How To Purchase A Car From Another Country?

If you’re interested in importing a car to the United States from another country, it’s necessary to meet certain requirements. In this article we’ll discuss what cars you can buy and the specific preparations you’ll need to make beforehand. 

Conditions to Be Met in Order to Import a Car to the United States

Generally, imported cars should meet the following criteria:

  • The vehicle cannot be worth more than $15,000
  • Only private cars are allowed. Trucks, motorcycles, and boats of all kinds are not included.

As always, it’s advisable to get advice from the Consulate or Embassy of the country in your residence. If possible, hire a customs broker in your country to carry out the relevant procedures. It’s always a good idea to really make sure you know the car you’re purchasing inside and out like with any Nissan test drive. If the vehicle does not meet U.S. safety and emission standards, you will have to import it through an independent commercial importer (ICI) to make modifications and be EPA-compatible, or through an importer. Sometimes you have to make security modifications approved by the US before it’s sent to you. Note that some vehicles are not eligible for these importer changes.

Import a Car to the United States by Crossing the Border

If the imported vehicle enters the country by crossing a border, the owner must have the following documentation with them:

  • Temporary entry form issued by Border Customs.
  • Certificate of the original residence.
  • Proof of Migratory Movements issued by Migrations of the United States.
  • Updated ID 
  • Original documentation of the car 
  • Vehicle invoice 

Import Electric or Hybrid Vehicles

Electric Car

Another regulation that the government has recently issued is electric vehicle import. Previously, these vehicles taxed an import tax of 35%. Only automotive terminals based in the country can import them. In this category, vehicles must be powered by electric motors only or those that have an internal combustion engine as an alternative (hybrids). They must be vehicles for private or family use, and passenger transport or cargo are not included.

Import of Classic or Collection Vehicles

Recently, the State simplified the procedures for importing classic or collection vehicles. These must have a minimum age of 25 years, and their value, in the country of origin, must exceed $12,000. The requirements to import this type of vehicles are the following:

  • FOB (Free on Board) value greater than $12,000.
  • Be at least 25 years old.
  • Registration in the Single Registry of the Ministry of Production.
  • Have TAD, (Remote Procedures), extended by the AFIP (can be processed online from the AFIP site)
  • Import Duties.
  • Statistics rates by Port Service.
  • Internal taxes and import tax.

This requirement only applies to zero km vehicles and is not applicable to used vehicles. In some cases, the owner must be the disabled person and the vehicle will be for the exclusive use of the owner.

What Happens After the Car is Ordered?

Here, the patience tests begin. Sometimes, the car does not arrive directly at a port, which means the waiting period can take up to a week. You should expect 30 to 40 days from the moment the car boarded the ship until it touches any US soil. During that time frame, the shipper will receive the invoice and the document to pick up the car.

One last thing! Keep in mind that if you import a car to the United States, the vehicle may not be sold before two years of stay in the country.

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John Miller

John Miller is a cars enthusiast who loves writing anything related to automobiles. He is a passionate blogger writing for and other auto blogs