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Buying Your European Car

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Buying Your European Car

Jenny McLane
May 8, 2006

Sometimes, just as luck would have it, the vehicle and the dream machine that you are looking for is entirely perfect. Except for one thing: you can only buy it in Europe. Of course, to do that, you still would have to import it back to the United States. And doing such an act could be quite complicated.

Now, before important a European vehicle, try to ask first the Department of Motor Vehicles about any specific requirements. These requirements could include emissions, temporary plates, and special documentation from customs. Also, it would help if you made sure that the sales contract you have verifies that the car has been built so as to match vehicle standards in the US. This manufacturer’s certification label could be actually found attached to the vehicle near the driver’s door.

Traveling your car to the US would require you to first clean it with any kind of foreign soil. The reason for this is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture would like to keep any harmful pests away from US soil.

Upon arriving at customs, show them the shipper’s original bill of lading, your bill of sale, foreign registration, and other needed documents. You also would have to complete the EPA Form 3520-1 and the DOT Form HS-7.

In a nutshell, if you are buying or thinking of importing a European vehicle, you should keep in mind that the vehicle must comply with the requirements of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If they do not comply, they must be modified. You should also see if the vehicle complies with the vehicle standards in the United States. It should also have a thorough cleaning. You should also have a title and bill of sale. These pieces of information are actually proof that you do own the vehicle. Make sure that you do have a foreign registration as well as other vehicle documents. Do not forget to fill out the EPA and the DOT forms.

If you are worrying though about finding parts for your vehicle, there are auto parts stores that offer such products. Auto Parts Online is one of those and it offers parts for foreign-manufactured vehicles like Kia parts.



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