There's no denying that foreign cars have always had an element of appeal to the general American consumer. And there are even fewer arguments against British automakers who make some of the most luxurious, exciting, reliable and fast cars on the market.
Take the Jaguar, for example. It was hard to sell a Jaguar decades ago when it was introduced to the general public. But now it's part of the world's most recognizable luxury vehicle brands.
Many people want to import cars from UK manufacturers whether new or old. The problem is that the process is not always as simple as buying a car straight from the dealership. If you want to import your dream car, there is a lot of information you need to know.
Legislation you need to know
Three major laws determine most of the standards that imported cars must adhere to, including many cars imported from the UK.
National Motor Vehicle and Traffic Safety Act of 1966
This is the legislation that dictates vehicle safety and road safety standards in the United States. An addition was made in 1988 with the Import Vehicle Safety Compliance Act.
The two laws now define all import standards regarding the shipment of cars from abroad.
Motor Vehicle Cost Savings and Information Act 1972
This law contains legislation that provides penalties against manufacturers that may be violating specific fuel economy standards applicable on US soil, including for imported vehicles.
Clean Air Act of 1968
This law has been amended twice, in 1977 and again in 1990. It makes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) responsible for setting national emission standards for all sources of air pollution, such as motor vehicles.
So cars imported from the UK must meet these standards before you can ship them abroad and drive them on US soil. Of course, some exclusions may apply to some UK-manufactured vehicles.
It is essential to know these acts and the norms established by the government and other responsible authorities or bodies. Many vehicles manufactured outside the US and not for US distribution may well violate some standards and require substantial modifications.
Exemptions worth considering
In general, the US wants to restrict consumers from buying imported cars below a certain age. More specifically, it targets cars manufactured less than 25 years before the customs clearance date.
This makes shipping cars from the UK, Japan, New Zealand and beyond a little more complicated.
However, there isexemptionsyou can take advantage For example, you can import cars from the UK if they are over 21 years old and still have their original engines. This can give you an EPA exemption, which is a benefit. But it may not be enough to meet other import standards.
If the car is over 25 years old, it must already meet DOT requirements.
Noncompliant cars can be exempted from many regulations if you re-import them. For example, shipping a car from the US to the UK can make it eligible to be re-imported with less hassle, even if it has been modified to make it eligible in the UK.
Another way to obtain a vehicle from UK locations is to import it as an individual with diplomatic status or a member of the foreign armed forces. Alternatively, the import process may be easier if the car is imported for personal use for no longer than 12 months.
In special circumstances you can ship a non-compliant car from the UK if you agree to make changes. But this can be costly, especially if you aren't there to oversee the process. Still, some DOT registered motor vehicle importers can handle this to ensure you get your UK dream car.
The US Department of State has its own list of exceptions that allows newer, non-compliant vehicles to pass through customs easily. For example, racing cars, show cars, and show and test motor vehicles can be easier to import compared to regular cars.
Importing new models is definitely difficult if you want a right-hand drive (RHD) vehicle in a left-hand drive (LHD) country. That said, vintage or classic cars shipped across the pond are unlikely to be seized by customs, impounded or returned.
Documents required at customs
Whether you're shipping a car from the US to the UK or vice versa, you'll need to complete a lot of customs paperwork.
Compliant vehicles coming from the UK must have a manufacturer's label showing compliance with active emissions standards. They must also have a security certification label confirming compliance with theft prevention, bumper and other security regulations.
In addition, customs brokers must inspect the following documents:
- EPA Form 3520-1
- DOT HS-7 form
- Bill of lading
- Fiscal Note
- foreign registration
- Other relevant documents
The shipping company representative usually passes these documents on to the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agent or inspector.
Vehicle shipping costs
Many factors determine the total cost of shipping compliant and non-compliant vehicles. The dimensions, the distance of the trip, the freight service, the type of transport and even the distance between the ports of origin and destination influence the price.
But please note that shipping costs are independent of destination fees, taxes and customs fees.
Auto tax rates are around 2.5% in the US for foreign-manufactured vehicles. In general, it doesn't matter if the car is for sale, commercial or for personal use.
Some customs currency exemptions may apply to expatriates or exchange students returning home if the vehicle is the same vehicle you left with or if you are importing it for personal use. But despite the potential deductions, modifications may still be required to bring the vehicle into compliance after customs clearance.
How much does it cost to ship a car from the US to the UK
Here's something interesting about dealing with foreign-made cars and shipping a car from the US to the UK. Cost estimates, at least the conservative ones, call for an asking price of $850.
This is for a service that can take up to 28 days to complete and does not include customs fees, import taxes and possible modifications.
How much to ship a car from the UK to the US
Car shipping to the UKUnlike bringing imported cars from the UK, it's cheaper. The reference price for crossing the ocean with a car and entering the US starts at around US$1,850..
Of course, these prices vary between vehicle carriers and are affected by many factors. However, it is almost always more expensive to import cars from the UK than it is to ship an American car across the ocean by sea freight.
Of course, these estimates are subject to change at any time due to the ever-changing automotive shipping industry and its government policies.
Choose the right service
You must be aware of the different shipping methods available when you want to import cars from the UK. This will ensure you minimize your costs while maximizing your vehicle's protection based on its value.
The roll-on and roll-off (RO-RO) method is generally the most popular. This involves sending cars across the ocean on essentially floating parking lots. Your car will be stored in the same cargo area as the other vehicles.
Another method is the shared container service. In theory, shared container service could be cheaper and safer because there are fewer cars next to each other. In addition, each vehicle is usually packed and securely tied down.
But unlike the previous service, the shared container option may incur additional service costs. Although they are shared between several vehicle owners, there is no guarantee that they will be cheap. And the containers only leave when they reach their maximum load, which can disrupt your schedule.
Full container load is a premium way to ship your vehicle. That's one railcar per container, which means you get a shorter lead time at the expense of additional handling fees. But since your car gets the luxury treatment, it can be an ideal choice for fragile, old and expensive vehicles.
Crucial Tips to Know
There are a few things to remember before and after importing cars from UK dealers, dealers or collectors, or bringing your personal vehicle onto US soil.
Tip #1: Make sure the undercarriage is spotless
This might not seem like a big problem. Why does the car need a deep clean if it's going to end up in a dumpster that might not be that clean?
This is usually not the case.
Some countries have strict customs laws regarding foreign soil. This is the same whether you are returning from a UK holiday, a backpacking trip through Germany, etc.
Imported cars must not contain foreign soil samples. This law was passed in an attempt to minimize or eliminate the introduction of foreign contaminants such as fungi, microorganisms, plants, etc.
A thorough wash and steam cleaning is recommended for the vehicle's exterior, undercarriage and wheels.
The interior doesn't need the same treatment, not least because a long trip can generate mold due to excess humidity.
Tip #2 – Identify the sender’s list of foreign services
You need a carrier to handle paperwork on both sides of the border, coordinate with freight forwarders and everyone else in the supply chain.
That said, it may take a lot of prep work to make your UK dream car eligible for import into the North American continent.
What type of prep work can a carrier provide?
- Find a pick-up destination for the port carrier
- Make sure proper equipment is used to load and unload the car.
- Find storage in case of late departure
- Finding a Reliable Cleaner
- Determining car import eligibility
- Find exemptions that apply to your car
- Making necessary modifications for customs clearance
- Payment of taxes and customs duties on your behalf
- Provide storage in case of a delayed pickup
There are many that are registered with the DOTinternational deliverycompanies can do for you to import cars easily from UK locations.
Tip #3 – Contact the DMV
Once your car arrives in the US, you'll probably want to drive it. But getting all the certifications can be tricky and time consuming if left to the last minute.
Contact your state's DMV ahead of time and ask about license plates, car-related documents, and other documents you must present to drive the car right away.
Tip #4: Seriously consider steering wheel mods
If you buy a car that is old enough, you can drive it as is. You won't have to change the pedal, the steering wheel position or the odometer. Take a look at some American made cars such as Postal Vans or RHD Jeep models.
Of course, a vintage RHD car from a UK luxury brand could be a good talking point. However, consider the challenges of driving on left-hand drive-specific infrastructure.
Visibility will always be an issue. Passing other cars, signalling, changing lanes, and almost any maneuver other than driving straight ahead will put you at a disadvantage.
If you go to all that trouble importing cars from UK sources, you'll probably want to drive them often. But just because an RHD vehicle is legal to drive in the US doesn't make it a solid choice for regular cars.
Tip #5: Set aside money for modifications
Car conversion kits can be very expensive. Keep this in mind when buying a newer, non-compliant British car that you want to drive on American soil.
Even meeting road safety and air pollution emissions standards can be tricky and requires professional intervention.
Work with experienced carriers
Virtually any car can be imported from overseas as long as it complies with US laws, DOT and EPA regulations, or if you modify it to comply.
Many exemptions can allow you to buy your dream car made in the UK and not take into account various modifications. But when it comes to the best course of action, few can advise you better than experienced international shippers.
You need someone to constantly deal with customs inspectors, handle logistics, and navigate customs and legal paperwork for you. Given the right circumstances, you could even have your car in the garage within two to three weeks.
For more information on UK car shipping or a direct quote, please feel free tocontact Shipvehicles.
How much does it cost to import car from UK? ›
Importing a Car from the United Kingdom to USA starts at a cost of $1,850 USD with an estimated turnaround time of 30 days, depending on make and model of the vehicle, the nearest departure port in the United Kingdom and whether the destination in the USA is on the east or west coast.How do I import a car from UK? ›
Registering vehicles imported from GB after 31 December 2020
You will also need to provide: the foreign registration document (the V5C from the UK) a copy of the customs declaration or import declaration, including the reference number of the customs declaration (the MRN) any other supporting documentation.
- Customs Duty. ...
- Ad Valorem Tax (AVT). ...
- Value Added Tax (VAT). ...
- Import Processing Fee (IPF). ...
- Documentary Stamp Fee (DSF). ...
- Container Security Fee. ...
- Certificate of Payment Fee (CPF).
You can pay an importer or shipping company to do them for you. Tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) within 14 days that the vehicle has arrived in the UK. Pay VAT and duty if HMRC tells you to. Get vehicle approval to show your vehicle meets safety and environmental standards.How much VAT do you pay on imported cars? ›
Importing a car from the EU after Brexit? You will now have to pay VAT on the import. This will be 20% of a current value of the vehicle.Do I pay VAT on imported car from UK? ›
From 1 January 2021 vehicles imported from Great Britain are liable to: customs duty, if applicable. Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) VAT at the current standard rate.Do you have to pay VAT when importing a car? ›
In the case of new or used vehicles imported from outside the EU, customs duty is chargeable at importation. When you register your vehicle, the NCTS will require proof of payment of the Customs Duty and VAT. Normally this will be by way of a Customs Declaration.How much tax do you pay on imported cars UK? ›
How much UK Import Duty and VAT will I have to pay? Non EC Manufactured Cars - 10% import duty and 20% VAT for private and commercial imports. Pick-Up Trucks - classified as a commercial vehicle; 22% import duty and 20% VAT for private and commercial imports.How do UK customs charges work? ›
You'll be contacted by Royal Mail, Parcelforce or the courier company if you need to pay any VAT , duty or delivery charges ('handling fees') to receive your goods. They'll send you a bill stating exactly which fees you need to pay. They'll normally hold your parcel for about 3 weeks.What are the steps of importing? ›
- Obtain IEC. ...
- Ensure legal compliance under different trade laws. ...
- Procure import licenses. ...
- File Bill of Entry and other documents to complete customs clearing formalities. ...
- Determine import duty rate for clearance of goods.
How do I pay customs fees? ›
- U.S. currency only.
- Personal check in the exact amount, drawn on a U.S. bank, made payable to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. ...
- Government check, money order or traveler's check if the amount does not exceed the duty owed by more than $50.
While entering the United States with a new car may seem overwhelming, it is actually a fairly straightforward process as long as you have the right paperwork. Before entering the United States, you'll need to ensure you have the following documents: Foreign registration. Bill of sale.What is the best car to import from UK? ›
- Audi A4. The Audi A4 is a luxurious model available in both saloon and estate versions at Autoxpress.ie. ...
- BMW 3-Series. ...
- Ford Galaxy. ...
- Hyundai ix35. ...
- Mercedes E-Class. ...
- Nissan Qashqai. ...
- Opel Insignia. ...
- Toyota Avensis.
- original bill of lading.
- bill of sale.
- Foreign registration or US title.
- Letter of approval from the NHTSA.
- EPA Form 3520-1.
- DOT Form HS-7.
If the vehicle is less than 25 years old and was not originally manufactured to comply with all applicable FMVSS, and/or was not so certified by its original manufacturer, it cannot be lawfully imported into the U.S. on a permanent basis unless NHTSA determines it eligible for importation.How do I avoid paying VAT on a car? ›
Buy a van from a non-registered seller
If the business or individual selling the van is not registered for VAT, they cannot charge VAT on the selling price. To charge would be illegal. So it's essential when you approach a seller to ask if they are VAT-registered. If they claim to be registered, ask for a VAT invoice.
CIF: The Import duty is charged on the “Cost, Insurance and Freight” value of the products. So duty will be charged on the cost of the products + cost of insurance (if any) + cost of International transport through to the port of discharge (on the currency of the importing country).How do I clear my car through customs? ›
Port of Entry
To get through CBP, you'll need the shipping company's original bill of lading, bill of sale, foreign registration, insurance, and any other document concerning the vehicle. You'll also need to complete an EPA form (3520-1) and a DOT form (HS-7).
If you import your car from the United Kingdom it will have no impact on your car insurance.How do I avoid import tax UK? ›
You can reduce or pay no duty if you temporarily import goods such as:
- professional equipment.
- items for auction.
- exhibition goods.
- demonstration goods.
How do I avoid paying VRT? ›
be your personal property. have been in your possession and used by you for at least six months before transfer of residence. Any possession and use in the State, even during times when you were living abroad, does not count. brought into the State within 12 months of the date of your transfer of residence.How much is car import duty? ›
In theory, this is quite simple: the US levies an import tariff on all imported vehicles, based on their value at the time of purchase. This is charged at 0-2.4% for motorcycles, 2.5% for cars, and 25% for trucks and lorries.
If you want to save money when buying a car, it is sometimes worth taking a look across the border. In neighboring countries, new cars can be up to a third cheaper. However, you may not always be looking for a new model. All kinds of used cars are regularly imported from all over the world.How much does it cost to clear a UK car in Ireland? ›
If the vehicle was manufactured in the UK, the customs duty is currently (as of 2021) 0%. If the vehicle was manufactured elsewhere, the customs duty is currently 10%. Furthermore, importers must also pay Value-Added-Tax (VAT) of 23%, Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT), and a NOx Emissions Levy.Which cars are tax free in UK? ›
- Fiat 500 e.
- Volkswagen ID.3.
- Kia e-Niro.
- Vauxhall Mokka E.
- Peugeot e-208.
- Mini Electric.
- Hyundai Ioniq Electric.
|Type and value of goods||Import duty rate|
|Any goods under £135||No charge|
|Gifts worth £135-£630||2.5% (lower for some goods)|
|Gifts above £630 and any other goods above £135||Depends on the type of goods and country of export. Check the HS code of goods to get the exact rate.|
Import prices for products entering the UK generally consist of: Cost, Insurance, Freight and Duty, with a standard VAT of 20% levied on the aggregate value. VAT is reduced to 5% for some goods and services such as children's car seats and home energy.Do I pay VAT twice on imports? ›
What does this double payment of VAT correspond to? The double payment of VAT corresponds to: the VAT invoiced by the seller at the time of the sale on the invoice ; to which you add the import VAT requested by the carrier at the time of delivery.How do I get customs clearance UK? ›
Sending supporting documents for a customs check to clear your goods. You can submit documents to the National Clearance Hub to clear your goods if they're selected for a customs check. The service you use depends on whether you've used CHIEF or the Customs Declaration Service to make your declaration.How long does customs clearance take UK? ›
When scheduling and preparing for the entire logistics process, we generally say that from your goods landing in the UK, to arriving at your warehouse, you should allow roughly 2-3 days from leaving an EU destination.
What are the 5 steps in the importation process? ›
- Decide the country.
- Search for suppliers.
- Search the duty and taxes.
- Find a reliable freight forwarder and customs broker.
- Ship the goods on time.
- Step 1: Find a supplier abroad. ...
- Step 2: Assess the import conditions and duties and ensure the product complies with EU requirements. ...
- Step 3: Prepare the sale and organise the transport. ...
- Step 4: Prepare the documents for customs clearance at the border.
- Import Procedure: ...
- The steps taken in import procedure are discussed as follows: ...
- (i) Trade Enquiry: ...
- (ii) Procurement of Import Licence and Quota: ...
- For the purpose of issuing licence, the importers are divided into three categories: ...
- (iii) Obtaining Foreign Exchange:
Either the seller or the buyer of a shipment must pay customs duties, fees or taxes. Generally, the party responsible for payment is prearranged in the shipper and receiver's terms of sale. (Check your terms of sale to learn whether you're responsible.) Terms will typically require the buyer to pay.How can I avoid customs charges? ›
What methods are used to avoid customs fees? Customs duty and tax is based upon the total value of the goods. Declaring a value lower than the true cost of goods value could therefore reduce the customs fees. Some customs authorities have duty and tax reliefs for items sent as gifts.Do you have to pay to clear customs? ›
When you bring goods into the US, of course you expect to pay for transportation. But as you plan an import, remember that it also costs money to clear the cargo through US Customs, even when the product isn't subject to any duties.What are the disadvantages of an imported car? ›
- The feel of the car may be different. ...
- Financing can be more difficult (you can probably imagine why – currency conversion, long-distance communication, etc.)
- Pricier insurance, especially if the car is not natively sold in the UK.
- Private reselling an unusual model may be harder if you decide to sell.
While driving your car is almost always cheaper than shipping it, especially for shorter moves, auto transport is a lot more convenient and worth the price if you're moving over 500 miles.How do you avoid car buying mistakes? ›
- Failing to do proper research ahead. ...
- Failing to line up financing before shopping. ...
- Using the monthly payment as the only yardstick. ...
- Shopping at only one dealership. ...
- Waiving the test drive. ...
- Giving in too easily to interest with a particular model.
Private imports are subject to VAT at import which will be charged at the standard rate, currently 23%, on the customs value of the vehicle. Usually this will be the purchase price, plus the cost of transport and insurance, plus any customs duties payable. For further information, see Customs valuation.
Can you buy directly from car manufacturer UK? ›
Either way, you cannot typically buy a car directly from the manufacturer's product line and instead you are likely to go through a car dealership – and there is always likely to be at least one in your area or nearby.Where does the UK import most of its cars from? ›
In August 2022, the increase in Cars's year-by-year imports was explained primarily by an increase in imports from Spain (£71.5M or 38.2%), Netherlands (£41.8M or 41.6%), and Turkey (£16.7M or 25.7%).How much does it cost to import a car from the UK? ›
Importing a Car from the United Kingdom to USA starts at a cost of $1,850 USD with an estimated turnaround time of 30 days, depending on make and model of the vehicle, the nearest departure port in the United Kingdom and whether the destination in the USA is on the east or west coast.How much does importing a car cost UK? ›
Here is a breakdown of how much UK Import Duty and VAT you will have to pay when you buy a new car abroad and import it: Non EC manufactured cars: 10% import duty and 20% VAT for private and commercial imports. Pick-Up Trucks (classified as commercial vehicles): 22% import duty and 20% VAT.Whats the oldest car you can import? ›
If the vehicle is at least 21 years old, there are no EPA compliance requirements upon importation. A motor vehicle that is at least 25 years old can be lawfully imported into the U.S. without regard to whether it complies with all applicable DOT Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).What is a GREY car? ›
Grey import vehicles are new or used motor vehicles and motorcycles legally imported from another country through channels other than the maker's official distribution system. The synonymous term parallel import is sometimes substituted.What year car can I import? ›
Safety, Bumper, and Theft Prevention Standards
As a general rule, motor vehicles less than 25 years old must comply with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) in order to be imported permanently into the United States.
New vehicles can be imported into Pakistan freely by any one against payment of duty & taxes under generally applicable import procedures and requirements. Pakistani nationals residing abroad including dual nationals can import old and used vehicles into Pakistan under the following 03 schemes: Personal Baggage.Can I still import a car from UK to Ireland? ›
If you import a vehicle from Great Britain, you must make a customs declaration. If the vehicle's country of origin is the UK, you do not have to pay customs duty if it is a new vehicle. Customs charges apply to all used vehicles imported from Great Britain.Is it expensive to insurance an imported car? ›
Insurance is normally more expensive for imported cars because insurers see them as 'higher-risk'. This is because they usually cost more to repair, and are often higher-spec, and with more powerful engines, than standard cars.
How much is car tax in Pakistan? ›
|1.||Upto 850 cc||Rs.10,000|
|2.||851cc to 1000cc||Rs.20,000|
|3.||1001cc to 1300cc||Rs.25,000|
|4.||1301cc to 1600cc||Rs.50,000|
Old and used cars, not older than 3 years and other vehicles not older than 5 years can be imported, gifted or brought to Pakistan by Pakistan nationals including dual nationals under three Schemes as explained below.How much is custom duty on car in Pakistan from UK? ›
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) issued SRO 1571(I)/2022 to increase the rate of regulatory duty from 90 per cent to 100 per cent on import of motor vehicles.Is it good to buy imported car in UK? ›
They are often a great type of car to invest in because they are able to provide you with exceptional performance and reliability for a reasonable price. If you are able to buy a used grey import car from a much warmer climate area, then it is likely that the car will have very little, if any rust on it.How much does it cost to change reg from UK to Ireland? ›
If you import a vehicle from UK to Ireland Customs Duty is 0% if the vehicle originated in the UK. If you import a vehicle from UK to Ireland Customs Duty is 10% if the vehicle originated outside the UK, e.g. a EU country or a third country like USA, Japan.