How to Import Audis to the USAby Calla Hummel
Importing an Audi to the United States involves a number of prior arrangements, a lot of paperwork, extra fees and work in order to ensure that the car complies with U.S. safety and emission standards. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to acquire all of the proper documentation.
Importing an Audi
Arrange to ship the vehicle and have the shipping company notify you of the date and port of entry. If the Audi does not have compliance stickers, it will be released from Customs at the port only to a Department of Transportation (DOT)-registered importer.
Check the Audi to see if it complies with U.S. standards (emissions, bumper, safety and theft protection). If your car meets all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions standards, there will be a manufacturer's label on the engine compartment that states compliance in English. If the vehicle meets DOT bumper, safety and theft protection standards, there will be a manufacturer's certification label near the driver's side door. Since Audis are produced primarily in Europe and shipped to the United States, it is possible to find a model in Europe that complies with U.S. standards, but still unlikely.
Find a DOT-registered importer if the Audi does not comply with U.S. standards. The importer will have to make changes to your car before it can be legally imported. If the car is on the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) list of non-conforming vehicles eligible for importation, the process is costly but straightforward. The 80, 100, A4, A6, A8, RS4, S4, A8 Avant Quattro, RS6, RS6 Avant, S6, S8 and TT models are all pre-approved. However, if you have a model that is not on that list, the registered importer will have to petition NHTSA, which can be a lengthy and expensive process.
Steam clean your car before you ship it. Customs will not allow vehicles with foreign soil into the U.S.
Pay duties to Customs. Cars carry a 2.5 percent duty (2.5 percent of the amount you paid for the car) when imported from Europe (or Brazil or China, where Audi has two small factories).
Check with your state's DMV about temporary tags and vehicle registration.
- Regulations change frequently, so check with a DOT representative and/or the Customs Attache or Commercial Officer at a U.S. consulate or embassy in the country you are arriving from. You may also want to hire a commercial Customs broker to deal with Customs and documentation.
Things You'll Need
- Bill of sale
- Shipper's bill of landing
- Environmental Protection Agency Form 3520-1
- Department of Transit Form HS-7
- Department of Transit-registered importer
- If your car is not on the NHTSA pre-approved list, importing can be expensive or impossible. Talk with a registered importer before buying a new car for import.
Calla Hummel is a doctoral student studying contraband in international political economy. She supplements her student stipend by writing about personal finance and working as a consultant, as well as hoping that her investments will pan out.