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Plan'n to buy an imported scooter. Need to get DOT, EPA, customs approval. NE1 have xperience to help guide

The scooter is in the US but has not gone through customs and the right approval processes. In order to title, I'll need to get DOT, EPA and US customs certs. It appears way to cumbersome, but may its really not that bad. Can anyone provide any advice? Thanks.

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Paperwork is paperwork. Follow the instructions and it's no big deal. Most of what we consume in this country is imported, that's why we have trade deficits.

    Here is a copy of the applicable instructions, followed by a link:



    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.

    This pamphlet 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. Their addresses are on pages xxx.

    Our leaflets Know Before You Go (Customs Hints for Returning U.S. Residents) and Customs Hints for Visitors Visiting the United States (Customs Regulations for Nonresidents) 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; or from American embassies and consulates abroad.

    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; write to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ariel Rios Building, Manufactures Operations Division (6405-J), Investigation/Import Section, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20460; or visit the Web site at

    You may reach DOT’s vehicle hotline at 1-800-424-9393; communicate by fax at (202) 366-1024; write to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NSA-32), 400 7th Street, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20590; or visit the Web site on page x.

    NOTE: Importations from Afghanistan (Taliban), Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Serbia/Montenegro/Kosovo, or Yugoslavia that involve the governments of those countries, are generally prohibited pursuant to regulations issued by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Before attempting to make such an importation, information concerning the prohibitions and licensing policy should be obtained by contacting the Director, Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. Department of the Treasury, 2nd Floor ANX, 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20220; tel. (202) 622-2500, (202) 622-2480, or FAX (202) 622-1657; or by visiting the Web site at


    The owner must make arrangements for shipping a vehicle. Have your shipper or carrier notify you of the vehicle’s arrival date so that you can make arrangements to process it through Customs. Shipments are cleared at the first port of entry unless you arrange for a freight forwarder abroad to have the vehicle sent in bond to a Customs port more convenient to you.

    Law prohibits Customs officers from acting as agents or making entries for an importer. However, you may employ a commercial customs broker to handle your entry.


    For Customs clearance you will need the shipper’s or carrier’s original bill of lading, the bill of sale, foreign registration, and any other documents covering the vehicle. You will also be required to complete EPA form 3520-1 and DOT form HS-7, declaring the emissions and safety provisions under which the vehicle is being imported. Vehicles that meet all U.S. emission requirements will bear manufacturer’s label on the engine compartment in English, attesting to that fact. For vehicles that lack such a label, the Customs inspector at the port of entry may require proof of eligibility to import under the EPA exemptions or exclusions specified on form 3520-1.

    Vehicles that do not meet all U.S. emission requirements, unless eligible for exemption or exclusion must be imported through an independent commercial importer (ICI). EPA will not allow the vehicles’ release to the vehicle owner until ICI work is complete. The ICI will perform any EPA-required modifications and be responsible for assuring that all EPA requirements have been met. Some vehicles cannot be successfully imported or modified by an ICI, however, and in general, ICI fees are very high.

    See page x for driver’s license and tag requirements.


    To safeguard against importation of dangerous pests, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that the undercarriage of imported cars be free of foreign soil. Have your car steam-sprayed or cleaned thoroughly before shipment.


    For your own safety, security, and convenience, DO NOT use your car as a container for personal belongings.

    Your possessions are susceptible to theft while the vehicle is on the loading and unloading docks and in transit.

    Many shippers and carriers will not accept your vehicle if it contains personal belongings.

    The entire contents of your car must be declared to Customs on entry. Failure to do so can result in a fine or seizure of the car and its contents.

    Your vehicle may be subject to seizure, and you may incur a personal penalty, if anyone uses it as a conveyance of illegal narcotics.


    Foreign-made vehicles imported into the U.S., whether new or used, either for personal use or for sale, are generally dutiable at the following rates:

    Auto 2.5%

    Trucks 25%

    Motorcycles either free or 2.4%

    Duty rates are based on price paid or payable. Most Canadian-made vehicles are duty-free.

    As a returning U.S. resident, you may apply your $400 Customs exemption and those of accompanying family members toward the value of the vehicle if:

    -Accompanies you on your return;

    -Is imported for personal use;

    -Was acquired during the journey from which you are returning.

    For Customs purposes, a returning U.S. resident is one who is returning from travel, work, or study abroad.

    After the exemption has been applied, a flat duty rate of 10% is applied toward the next $1,000 of the vehicle’s value. The remaining amount is dutiable at the regular duty rate.


    -U.S. CITIZENS employed abroad or government employees returning on TDY or voluntary leave may import a foreign-made car free of duty provided they enter the U.S. for a short visit, claim nonresident status, and export the vehicle when they leave.

    -MILITARY AND CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES of the U.S. government returning at the end of an assignment to extended duty outside the Customs territory of the U.S. may include a conforming vehicle among their duty-free personal and household effects. The auto must have been purchased abroad and be in its owner’s possession prior to departure. Generally, extended duty is 140 days or more. Navy personnel serving aboard a U.S. naval vessel or a supporting naval vessel from its departure from the U.S. to its return after an intended overseas deployment of 120 days or more are entitled to the extended-duty exemption. Conforming vehicles imported under the duty-free exemption are dutiable if sold within one year of importation. Duty must be paid at the most convenient Customs office before the sale is completed. Conforming vehicles so imported may remain in the U.S. indefinitely once a formal entry is made for EPA purposes.

    -NONRESIDENTS may import a vehicle duty-free for personal use up to (1) one year if the vehicle is imported in conjunction with the owner’s arrival. Vehicles imported under this provision that do not conform to U.S. safety and emission standards must be exported within one year and may not be sold in the U.S. There is no exemption or extension of the export requirements.


    Nonresidents may import an automobile or motorcycle and its usual equipment free of duty for a temporary stay to take part in races or other specific purposes. However, prior written approval from the EPA is required and such approval is granted only to those racing vehicles that EPA deems not capable of safe or practical use on streets and highways. If the contests are for other than money purposes, the vehicle may be admitted for 90 days without formal entry or bond if the Customs officer is satisfied as to the importer’s identify and good faith. The vehicle becomes subject to forfeiture if it is not exported or if a bond is not given within 90 days of its importation. Prior written approval must be obtained from DOT. A vehicle may be temporarily imported for testing, demonstration, or racing purposes. A vehicle may be permanently imported for show or display. Written approval from DOT is required and should be obtained before the vehicle is exported from the foreign country to the U.S. Information o

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  • aquino
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    The EPA has long previous previous in basic terms sparkling air and sparkling water, and has probable cost united statesa. hundreds of thousands of jobs. The EPA is the only best loss of freedom people have confronted.

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