Importing a Vehicle into the US

Information about importing vehicles into the US can be found by visiting the following web site:


Imported motor vehicles are subject to safety standards under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, revised under the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act of 1988; to bumper standards under the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act of 1972, which became effective in 1978; and to air pollution control standards under the Clean Air Act of 1968, as amended in 1977, and 1990.

If vehicles manufactured abroad conform to U.S. safety, bumper, and emission standards, it is because these vehicles are exported for sale in the United States. Therefore, it is unlikely that a vehicle obtained abroad meets all relevant standards. Be skeptical of claims by a foreign dealer or other seller that a vehicle meets these standards or can readily be brought into compliance. Vehicles entering the United States that do not conform with U.S. safety standards must be brought into compliance, exported, or destroyed.

The CBP site provides essential information for U.S. residents, military or civilian government employees, and foreign nationals who are importing a vehicle into the U.S. It includes U.S. Customs requirements and those of other agencies whose regulations we enforce. Since Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements are subject to change, we recommend that you contact these agencies before buying a vehicle abroad or visit:

Department of Transportation (DOT) -
You may reach DOT’s vehicle hotline at 1-800-424-9393 or communicate by fax at (202) 366-1024. Additionally, you can write to:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NSA-32)
400 7th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590

The CBP pages Know Before You Go and For International Visitors contain general information for persons entering the U.S. You may obtain copies from your nearest Customs office or by writing to:

U.S. Customs
P.O. Box 7407
Washington, D.C. 20044

EPA has a detailed automotive fact manual describing emission requirements for imported vehicles. You may obtain a copy of this manual, called the Automotive Imports Facts Manual, or other information about importing motor vehicles by calling EPA’s Imports Hotline at (202) 564-9240. You may also communicate by fax at (202) 564-2057, or write to:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building, Manufacturer Operations Division (6405-J)
Investigation/Import Section
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) -

Please be aware that importations from certain countries are prohibited.  Before attempting an importation of a vehicle from a prohibited country, please contact the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control for information concerning the prohibitions and licensing policy:

Director, Office of Foreign Assets Control
U.S. Department of the Treasury, 2nd Floor Anx.
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20220

You can call either (202) 622-2500 or (202) 622-2480, or fax (202) 622-1657; or visit the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control website.

A list of Registered Importer (RI’s) license holders can be found by visiting:

A list of Independent Commercial Importer (ICI’s) license holders can be found by visiting:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection -
U.S. Food and Drug Administration -
U.S. Department of Agriculture -
U.S. Department of Commerce -
U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security -
U.S. Census Bureau -
U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) -
International Marine Certification Institute (IMCI) –