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registering a German import in the US
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peter
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2003 3:28 pm    Post subject: registering a German import in the US Reply with quote

I need some help. I purchased an 87 doka syncro this past summer from someone living in Canada via on theSamba. The vehicle is currently registered in Ontario. It was imported to Canada from Germany and has the VIN # with the 3 Z's.

I need help registering it in the US. I live in Washington so getting it to the border is not a problem. The registered importers I have talked to tell me it is a gray market vehicle and is very difficult and expensive to register. None wanted to help.

Any one imported one from Europe or South Africa and managed to get it registered?

Man I could use some help.

peter
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Erik G
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2003 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

call your local DMV office. it will need at least a brake and lamp inspection, smog , and safety inspections as well
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Hella Bro
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2003 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whoa buddy!
When I brought my DC in from Canada I needed a bunch of paper work.
- A letter of Compliance from VW
This letter states wether your vehicle complies with Safety/Smog standards of the U.S. (Catalytic converter).
- There is a silver tag in the engine compartment ,I think on the engine lid, that states that it does pass U.S standards. U need this Tag
-Kilometor has to be changed to Speedometor. This is checked at the U.S Border. The vehicle is purchased with the intent to be used in the States rather than Province, Otherwise entry is not permitted.
-Canadian insurance
Canadians keep the license plates off the vehicle. Their insurance is tied in with their DMV. You'll have to purchase enough insurance(time) to get across Border.
-Purchase paperwork must be in order, no liens.
Their is a 15% sales tax charged at the border for this type of vehicle
remember that when you right down your purchase price.
Laws change all the time, I brought my DC down in 1998. Im sure
things have changed slightly. Call the U.S Border for info.
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crukab
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2003 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I brought a '86 Crewcab into Vermont in '02, I had the "sacred" Letter of compliance , the P.O. put a sticker that said "Brake" under the e-brake dash lite, I pre-paid for a 1/2 hour Labor ( 26$) at the local VW dealer to have a speedo that read in MPH installed when I got the truck in, paid 30$ in tax (its 3% of the 1st 1000$, 2.5 %on the rest of the $$ you paid for the Rig, MY bill'o sale said I paid 1000$ Wink )
And that was it !! No one looked at any sticker on the engine lid, or anything other than looking thru the windsheild at the vin. # .
In Vt. I did'nt need a title to registr. a over 15yr. vehicle, so I wrote myself a bill o' sale w/ the vin. #, I had it registered before I picked it up , plus, since it was regstrd. to me , I added to my insur.so it was covered, not that they asked about insurance.
What does Washington require for registration??
I'd do a lot more reaserch before spending big $$, The $$ I pre-paid at the dealer- they let me use it in the parts dept., so it really only cost me 30$ to bring in a 9000$ Crewcab.
Pm me if you want any more info.
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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 12:17 am    Post subject: Re: registering a German import in the US - Hawaii info Reply with quote

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Sharing my trials and tribulations of buying a DOKA of German descent and registering it in Hawaii.

Doka was purchased off ebay with a New Jersey title from a dealer, and was recently imported from Germany. The seller had a picture of ZZZ VIN from the passenger side front jacking point which matched the NJ title. Seller had changed the speedometer from KMPH to MPH So I thought registering it in Hawaii would be a piece of cake. Wrong.

Upon delivery to Hawaii in Jan 2016 I got the DMV runaround. VIN wasn't in the DMV system since it was German, so couldn't get it safety inspected. In Hawaii you first go to a safety inspection which you fail because its not registered, take the rejection paperwork to DMV, and then once its DMV registered you go back to the inspection station and get an inspection sticker - royal pain in the ass. Initially sent to RECON (reconstruction office) in Kapahulu, and over the phone they said I needed to change a few things - front headlights to say DOT, change out rear taillight housing to clear reverse lights (no small task but there is a good DOKA thread on converting the wiring from German to US), speedo which was already done (tho the PO installed a 1600 speedo which is wrong for 2WD and the speed reads 15 MPH or so higher than GPS), tires were too wide so I swapped them for stock tires. So when I got to RECON they rejected it as there wasn't a dash VIN visible from the windshield.

Next step (not intuitively obvious as the process isn't scripted on the DMV website) was to go to HPD auto theft unit (PM me for a phone number) and get a VIN verification. They were able to use the front left pillar and the paint sticker next to the fuse panel, and gave me a VIN verification form and placed a VIN verification sticker on the frame near the fuse panel.

From there it was to the Halawa Cement company to get a $35 weigh in, the inspection station to fail my inspection because it wasn't registered, go back to DMV to get it titled/registered (they were so confused about this one off issue that they called RECON to ask them about the VIN verification. RECON confirmed that HPD VIN Verification trumps RECON verification). DMV ended up giving me the title and registration, but backdating it to when I imported the car four months earlier, and sent me back to the inspection station for my sticker after showing the registration paperwork.

DOKA is now legal in the state of Hawaii, and probably NJ for that matter. Next challenge is to register it in VA as we'll be moving to Washington DC area soon.

Just ordered Hawaii vanity plates 88-DOKA.

RECON said they had a call from another DOKA owner - hope this helps.
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 7:31 am    Post subject: Re: registering a German import in the US Reply with quote

Registering it as an "Antique" vehicle gives you more leeway. Sounds like these guys want your money more than they want to help you.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 6:44 am    Post subject: Re: registering a German import in the US Reply with quote

Alohah3 ... sounds like you had to go through a nightmare.. I am indeed very interested since I am bringing two syncros from spain.
I brought one in last year, with a temporary import permit by the EPA in which i had to agree and SIGN that I would have the van in the states less than one year and would not sell it nor abandon it in american soil. Stupid, but it was okay for my purpose of driving that van from the US to Argentina. So i left the country within a month and all was in order. Ended up selling the van in Chile with zero issues.
Back to topic, now, bringing two syncros with the only intention of selling them here in the US.
I wonder if there is a website (official or not) where we can get all detailed information on importing these dorky looking vans.

Thank you alohah and all participating in this topic.

manel
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Microbusdeluxe
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:39 am    Post subject: Re: registering a German import in the US Reply with quote

I purchased my '89 syncro Westy in 2015. It was originally imported into Canada from the UK. From what I can tell, the only thing added by the Canadian woman who imported it was rear side lights.

It was then imported into the USA (Washington state) by the guy I bought it from. Speedo is still in Kilometers, brake warning light is untouched, it doesn't have a cat, Vin has all those ZZZZs.

From what I understand EPA rules don't apply to a vehicle over 21 years old and the DOT rules fade out at 25 years. Do a google search, there's lots of info on this. The horror stories related above from other Sambanists all seem to be about vehicles that were not 25 years old, so you can ignore them.

http://jalopnik.com/here-are-the-four-legal-ways-to-import-a-car-to-the-uni-1682067632
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bluebus86
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:40 am    Post subject: Re: registering a German import in the US Reply with quote

check the law for the state you intend to register in, some states may have different requirements. the smog nazis may be more strict in some areas than others. good luck
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ryanoceros
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:50 am    Post subject: Re: registering a German import in the US Reply with quote

I imported an '89 Syncro weekender from Germany to WA two years ago. I got my WA title fairly easily. I had my German title translated by Dynamic Language in Seattle (they mail you the translated title). That may not be necessary for you, if there is already an English translated title from Ontario. Anyways, I took the translated title, my bill of sale, and my Customs import papers to Bellingham Auto Licensing, who are used to Canadian imports.

I assume you brought the vehicle from Canada into the U.S. already? If so, you would have filled out EPA form 3520-1 and DOT form HS-7 claiming that the vehicle is exempt because it is over 25 years old. You need these stamped custom forms when you go to register in WA.
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foodeater
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:51 am    Post subject: Re: registering a German import in the US - Hawaii info Reply with quote

alohah3 wrote:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Sharing my trials and tribulations of buying a DOKA of German descent and registering it in Hawaii.

Doka was purchased off ebay with a New Jersey title from a dealer, and was recently imported from Germany. The seller had a picture of ZZZ VIN from the passenger side front jacking point which matched the NJ title. Seller had changed the speedometer from KMPH to MPH So I thought registering it in Hawaii would be a piece of cake. Wrong.

Upon delivery to Hawaii in Jan 2016 I got the DMV runaround. VIN wasn't in the DMV system since it was German, so couldn't get it safety inspected. In Hawaii you first go to a safety inspection which you fail because its not registered, take the rejection paperwork to DMV, and then once its DMV registered you go back to the inspection station and get an inspection sticker - royal pain in the ass. Initially sent to RECON (reconstruction office) in Kapahulu, and over the phone they said I needed to change a few things - front headlights to say DOT, change out rear taillight housing to clear reverse lights (no small task but there is a good DOKA thread on converting the wiring from German to US), speedo which was already done (tho the PO installed a 1600 speedo which is wrong for 2WD and the speed reads 15 MPH or so higher than GPS), tires were too wide so I swapped them for stock tires. So when I got to RECON they rejected it as there wasn't a dash VIN visible from the windshield.

Next step (not intuitively obvious as the process isn't scripted on the DMV website) was to go to HPD auto theft unit (PM me for a phone number) and get a VIN verification. They were able to use the front left pillar and the paint sticker next to the fuse panel, and gave me a VIN verification form and placed a VIN verification sticker on the frame near the fuse panel.

From there it was to the Halawa Cement company to get a $35 weigh in, the inspection station to fail my inspection because it wasn't registered, go back to DMV to get it titled/registered (they were so confused about this one off issue that they called RECON to ask them about the VIN verification. RECON confirmed that HPD VIN Verification trumps RECON verification). DMV ended up giving me the title and registration, but backdating it to when I imported the car four months earlier, and sent me back to the inspection station for my sticker after showing the registration paperwork.

DOKA is now legal in the state of Hawaii, and probably NJ for that matter. Next challenge is to register it in VA as we'll be moving to Washington DC area soon.

Just ordered Hawaii vanity plates 88-DOKA.

RECON said they had a call from another DOKA owner - hope this helps.


That dealer in NJ in known to be a bit shady, there have been numerous issues with his sales, on ebay & bring a trailer. It seems that your Doka was one of the vehicles that was "sold" multiple times on multiple sites.

Link to the BAT auction that is listed as sold, but clearly wasnt since you bought it on ebay. Read the comments.

http://bringatrailer.com/listing/1988-vw-transporter-doka-1-9-tdi-5-speed/
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turbotransporter
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 2:53 pm    Post subject: Re: registering a German import in the US Reply with quote

If it's over 25 years old it should be very simple to import from Canada and register in the US. My 85 Transporter single cab TD was imported from Germany to Canada then to the US without using a registered inporter or having to comply with past or current DOT or EPA standards.
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Steve M.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 7:46 pm    Post subject: Re: registering a German import in the US Reply with quote

Guys...you need to do your research regarding the laws...

https://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/importing-car

https://www.epa.gov/importing-vehicles-and-engines

you'll find a lot if not all the answers through these websites.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:23 pm    Post subject: Re: registering a German import in the US Reply with quote

Steve M. wrote:
Guys...you need to do your research regarding the laws...

https://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/importing-car

https://www.epa.gov/importing-vehicles-and-engines

you'll find a lot if not all the answers through these websites.


I would also add these websites to you list above:

http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/FAQ%20Site/pages/page2.html

http://icsw.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 4:08 pm    Post subject: Re: registering a German import in the US Reply with quote

I imported my '90 California from the UK last November. The van was originally an Austrian import then bought by a Brit and registered in the UK.

The original Austrian registration has the correct VIN of course but the UK got the VIN number wrong on their registration - mistook a Z for 2. After collecting the bus in Galveston, I did all the steps necessary to register it in Texas. First it has to be inspected by the police or sheriff's dept to see if it was stolen. The police inspector gets under the bus to get the VIN off the chassis and comes up with a 3rd VIN. I tried to explain to him that the Austrian paper work had it right but he wouldn't change it - says his eyes don't lie, well OK. So, I go to the county to do the registration. I decided to go with it and let Texas just give me a title with another VIN. I get my Texas plates and told the title will be sent in the mail, I walk out of the place smiling. Well, in late April I get a 'Title Rejection Correction Receipt' - wow! Rejection Correction. I call them up and the clerk tells me that they've sent the paper work to some national vehicle database place and it will take 60-90 days for them to review but I'll get my official title - 'and it will all be OK'. Well see.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:26 pm    Post subject: Re: registering a German import in the US Reply with quote

Addendum...
I also imported a 87 Canadian Syncro Westy last year. No RI required. As a matter of convenience, the seller delivered the van to me from Canada to the US. He drove it to my house, removed his BC plates and I then drove him back to BC in my car with the intention of doing the import paperwork and paying the duty on my return trip back across the border.

When I explained my intention to import and pay the duty to the officer in the booth he directed me to the "inspection area" where I was greeted by a very serious, armed and Kevlar clad man who job was obviously NOT to comprehend the simple and completely legal nature of my request. I politely repeated my understanding of the import rules while noticing out of the corner of my eye that another Kevlar clad officer was approaching with a Kevlar clad dog. Shocked With his eyes on the cusp of bulging, he sternly said "no sir" and further insisted that the vehicle needed to be present and that it needed to be inspected.

Not wanting to irritate him any further, I sincerely apologized for my misunderstanding and assured him I would present the vehicle for inspection at my earliest convenience. I left feeling very fortunate that I was allowed to proceed through the border crossing.

The next day I obtained a 3 day transport permit from my local WA DOL office ($5) and drove the Syncro Westy to the relatively sleepy Customs office in Port Angeles WA. I was greeted with exceptional courtesy by the officer on duty and when I explained the purpose of my visit, he simply said "I can assist you with that".

He asked for an original copy of the seller's Canadian Title and an original copy of the Bill of Sale. I presented both from the file folder I was holding. He then asked for the completed DOT & EPA forms and mentioned that because the vehicle was 25 years old, it was "exempt" but the forms needed to accompany the applications. I slid both completed forms across the counter. He smiled and said "thank you".
I stood quietly as he completed the import duty calculations on a scrap of paper... Finally he asked "are you prepared to pay the duty"? I assured him I was. Then he asked "will that be cash or check"? I offered to provide either, whichever he preferred. He smiled and said "a check will be fine".

He excused himself to the back office to complete the import and duty paperwork on his computer. It took him about 15 minutes to fill out and print the forms and when he returned to the front counter he apologized for the delay offering that "the computer was slow today".

He spread the forms out on the counter and asked me to be sure that he'd gotten all the information right. After I confirmed that they looked good to me, he produced a receipt form for the payment he was about to collect and he filled it out by hand while I wrote out a personal check.

Finally he gathered up all the documents, gave me a copy of each, took my check and said, "many years ago I restored a 60 Bug and a 64 Splittie". This began a lengthy conversation about Bugs, Buses and Vanagons we each had known...

45 minutes later as I headed out the door I remembered what the Kevlar clad officer had said about "inspecting" the vehicle. I turned back and asked my new friend, "do you want to inspect the van"? He thought for moment then asked "where is it"? I said "it's parked near the Diner across the street" and pointed through the open door at the van about a 1/2 block away. He said, "wow, that looks like a nice one" then added "I don't need to inspect it, have a good day".

I don't recommend doing what I did by having the van delivered by the seller. I thought it would save me some time and energy but it simply did not.

I also don't recommend going to the Peace Arch crossing with any Customs business, definitely go to the US Route 543/BC-15 "Pacific Highway" crossing at Blaine where they are fully prepared to process vehicle importation.

I've read about people grossly "under representing" the amount they paid for a vehicle that they intend to import to save $ on the import duty and sales tax. Without judgement, it is not an option I would personally choose to save a few bucks but to each his own. In my case the Customs Officer that processed my importation had a good understanding of the current VW market. I have no doubt that if I'd erased a zero on the Bill of Sale he would have questioned the validity of the Bill of Sale. That would be very bad. My wife and I both have Nexus/Global Entry/Trusted Traveler status with the Dept of Homeland Security/Border Patrol which makes flying and international travel so much more convenient. Break the rules - lose your privileges. They don't give second chances... Crying or Very sad
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RainierSyncro
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:09 pm    Post subject: Re: registering a German import in the US Reply with quote

Man, do I hate the Peace Arch crossing. Coming back into the US through there is like a cold war era border crossing into a Soviet block country. Everybody there is all business and scary. Even the "nice" people there give me the feeling that they could turn on you in a nanosecond and make it a very long afternoon explaining yourself.
In the late 80's, I was in my 914 coming back from Porsche club's Whistler Weekend. The dude gave me one look at told me to park it for inspection. They went through everything look for weed I guess. I didn't want to be too talkative and make them think something's up, but not saying a word might make them think something's up. They seemed disappointed that they could find anything and let me go. We usually hit the truck border crossing to the East which seems better. The Port Angeles station is nice.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:14 am    Post subject: Re: registering a German import in the US Reply with quote

Update on the blue doka - while still enroute from Hawaii to the east coast, I decided to register it with Virginia DMV. As the Hawaii vehicle inspection was still good for a few months, DMV didn't require any other paperwork, and the European VIN was in their system. Title and temporary tags within 10 minutes. Piece of cake. Completely 180 degrees off of the Hawaii experience.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:51 am    Post subject: Re: registering a German import in the US Reply with quote

alohah3 wrote:
Update on the blue doka - while still enroute from Hawaii to the east coast, I decided to register it with Virginia DMV. As the Hawaii vehicle inspection was still good for a few months, DMV didn't require any other paperwork, and the European VIN was in their system. Title and temporary tags within 10 minutes. Piece of cake. Completely 180 degrees off of the Hawaii experience.


How did you do that in regards to residency-are you a resident of Virginia?
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