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Importing a Car from Europe and Abroad to the United States

Interested in importing a car from Europe to the USA? Importing cars from Europe can start at $1,849, but vary based on the port of origin, port of destination, type of vehicle shipped, shipping method (container shipping vs. RoRo shipping), and more.

Whether you want to import a car from Europe, Asia, or other parts of the world, there are a few things you need to know. While US import laws may seem intimidating for first-time vehicle shippers, CFR’s staff is here to help make the process of importing a car to the United States as painless as possible. We are specialists when it comes to logistics for car import (especially classic car shipment) to and from the United States and Europe.

Import Restrictions:

  • Your vehicle must be manufactured in the USA or be over 25 years old unless you intend to temporarily import the car from Europe or abroad. Contact us if you are unsure of where the vehicle was manufactured. One of our shipping specialists can assist you. Please have the full VIN number of the car available so that we can better assist you.
  • Vehicles must comply with U.S. safety, bumper, and emissions standards
    Vehicles manufactured after September 1, 1978 must comply with bumper standards. Theft-prevention standards must be met for vehicles manufactured after 1987. Vehicles that were manufactured to meet these requirements should have an original manufacturer label near the driver’s side door. If the vehicle does not have this label, it must be imported as nonconforming. Thus a classic car may not be exempt from safety standards such as these, as a classic car may have been manufactured before the dates specified in the safety standards.
  • Always check the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) websites for up-to-date regulations before shipping a vehicle to the USA from Europe or another country.

If the vehicle does not meet these requirements, you may still be able to import your car from Europe or abroad. However, the process to import cars that do not meet these requirements may take significantly longer and could be a lot more costly.

Upon Import Car Arrival from Europe/Abroad at United States Port of Entry:

Vehicles must be processed through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) upon arrival. Documents needed by United States Customs and Border Protection to import a car from Europe or another location include:

  • Any other documents covering the vehicle
  • Foreign Registration
  • Bill of Sale
  • Original Bill of Lading
  • Completed DOT form HS-7
  • Completed EPA form 3520-1

For the import duty, an $800 CBP exemption can be applied to the value of your vehicle if:

  • The vehicle was acquired during the trip you are returning from
  • You are a returning U.S. resident (Returning from travel, work, or study abroad)
  • The vehicle returns with you and is brought back for personal use

An import duty rate of 3% will be applied to the next $1,000 of your vehicle after the $800 exemption has been applied. The remaining value of the vehicle receives the regular duty rate.

Importing Cars from Europe to the United States

Whether you are importing a vehicle from our location in Germany, or other European countries, make sure to check out our individual country car import guides for additional information on car imports from the origin of interest. We have many specialized guides for importing motor vehicles to different countries in Europe. Imported vehicles must comply with federal motor vehicle safety standards, including bumper standards and emission standards.

How to Import Cars: More International Car Shipping Guides

If you need additional information or quotes for importing cars from Europe or help with how to import a car to Europe from the United States, we’ve prepared these convenient online international car shipping guides with info specific to importing a car to each country.
These guides for shipping your car include steps when shipping your car overseas to Europe, as well as customs and vehicle homologation info.
Ready to import a car?
Request a free online shipping estimate today.
Don’t see the country you’re looking for? We work with car shipping agents all over the world and can assist you with car shipping to Europe and all your international vehicle shipping needs. Request a quote to ship a car above, or give us a call at 1-888-886-6683.


Is cleaning the undercarriage required?

To prevent dangerous pests from being imported with the car, the undercarriage of the car must be free of foreign soil as required by the US Department of Agriculture. This can be handled by steam-spraying the vehicle or a thorough cleaning prior to car shipment.

How much does it cost to import a car?

The cost to import a car varies depending on the origin and port of entry in the US. Terminal to terminal international car shipping prices can start at $1,849 and go up from there. Factors that affect the cost to import a vehicle include whether you insure your vehicle, require enclosed vehicle transport (for the domestic portion of transit), choose RoRo shipping, private or shared container shipping, or require any additional car transport services. You can request a car import rate using our quote form to quickly figure out your exact car import costs. Our professional car shipping company staff will provide you with a seamless vehicle import experience.

Can you import a new car to the USA from Europe?

The imported vehicle must be at least 25 years old if it was not manufactured in the USA unless it is being imported temporarily. If you are unsure of where the vehicle was manufactured, one of our shipping specialists can assist you. Please have the full VIN number of the car available so that we can better assist you.

Can you ship a European car to the USA?

Vehicles imported to the United States must comply with the U.S. safety, bumper, and emission requirements, Department of Transportation, and EPA requirements in order to make the vehicle eligible for shipping. Cars imported must be manufactured in the USA or be over 25 years old unless they are being imported temporarily. Contact us if you are unsure of where the vehicle was manufactured and one of our vehicle shipping specialists can assist you. Please have the full VIN number of the car available so that we can better assist you with questions about car imports.

Online Quotes - Guaranteed Response within 24 Hours!

Quotes are available online for domestic and international vehicle shipping services. Depend on us for reliable and expedited vehicle relocation services - Our dedicated team of shipping specialists are always a phone call away to answer any questions you may have.

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