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Anytime motor vehicles are imported into the US, they are subject to safety standards imposed by the Motor Vehicles Safety Act.  All vehicles manufactured abroad must conform to strict safety, bumper and emission standards. Bringing vehicles from foreign dealers into compliance isn’t all that straight-forward.  The potential owner of the automobile is required to make the arrangements for shipping. Once the vehicle’s arrival date is set, there’s a process involved for passing the automobile through CBP.  Shipments are cleared at the first port of entry. However, CBP officers are prohibited by law to act as agents for an importer. It may be necessary to hire a commercial CBP broker to handle the process of entry.  To acquire CBP clearance, the shipper’s original bill of lading, the bill of sale, and foreign registration are all required. There are also several forms from the EPA and DOT which need to be completed. Those vehicles that meet all US emission standards will feature a manufacturer’s label on the engine compartment in English.  Any vehicles that fail to meet all emission requirements must be imported through an independent commercial importer (ICI). The EPA will refuse to release the automobile to the owner until the ICI work is constantly completed. When brining foreign vehicles into the country, there is also the threat of the importation of dangerous pests.  The US Department of Agriculture is therefore involved in the importation clearance process. The US Department of Agriculture demands that the undercarriage of imported vehicles be entirely free of foreign soil. The automobile needs to be steam-sprayed prior to shipment to ensure thorough cleaning.

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