Rules and Regulations for Importing Japanese Cars into the United States

tendata blogImport News

ten data blog20-11-2023

Enthusiasts are importing Japanese-market cars into the United States with increasing frequency, especially as the legal window to register these cars in the U.S. has opened, including many desirable '90s models. However, to successfully import a car, you first need to understand which cars can be legally imported into the United States.


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Types of Cars Legally Imported

Most cars sold in Japan are manufactured specifically for that market and are known as "JDM" (Japanese Domestic Market) cars. The vast majority of these cars are right-hand drive, which is the standard in Japan. Most JDM cars do not meet Federal Motor car Safety Standards (FMVSS), which are required to register a car on U.S. roads. However, there is an exemption from this rule for any car that is 25 years old or older, regardless of its origin. In addition, left-hand drive models sold in Japan by some companies may be easier to import because they meet the FMVSS requirements with similar emissions and safety features as their domestic market versions.



Imported car Options and Restrictions

Several generations of the Nissan Skyline are among the popular JDM cars that are frequently imported, with the R33 Skyline (1993-1998) generation being the one that can be imported this year under the 25-year rule, while the R34 generation will be eligible next year. cars can also be imported using the "show and display" exemption, which is designed to showcase cars that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) deems to be of significant historical value or technical achievement. However, these cars are subject to stricter restrictions on where and how they can be driven.



Cost of Shipping a Car from Japan to the United States

After successfully selecting and purchasing a Japanese car that meets the regulations, the next key issue is to find out how much it will cost to ship your car.


The costs include:

· Car Purchase Price: You will first need to pay the purchase price of the car.


· Export Agent Fee: This includes inspection, purchase, transportation to the port, write-off procedures, mailing of export documents and original paperwork. Fees vary depending on the price of the car.


· Mode of Transportation: The choice of roll-on/roll-off or container will affect the cost of transportation.


· Import Taxes, Customs, Quarantine and Clearance Fees: The cost of importing a car from Japan to the U.S. is approximately $2,000 or more per car, including these fees.


· Transportation costs: Transportation costs from the port are also a consideration.


· Compliance Program and Registration Costs: The cost of ensuring that the car complies with U.S. regulations.


· Duties: Expect to pay about 2.5% of the purchase price in duties.


Cost Factors

The price of an imported car depends on the type of car, size of the car, import taxes, customs clearance fees, compliance procedures, type of transportation chosen for ocean freight, and distance from the origin and destination ports. To get a more accurate estimate of what you will pay to import a car yourself, check Tendata Shipment Data to see what other companies have spent to import Japanese cars and estimate accordingly.


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