to go through imo to say 'my car has been on the autobahn' - just rent a car and drive it on the autobahn if it means that much.
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Old Oct 28th 2010, 5:03 pm
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Default Re: Exporting a car to the US

Originally Posted by Tarkak9 View Post
depends where you are and what insurance company you have.. eg, if you try to get cheap 'classic car' insurance through someone like Hagerty, then yeah, they'll impose annual mileage restrictions.

My ex-gf claims that a colleague of hers was in the process of going to BMW in Germany to purchase a new M3 and tour around abit and drive on the autobahns (whoopy-fr!gg!n-doo ) and then bring the car home, here, when he's done..... I informed her that he could be s.o.l. and customs could impound the car and crush it if he tries to bring it in the US... she got all defensive at me and snapped "don't you think he's looked into it??" "I don't know... I don't care... I've never met the guy...just sayin' my understanding..." Now, the only plausible way I can think of that he could do this is if he was able to buy a US spec bimmer from factory... (but could they register and insure it over there?) and even if one could do it, why go through the headache and $$$$ importing it and tax, duty etc. I hope the sob learns a harsh expensive stupid lesson... all in the name of trying to impress people. Twat.
BMW offer 3 options when you buy a new car from them:
- take delivery from local dealer
- fly to SC where BMW will put you up overnight, give you a factory tour and a hoon around their test track in a similar model to the one you have purchased
- fly to Germany, take delivery from the factory, BMW will insure you for two weeks, you get to blast around Europe and then BMW will ship the car to the US

http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Conte...y/default.aspx

Last edited by Schnorbitz; Oct 28th 2010 at 5:09 pm.
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Old Oct 29th 2010, 12:17 am
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Default Re: Exporting a car to the US

Originally Posted by Schnorbitz View Post
BMW offer 3 options when you buy a new car from them:
- take delivery from local dealer
- fly to SC where BMW will put you up overnight, give you a factory tour and a hoon around their test track in a similar model to the one you have purchased
- fly to Germany, take delivery from the factory, BMW will insure you for two weeks, you get to blast around Europe and then BMW will ship the car to the US

http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Conte...y/default.aspx
Yup. A good friend of mine (he's not a twat) took option 3. Bought a new BMW from the factory in Germany and took the opportunity to drive fast around Europe for a couple of weeks. Apparently he loved it and now he's driving the same car around the Bay Area.

So clearly it's not that uncommon.
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Old Oct 29th 2010, 9:41 am
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Default Re: Exporting a car to the US

Originally Posted by Tarkak9 View Post
depends where you are and what insurance company you have.. eg, if you try to get cheap 'classic car' insurance through someone like Hagerty, then yeah, they'll impose annual mileage restrictions.

My ex-gf claims that a colleague of hers was in the process of going to BMW in Germany to purchase a new M3 and tour around abit and drive on the autobahns (whoopy-fr!gg!n-doo ) and then bring the car home, here, when he's done..... I informed her that he could be s.o.l. and customs could impound the car and crush it if he tries to bring it in the US... she got all defensive at me and snapped "don't you think he's looked into it??" "I don't know... I don't care... I've never met the guy...just sayin' my understanding..." Now, the only plausible way I can think of that he could do this is if he was able to buy a US spec bimmer from factory... (but could they register and insure it over there?) and even if one could do it, why go through the headache and $$$$ importing it and tax, duty etc. I hope the sob learns a harsh expensive stupid lesson... all in the name of trying to impress people. Twat.

I am guessing the guy who picked up the M3 in Germany also stole your g/f.....

Actually on high end cars such as Ferraris etc it is quite usual to do a factory tour and drive the car around Europe before shipping out the car.

To import a classic car (over 25 years old) is easy if you use an experienced importer. I believe there is a sales tax to be paid which is strange as you own the car already. On a Golf this will not be too much but on high end cars it can add up.
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Old Oct 29th 2010, 1:38 pm
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Default Re: Exporting a car to the US

Originally Posted by digbydog View Post
I am guessing the guy who picked up the M3 in Germany also stole your g/f.....

Actually on high end cars such as Ferraris etc it is quite usual to do a factory tour and drive the car around Europe before shipping out the car.

To import a classic car (over 25 years old) is easy if you use an experienced importer. I believe there is a sales tax to be paid which is strange as you own the car already. On a Golf this will not be too much but on high end cars it can add up.
I don't think you need an experienced importer as long as your customs agent is familiar with the process and ensures the paperwork is complete. Part of this (like the sales tax) depends on the state, though, so the OP will have to do a little research.

Some insurance companies might have an issue insuring a non-US spec vehicle, but at least the classic car/bike insurance companies are normally familiar with this issue so as long as the OP can live with the usual classic policy restrictions, insurance should not be a big hurdle.
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Old Oct 29th 2010, 3:27 pm
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Default Re: Exporting a car to the US

Originally Posted by digbydog View Post
I am guessing the guy who picked up the M3 in Germany also stole your g/f...
Nah, not the case - but I can only wish!! She's just easily oooed and ahhhhed over silly things, even after being on this planet for nearly 4 decades; makes a big production to have a tit for tat one better than you, and aren't I someone special b/c I know someone who did xyz, mentality that she craves.

I think there also used to be a loop hole that 'specialized vehicles' were somewhat easier to import.. that is how someone around here imported, at the time, a diesel defender 130. I don't think they have such catagory anymore.
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