Your Ultimate Guide to Importing a Used Japanese Car into the USA


The allure of Japanese used cars, with their renowned reliability, cutting-edge technology, and excellent fuel efficiency, has captured the hearts of many American car enthusiasts. Importing a car from Japan to the USA might seem daunting, but with the right information and guidance, it can be a straightforward process. This guide will navigate you through the regulations, taxes, and recommended exporters to ensure a smooth import journey.

Understanding US Import Regulations

Navigating the 25-Year Rule

In the USA, the importation of foreign vehicles is subject to specific regulations, the most notable being the 25-year rule. This means that a vehicle must be at least 25 years old from its manufacturing date to be eligible for import without needing to comply with certain safety and emissions standards. However, newer vehicles can still be imported under specific circumstances, such as for show or display.

Selecting a Vehicle

When choosing a Japanese used car for import, consider the vehicle’s age, model, and its compliance with US regulations. Ensuring your vehicle meets the necessary criteria beforehand can save you time and hassle during the import process.

Choosing a Reliable Exporter

Partnering with the Best

Selecting a reputable Japanese used car exporter is crucial. Here are five highly recommended companies known for their quality service and extensive vehicle selections:

SBT Co. Ltd.
Be Forward
EVERY Co., Ltd.
Qualitex Trading
Autorec Enterprise Ltd.

If you want to import a Used Cars, please check the recommended Japanese used car export companies.

Top Recommended Japanese Used Car Export Companies for International Customers

These exporters offer a seamless buying and shipping process, ensuring your chosen vehicle arrives in the USA without any issues.

Understanding Taxes and Costs

Budgeting for Your Import

Importing a vehicle into the USA involves various costs and taxes:

  • Import Duty: Generally, the import duty is 2.5% for cars and 25% for trucks and commercial vehicles.
  • EPA and DOT Compliance: Vehicles not conforming to the 25-year rule may require modifications to meet EPA and DOT standards, incurring additional costs.
  • Shipping and Insurance: These costs can vary greatly depending on the shipping method and insurance coverage selected.

Step-by-Step Import Process

  1. Vehicle Selection: Ensure the vehicle meets US import regulations.
  2. Choose an Exporter: Select a reputable company to handle the purchase and shipping.
  3. Shipping: Arrange for transportation, typically via container or Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) shipping.
  4. Customs Clearance: Upon arrival, complete the necessary paperwork, pay import duties, and clear your vehicle through customs.
  5. Compliance and Registration: Ensure your vehicle complies with all relevant EPA and DOT regulations before registering it for use on US roads.


Importing a used Japanese car into the USA is a rewarding process that can bring you closer to owning your dream car. By following the guidelines outlined in this guide, you can navigate the import process with ease, ensuring a hassle-free experience.

If you want to know more details about Japanese used vehicle exporting, please refer to Wikipedia.