Importing a car from China to the USA can seem difficult and complicated, but CFR Rinkens can help. Below, we’ll explore everything you’ll need to know before deciding to import your vehicle.
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Want more information on car import services to the USA from China?
Read on below for our China to US Vehicle Import Checklist, Determining Vehicle Eligibility for Import to the USA, China to US Car Import Costs & Time Frame, US to China Vehicle Import Options, Ports Served in the US & China, and other details on how to Import Car from China to USA.
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China to US Vehicle Import Checklist
Here’s a rough breakdown of the process you’ll need to go through to import your vehicle to the United States.
More information on the process of importing a vehicle to the United States can be found here.
Determining the Eligibility of Your Vehicle for Import to the United States
As you engage in the vehicle import process, some of the most important questions to consider include:
These questions and more will determine the costs to import the vehicle to the US, whether your car is eligible for import to the United States, and finally, whether you will need to go through additional steps to make your vehicle eligible for import. In some cases, such as temporary import for racing or other purposes, the usual standards may not apply. CFR Rinkens can help you through the process of determining what will be required to import your vehicle.
Conforming vs. Nonconforming Vehicles
Generally, if a vehicle already meets the requirements for import to the United States, it is because that model was originally designed for export and sale in the United States, or was manufactured in the United States for domestic sale. As such, nonconforming vehicles are required to be modified to meet all applicable FMVSS and EPA emissions standards.
Things to Consider
If your vehicle conforms to these standards, it will bear a manufacturer’s label on the engine compartment attesting to its compliance to emissions standards in English, as well as a certification label near the driver’s side door confirming that it complies to safety, bumper and theft prevention standards. You will need to complete EPA form 3520-1 and DOT form HS-7 attesting to your vehicle’s compliance. Additionally, you will need the shipper’s or carrier’s original bill of lading, bill of sale, foreign registration, and other documents covering the vehicle, to be provided to your Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) inspector.
If your vehicle is nonconforming, it may still be eligible for import with modifications by a DOT-registered importer, who modifies the vehicle and certifies that it conforms to all applicable FMVSS and emissions standards. Additionally, the importer must post a bond equivalent to one and a half times the dutiable value of the vehicle (in addition to the normal CBP entry bond). A copy of the bond must be provided with the HS-7 form. The same is applicable for EPA, the list is here: EPA Independent Commercial Importers.
A nonconforming car may be shipped from China to the United States under certain conditions, such as re-importing a previously exported vehicle, shipping a vehicle for personal use not exceeding one year, shipping a vehicle as a member of foreign armed forces, diplomatic personnel, or other exceptions authorized by the US State Department, bringing a vehicle into the country for testing, demonstration, or competition, or other special circumstances. CFR Rinkens can help you identify if your vehicle falls into one of these categories to Import Car from China to USA.
China to US Car Import Costs & Time Frame
Using a baseline of a compact car being imported using the roll-on/roll-off method from the Port of Guangzhou to the Port of Los Angeles, our estimate to Import Car from China to USA starts at a cost of $2,000 USD with an estimated turnaround time of 20 – 40 days.
However, the cost to import a car to United States can vary according to factors such as the model and make of your vehicle, your current location, the nearest departure port in China, your shipping method of choice, availability of your chosen services and your final destination. Additionally, you’ll need to consider costs such as storage, cleaning, other vendor fees, and American taxes & duties.
Duties are levied by Customs and Border Patrol before your vehicle is delivered; if you are staying in United States and the vehicle is imported concurrently with your arrival in the country, you are permitted to import a car for up to 12 months without having to pay duties.
Taxes & Duties for Importing Cars to the United States
Generally, foreign-made vehicles imported for personal use or sale are dutiable at the following rates:
Duty rates are based on price paid or payable, and most Canadian-manufactured vehicles are duty-free. If you are a resident of the United States returning to the country from travel, work, or study abroad, you may apply your $800 CBP exemption, and those of accompanying family members, towards the value of the vehicle under the following circumstances:
To obtain an estimate of the cost to import a car to the United States, fill out our free quick quote form. We guarantee a response within 24 hours.
China to US Vehicle Import Options
Import Car from China to USA can be performed using a shared container, a sole container or a roll-on/roll-off service.
Roll-On/Roll-Off – Best for working vehicles, as your auto will be driven onto the delivery vessel and secured for transport in a huge freight zone, similar to a parking structure. The main added expenses are customs clearance charges and taxes, making this our most budget-friendly alternative.
Shared Container Service – Several vehicles are stacked together in one 40 ft. container utilizing our industry-leading steel loading system. Although there are extra charges compared with our Roll-On/Roll-Off service, you’ll share the additional expenses of delivery in a safe encased freight container with other vehicle proprietors. Additional expenses include: Trucking and unloading charges, terminal handling fees, as well as customs clearance charges.
*You may encounter a longer hold up before your auto ships out, since the container must reach capacity before shipping. Although there might be a longer wait, you’ll have the additional security of transporting your vehicle in a completely encased container.
Full Container Load – Like our shared container service, your vehicle will be transported in a completely encased 20 ft. container dedicated exclusively to your auto. You’ll have the benefit of not waiting for the container to reach capacity before shipment, but won’t share the additional expenses of terminal handling, and added unloading charges with other vehicle owners. There are many benefits that outweigh the added cost of container shipping, including added security and protection from the weather thanks to the fully enclosed and secured container.
Our transportation professional will record your vehicle’s condition upon arrival – including the loading process into the container – with photograph documentation which will be accessible online for your benefit. We use an industry-leading steel stacking system that doesn’t depend on obsolete wood and nails, lessening the risk of harm to your car.
After your auto is loaded and secured, the container door will be locked, and its contents won’t be accessible to anybody until its landing in the final destination. Your vehicle will be secured in a completely encased container, we welcome you to pack and transport extra things inside the vehicle. Nonetheless, please ensure everything is secured safely, as we won’t be in charge of damages or loss of any sort. Once your vehicle touches base at its final destination in the States, the container will be opened by our operators, who will record the vehicle’s condition and unloading process with photograph documentation.
*In contrast with our Roll-On/Roll-Off Service, container transportation will be more practical, thanks to our frequent weekly departures.
Sourcing Vehicles – Put our many years of experience in the auto shipping industry to work for you! Our extensive network of auto buyers is ready to help customers abroad purchasing vehicles, for a nominal fee.
Other services – Some of the auto transport services we offer in overseas territories include domestic pickup, vehicle import assistance, tracking of your shipment, customs clearance in the USA and a full vehicle inspection report.
Ports Served in the US and China
Departure Ports – China
The location your vehicle will depart from depends on the method of car shipping to the United States, where your vehicle is located, your budget and which services the nearest port offers. Here are the China ports we can import your vehicle from:
Destination Ports – United States
We are able to import into any port in the USA, with CFR facilities in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Miami, Oakland, and Charleston.
Cleaning Your Vehicle’s Undercarriage
Before importing your vehicle to the United States, the undercarriage must be cleaned and free of foreign soil to prevent the introduction of invasive plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms. This can be accomplished through steam cleaning or other thorough cleaning methods.
CFR Rinkens can assist with finding an appropriate cleaner to help ensure you comply with this requirement.
We do not recommend washing the interior of the vehicle as it can cause mold during transport. Vacuuming the interior is usually more than sufficient.
Driving Your Vehicle in the United States
Before driving your vehicle in the United States, ensure that both you and your vehicle comply with US licensing and registration laws.
Requirements differ based on your citizenship status and the length of your stay in the United States.
Your imported vehicle should bear the International Registration Marker, and you may wish to consider acquiring an International Driving Permit (IDP) if you are a foreign national.
Other China/US Shipping Options
This information was updated in September 2018. All information, time frames, pricing, and regulations are subject to change. Please contact a sales representative for the most current rates and information.