How to Ship a Used Mini Cooper to the US

by Mark Wollacott
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Mini Coopers are small cars manufactured in Britain. They were produced in Britain between 1959 and 2000. In 2000 BMW launched the BMW Mini. While Mini Coopers can be bought in America, many are also imported from Britain, Canada and other countries. There are rules and procedures that need to be followed when shipping and importing anything of size and value. Importing a used Mini Cooper into America is not an easy task because of these laws and federal requirements, so be prepared.

Step 1

Request all the information you can about the used Mini Cooper. Request the vehicle identification number (VIN), service history, tax records and general manuals that come with the car. Many countries also require annual road worthiness tests, called MOTs in Britain. In this case you should ask for the car’s MOT certificate. If the Mini Cooper is being shipped from Britain you should also request its V5 Vehicle Registration document.

Step 2

Contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about importing a Mini Cooper. America has strict importation laws for foreign cars. You will most likely need to fill in EPA form 3520-1 and declare code E. However, this might change depending on your circumstances. The EPA will be able to tell you if you can import the car and what form(s) you need. Cars imported 21 years or more after they were manufactured do not need to meet EPA emissions requirements. For example, a car manufactured in 1991 can be imported in 2012 and a car manufactured in 1992 can be imported in 2013. All models under 21 years of age must meet the requirements.

Step 3

Complete the Department of Transportion (DOT) HS-7 form. You need this form to clear your car through Customs once the EPA has approved your import. You will need to know the port of entry, customs port code, make of the vehicle, when it was made, when it is entering America, the importer’s name, description of the vehicle’s equipment and the vehicle identification number.

Step 4

Clean the car if you are in the other country prior to shipping it. If not, ask the person who is selling the car to make sure it is completely clean. This is required in order to prevent the entry of foreign soil that may come with the imported vehicle. This helps guard against infestations that may be brought about by pests that may come with the soil in the undercarriages.

Step 5

Arrange where you will conduct the customs formalities. In theory customs procedures should take place in the first port of call. However, if this is inconvenient for you, you may hire a freight forwarder to bring the vehicle to a more convenient customs port. The duty for a Mini Cooper will be that of a standard car, so about 2.5 percent of the purchase price.

Step 6

Find a shipping company such as Auto Car Shippers, or A-1 Auto Transport and arrange to have the car shipped to you. Once you have all your documentation you can arrange for the shipping company to bring the vehicle to you. This will entail arranging for the shipping company to pick the vehicle up in the other country and bring it to the USA.

Step 7

Check the car before using it to make sure nothing has been damaged during the journey.

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