How to Import a Car from Japan to USA | Tendata

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ten data blog20-11-2023

The demand for Japanese cars in the USA has been steadily increasing. Importing cars from Japan to the USA has become an enticing option for enthusiasts seeking unique models and high-quality vehicles. This guide will walk you through the process, from purchasing to navigating legalities, shipping, and customs clearance.

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Purchasing from the Japanese Market

When it comes to buying a car from Japan, there are three primary avenues. While online classified websites list vehicles available in Japanese used car auctions, the simplest method is to engage an experienced import broker or dealer in Japan. Although this may incur higher costs, these professionals possess the necessary contacts, knowledge, and expertise to handle the transaction, including filling out required documents such as commercial invoices, Japanese and English export certificates, customs forms, environmental protection agency forms, and department of transportation forms.

A Detailed Guide on Legally Importing Vehicles from Japan

Step 1: Verify Compliance with US Safety and Emission Standards

The first step in importing a car from Japan is to confirm compliance with U.S. safety and emission standards. This is crucial because many cars manufactured for the Japanese market may not meet U.S. standards, rendering them ineligible for legal importation. Verification requires a letter from the manufacturer confirming the vehicle's compliance, and collaboration with a registered importer for necessary modifications.

Step 2: Obtain Necessary Documents

Once compliance with safety and emission standards is confirmed, acquiring the required documents is the next step. This includes EPA forms, DOT forms, and an export certificate. Additional documents covering the import process, such as bills of lading, commercial invoices, and packing lists, may also be necessary.

Step 3: Choose a Reliable Shipping Company

Selecting a reliable shipping company is crucial to ensuring the safe and timely arrival of your vehicle. Look for a company with experience transporting cars from Japan to the USA, and ensure they have a good reputation for reliability and customer service. When formulating your import budget, consider transportation costs and other associated fees.

Step 4: Submit Formal Entry and CBP Clearance

Upon the car's arrival in the USA, you need to submit formal entry and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) clearance documents. This process involves submitting all required documents, paying applicable duties and taxes, and allowing CBP to inspect the vehicle.

Step 5: Pay Gas Guzzler and Federal Taxes

Finally, you'll need to pay any applicable gas guzzler tax for vehicles not meeting minimum fuel economy standards and federal taxes based on the vehicle's value. Following these steps ensures that the process of importing a car from Japan is legal and complies with U.S. regulations.

Cost Breakdown: Budgeting for Importing a Car

Importing a car involves various costs, including the purchase price, shipping fees, import taxes, and modifications to meet U.S. standards. Creating a detailed budget is essential to avoid unexpected expenses and ensure a seamless importation process.

For how to calculate the cost of importing a car from Japan, you can check out this article:


Importing a car from Japan to the USA is an exciting venture but requires careful planning and adherence to legal procedures. From purchasing through to customs clearance and understanding market trends, this guide provides comprehensive insights to help enthusiasts navigate the complexities of the importation process. Following these steps ensures a smooth and lawful experience, allowing you to enjoy your Japanese vehicle on American roads.

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Shanghai Tendata Information Technology Co., Ltd. is headquartered in the Lujiazui Financial District and has been deeply involved in the import and export big data services industry for 17 years. Tendata Shanghai is a comprehensive information service provider that is rooted in the field of international trade, utilizing big data and artificial intelligence as its foundation. We specialize in data collection, mining, application, and services in the international trade sector. Additionally, we offer extended services such as industry consultation and trade facilitation.

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Since its establishment in 2005, Shanghai Tendata has grown to have a workforce of over 500 dedicated professionals. We have provided effective market expansion and marketing solutions, as well as customer management services, to more than 40,000 domestic and international import-export enterprises. Rest assured when using Tendata data as we have an experienced product development team and a dedicated after-sales support department. (>>>Click to Inquire about Tendata Products<<<)

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