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Thread: question for anyone who has imported their own car to the US

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2010
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    Litchfield Park ARIDzona
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    question for anyone who has imported their own car to the US

    what should i expect when my car arrives at the port?
    do i need to register the car somehow before it arrives so i can get it to my state, or does the car need to be trailered?

    who are you using for insurance?

    I'm shipping my car through military orders, do i have to pay anything to get the car through customs?

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Orange County, CA. USA
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    Re: question for anyone who has imported their own car to th

    First off what year is the car you plan in importing? What port will it be coming in at? And where do you intend to register it? Have you looked into the DOT requirements and emissions laws for your state?

    Save yourself tons of hassle and hire an import agent/customs broker. There are so many forms and variables that could pop up it's money well spent. One day in delay with the process could cost you more than the agent fees (the fees go up each day your car sits at the port).

    It has been about 10yrs since I imported my last car into California. At that time the port authorities were only concerned about me having title (ownership) of the car. But of course in order to drive it home I had to have my California DMV paperwork in order (at the very least a temp permit) so I would not get pulled over.

    So to answer one of your questions, yes you will need to have some sort of registration/permit in place to drive your car on any public roads (or put it on a trailer). But please make sure the car will be legal where you intend to drive it beforehand otherwise you could be faced with a very big headache.

    I have always had "stated value" policy's with State Farm for my older cars. With a stated value policy you tell the insurance company the value of the car and they will charge you based on that dollar amount. Nothing worse than only having $3k coverage on your JNC that is valued at $12k. Without stating the value the insurance will just think it's and old worthless beater and offer a low dollar amount. I know I pay a premium for being insured by State Farm but in the long run the great service I have received from them makes it a genuine value to me.

    S800M

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2010
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    Litchfield Park ARIDzona
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    Re: question for anyone who has imported their own car to th

    the car is a 1972 skyline.

    its coming in via military shipping. i dont have to pay anything to ship the car, and since its over 25 years old, i wont have to deal with using an RI. i just dont know what happens when it finally arrives. i guess i will have to either buy a truck/trailer, or rent a damn Uhaul.


    not sure what port, i havent had a chance to schedule anything yet, i am moving to Arizona, so i'm assuming it will be a port in Ca.

    my plan will be probably register it in Arizona, or SC (home of residence.. SC has no inspections at all, BUT im building yet another S-Chassis as soon as i hit the ground, and i know it will never pass emmissions, so i may not be able to register more than one vehicle out of state..in which case the Hakosuka will definitely be registered in Az)

    i was considering USAA, i want to switch my banking over to them ASAP, they are just all around better for military, until i moved to Japa, i was a state farm customer for around 15 years, so i know all about them LOL i dont have any problems with State Farm, i wonder if i would still get my preferred customer discounts.. hmmm

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Rancho Palos Verdes CA
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    122

    Re: question for anyone who has imported their own car to th

    Hopefully you have finished the importation by now. If not, years ago if you returned a vehicle through California it usually came through Oakland, don't know if that's still the port of entry. When you took the vehicle to [usually Yokohama] for export under your military orders the local Japanese registry office would routinely remove the plates and remit the unused registration fees for the remaining months on the plates. If so, when you picked up your vehicle California would stick you for temporary paper plates so that you could drive it to your state where you were assigned. Today this might involve inspection etc. However! If you declined to have your Japanese plates removed and declined to have the fees rebated, you could ship the vehicle with plates attached. Those plates, your Japanese registration paperwork and your military orders got you the right to drive off the port of entry, leave California and proced to your next station. Hope this does you some good!

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