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What To Know When Returning US Cars Back To The USA

Vehicles exported from the US can be returned back to the states if certain guidelines and conditions are met. We've put together this article to explain why it's not always simple to return US vehicles, which documents and modifications the US government looks out for, and when duties are exempt.

1. In order for a vehicle to return to the US, the engine and drivetrain must be all original and as manufactured. For example, if the vehicle had its engine modified in the US, then it was exported to Europe, and now if the owner wants to return it to the US, the government will not approve the import. The vehicle may not be returned to the US unless it confirms to the US DOT/EPA standards as the vehicle was originally built.

2. If the vehicle was originally registered and had the taxes paid in the US, duties on importing the vehicle back into the US are still likely due unless you meet the following condition. The only legal way to avoid paying duties on the car  when returning it to the US, is if the original owner who registered the car and paid taxes on it, exported it for personal use, and is the party importing it back into the US. If the original owner sold the car to an overseas buyer, and then purchased it back and wants to import it to the US - duties will be due. This is because once a commercial transaction takes place, duties are applicable. 

3. When a vehicle is imported into the US, the US customs office requires a value to be declared for the vehicle. This value will then be used to calculate the import duties. The owner of the vehicle is responsible for determining and stating the value. Be careful with the value estimates, as the US customs office is known to come back and verify the value years after the import takes place. 

4. There is however a stipulation in the law which may allow your import car to be considered as a household good. And because household goods owner for over 1 year can be imported into the US duty-free, some importers attempt to claim their vehicles as a household good. It is ultimately up to the import officer to approve or deny the household good classification for your vehicle. 

Contact us today to get help with importing your car to the United States.