The Requirements You Need to Meet to Import a Motorcycle to USA
The process of importing a motorcycle to the USA is quite strict and has many guidelines you must follow. Not following these guidelines attracts harsh consequences, including your bike being destroyed, seized, exported, or sent to another country. Therefore, if you want to import a motorcycle to USA, it would help to know the requirements you will need to meet to complete the process successfully.
In this article, we will walk you through these requirements so you can bring your motorcycle home without having trouble with the law. You will also learn further details like the involved costs, including the import duty, and even how to export motorcycles from USA. Keep reading to find out more.
Requirements You Need to Meet to Import a Motorcycle to USA
First, you can either import a motorcycle to the country permanently or temporarily. To import a bike permanently, you must be a U.S. citizen, own a business located in the United States, or have a permit to work or live in the country.
If you’re looking for how to import a motorcycle to USA temporarily, you don’t have to be a U.S. citizen. Also, the bike does not have to meet U.S-based guidelines, including bumper, emission, or safety standards. However, the bike cannot stay in the country for more than 12 months.
Once this duration has elapsed, the motorcycle must leave the country immediately. It cannot be sold or passed down to another party.
Different agencies work together to ensure the motorcycles imported into the country meet U.S. standards. These agencies include:
- Department of Transportation(DOT)
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Customs and Border Protection (CPB)
Each one of these departments has requirements that an importer must fulfill for the motorcycle to be eligible for entry.
Requirements From the Department of Transportation (DOT)
The U.S. Department of Transportation specifies guidelines that motorcycles should meet before they are allowed to remain in the United States. The department closely monitors the bike before they can approve it for entry. Also, motorcycles need to conform to the regulations laid down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Some commonly inspected parts include:
- Brake System
- Brake horses
- Rearview mirrors
- Brake fluids
- Reflectors or lamps
- Controls and displays
- Identification number of the vehicle
- Tires and rims
If any of these parts don’t conform to the guidelines, the bike can be destroyed or sent back to the country of origin.
Requirements From the Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ensures the environment remains free from pollution harmful to human health. This department has strict measures that dictate which vehicles and engines can enter the country because these are the major carbon emitters. Here are essential things to know before you import a motorcycle to USA:
- Whether the bike has a catalytic converter or not
- The type of fuel the motorcycle uses
- Whether the motorcycle conforms to the U.S. emission guidelines
- The make, bike model, and model year
As proof, the EPA requires a letter from the manufacturer stating that the motorcycle conforms to all the U.S. emissions, bumper, and safety standards. Without this letter, your bike will not be approved by EPA officials.
The manufacturer must also attach a label to the motorcycle indicating that it complies with all U.S. standards. The EPA does not consider the following as proof that a motorcycle is compliant:
- Passing the state inspection test
- Presence of a catalytic converter
Labels Required by the Manufacturers
To import a motorcycle to USA, you must ensure that the manufacturer marks it with all the necessary labels as specified by the EPA. Without these labels, the vehicle cannot be approved by the EPA or DOT.
These labels should be sturdy, and someone should not be able to remove them unless a motorcycle is destroyed. They should also be written in English and placed near the bike handles, making them easy to spot and read. The information on these labels should include the following:
- The manufacturer’s name
- The month and year of manufacturing
- Gross axle weight rating
- The gross motorcycle weight rating
- The classification of the motorcycle
- The identification number of the motorcycle
Requirements From the Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
To get approval from the CBP clearance officers, you’ll have to file an entry and present the following:
- Payment for the 2.4 % import duty (based on the price of the motorcycle)
- The bill of sale
- Title of Certificate
- CBP Entry Summary Form 7501
- EPA Form 3520-1
- DOT Form HS-7
If your motorcycle does not conform to the above three departments’ guidelines, your only option is to bring it to compliance before importation. It’s the only way it will get approved for entry.
What Happens When a Motorcycle Does Not Conform to the U.S. Standards
The consequences of importing a bike that does not conform to U.S. standards can be extreme. The motorcycle can be destroyed on-site, exported to another country, or returned to the country of origin.
If a person knowingly lies about the compliance of a motorcycle, they are subject to a fine of $10,000 maximum or a jail term that is less than five years or both.
How to Import a Non-Conforming Motorcycle to the USA
There are two main ways to legally import a motorcycle that does not conform to U.S. emissions, bumper and safety standards. Here’s a breakdown of each one of them:
An importer has to get their motorcycle tested, modified, and certified by an Independent Certified Importer. Once certified, the CBP can approve the motorcycle for entry.
You can temporarily import a motorcycle to the U.S. under the Customs and Border Protection Bond, given that the EPA accepts your case as an exemption. Here are the common exemptions:
- Repair or alteration
If on military or government orders, the department may allow you to have the motorcycle for the period of your stay. Once the exempted need has been satisfied, the bike should leave the country immediately or be destroyed.
How to Import a Motorcycle From USA
If you’re confident that your motorcycle meets all the U.S. safety, emission, and bumper standards, it’s time to begin the importation process. But first, you’ll need to find a reputable company to help you import your motorcycle.
The process of importing a motorcycle usually involves three significant steps:
- Transporting the bike from the current location to the port.
- Shipping the motorcycle from one port to another.
- Transport the bike from the entry port to its final destination.
The above steps may be overly simplified. The truth is, there is more that goes into importing a motorcycle, and the fine details may trip up many people. Here are some additional tips that will make the process even smoother.
Get All the Paperwork and Required Funds
Having the correct paperwork ready will save you and the shipping company you’re working with a lot of headaches. Essential documents include the following:
- Your photo ID
- Proof of ownership (Bill of Sale or manufacturer’s certificate or title)
- Insurance proof
- Power of Attorney (If needed)
You must also prepare funds to pay for the import duty and the Value Added Tax (VAT).
Choose the Kind of Transport You Want to Use
You can ship your motorcycle by sea or by air, but the company you’re going for should be in a position to provide you with both options. Air freight will be more expensive compared to ships. However, it is an excellent option for those who need their bike delivered urgently.
In contrast, transportation by ship might take a bit longer, but it’s more affordable. Go for this option if you’re not in a hurry to receive your motorbike.
Discuss Insurance Coverage
Things don’t always go to plan, and that’s where insurance coverage comes into the picture. Ask the shipping company if they have insurance coverage and how much it covers. If they don’t, it’s best to opt for another company with insurance.
Decide How You Want Your Motorcycle Packed
Most motorcycles are stored in crates during shipping to maximize the use of space. Another great option is the use of containers. Containerized motorbike transportation is a perfect choice if importing multiple motorcycles simultaneously. It’s a good idea to speak with your shipping company about your shipping preferences for the bike so that they can make the necessary arrangements.
Decide How You Want Your Motorcycle Dropped Off
Once your motorcycle has landed in the country, you can choose to have the importation company leave it at the port or go a step further and deliver it to your doorstep.
Port-to-port delivery is one of the most affordable options, especially for those importing multiple bikes at once. The motorbikes are dropped off at the discussed entry port, and you can pick them up once the CBP has cleared them.
On the other hand, door-to-door delivery is convenient for those who want a single carrier to deliver to the final destination. However, you will incur additional costs with this option.
How Much Is the Import Duty on Motorcycles From USA?
Value Added Tax (VAT) and import duty should be treated separately because they are unrelated. Generally, you can be charged up to 2.4% import duty for the motorcycle. This figure is calculated based on the bike’s blue book value or purchase price.
How Much to Import a Motorcycle From USA?
The cost of importing a motorcycle depends on various factors. These include:
- The country of origin or shipping distance
- The type of bike
- The shipment method
- The destination port of the motorcycle
- The taxes
- The import duty
- The shipping company
For instance, someone importing a scooter might be charged differently from one shipping a Harley Davidson because these two bikes are different. Not only is one lighter than the other, but one is costlier than the other, too, which can affect import duties.
The price of each shipment is customized, and the best way to estimate how much it would cost you is to get a free quote from some of the best motorcycle shipping companies.
How to Export Motorcycles From USA
The requirements are slightly different if you look up options to “export motorcycle from USA” online. You will have to work closely with the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The department requires you to submit the motorcycle’s export documents to your preferred entry port three days before the day of export.
Once you’ve submitted all the relevant export documents, present the motorcycle at the specified entry port on the day of export. You should bring a form for the inspection and the verification of the bike’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Most land ports don’t process motorcycles for export during weekends. Therefore, it’s best to double-check your schedule against the port schedule when dropping off your documents.
The process of exporting a motorcycle from the USA is just as complex as that of importing. Your best choice is to employ a respected motorcycle shipping company to do all the difficult work for you. They will complete all the paperwork and ensure you have everything ready before the day of the export.
Have Your Motorcycle Arrive Home Safe and Sound
With all the regulations and departments you must work with, importing a motorcycle can be a hassle. However, getting a reputable motorcycle shipping company can make the process much less problematic. They will do all the paperwork for you, double-check that your motorcycle meets all the U.S. standards, and help you fill out the clearance forms that different departments require.
If you’re looking for a reputable company to help you import your motorcycle, that’s our specialty here at Cheap Motorcycle Shipping. Reach out to us for more information or get a free quote online so we can start the importation arrangements immediately. If you have any questions, our talent pool of professionals will be happy to answer them so you stay informed at every step.