U.S. Department of Transportation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
This information concerns the importation of a vehicle (passenger car, truck, trailer, motorcycle, moped, bus, or MPV) built to comply with the standards of a country other than the U.S. or Canada.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsiblefor improving safety on our Nation's highways. As part of the overall effort to achieve this goal, NHTSA develops and enforces Federal Motor Vehicle SafetyStandards (FMVSS) which require minimum levels of safety performance for motorvehicles. A part of the enforcement program is the monitoring of vehiclesimported into the United States to ensure that they comply with applicableFMVSS.

As a general rule, all motor vehicles less than 25 years old, mustcomply with all applicable FMVSS and be certified by the original manufacturerto that effect in order to be imported into the United States on a permanentbasis. Federal law prohibits importation of a motor vehicle not certified asconforming to the standards, except under the conditions prescribed below. The regulations defining the requirements for importing a vehicle can befound at Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 591 (49 CFR 591), " Importation of Vehicles and Equipment Subject to Federal Safety, Bumper, and Theft Prevention Standards."

If a vehicle that is not certified to meet U.S. standards is less than 25 years old and entering on a permanent basis, it must be imported by a Registered Importer (RI) or the importer must have a contract with an RI. A vehicle imported in this manner must enter under a DOT bond. The bond will be released after the vehicle is brought into conformance with all applicable safety standards.

Since the cost of modifications or the time involved to bring a vehicle into conformance may affect your decision, we recommend that these aspects be discussed with an RI before shipping. We have enclosed a list of the RIs in the United States who specialize in converting vehicles from overseas. You may wish to contact one or more to discuss the specifics of your situation.

    Federal regulations concerning emission control devices are underpurview of the Environmental Protection Agency, Manufacturers OperationsDivision, EN-340, 401 M Street SW, Washington, DC 20460, (202) 233-9660.

    Information concerning duty or other Customs matters can be obtainedfrom the Director, Classification and Value Division, U.S. Customs Service,Washington, DC 20229, (202) 927-1133, or the nearest U.S. Customs port.

    For information regarding registration or operation of a properlyimported vehicle in a specific state, we advise you to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles or other appropriate agency in that state since the requirements vary by state.

    Note: Department of Transportation contact is Mr. Luke Loy (202) 366-5308 at the Safety Compliance Office; 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20590.

Registered Importers Who Specialize in European or "Gray Market" Vehicles: