Temporary plates to drive across U.S.

Issues relating to the purchasing, importing, and inspection of JDM vehicles in Canada

Moderator: mark

User avatar
sailmonkeys
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:28 pm
Member's Photo Album: http://www.delica.ca/Photos/
Vehicle: 1968 VW type 2
Location: san diego

Temporary plates to drive across U.S.

Postby sailmonkeys » Sun Sep 25, 2016 3:19 pm

I can't seem to find any information on driving my Delica from the border in Washington state to my home in Kentucky. I've contacted KY DMV and they seem to have no problem registering it. They will not, however issue a temporary tag for me to drive it across country. I have insurance in the States lined up. I'm under the impression that I can get a 3 day permit and insurance in BC, but what about the rest of the trip? Any suggestions or directions to relevant posts would be appreciated. Thanks

User avatar
Growlerbearnz
Posts: 1464
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:58 pm
Member's Photo Album: http://www.delica.ca/Photos/
Vehicle: Delica P25W
Location: New Zealand

Re: Temporary plates to drive across U.S.

Postby Growlerbearnz » Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:18 pm

So it's a fresh import, unlicensed in BC (as opposed to a private sale)? Could you make it from WA to KY in 3 days?
Nothing says "poor workmanship" more than wrinkles in the duct tape.

Daniel_Stern
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2015 11:06 pm
Member's Photo Album: http://www.delica.ca/Photos/
Vehicle: '91 AA41-DP
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Re: Temporary plates to drive across U.S.

Postby Daniel_Stern » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:14 am

It all depends on what year your Delica is. If it was manufactured on or before the import date minus 25 years ([date] in 1991), then all you need is the vehicle ownership document, completed DOT HS-7 and EPA 3520-1 forms, insurance, and a temporary licence plate of one kind or another. Maybe you can get two 3-day passes, one starting the day after the other expires (which might require more than one trip to more than one license plate office in WA). Maybe you will have to stop in at a DMV in a state along your route and fetch another temporary pass.

If your Delica is newer than that, though, the quick answer is "no way, no how".

Here's the long answer:

The US has more stringent import rules than Canada. To be eligible for permanent import to the US ("Permanent" means "With intent to register for any length of time") a vehicle owned by someone other than a foreign military member or diplomat must:

-Be certified by its original maker as conforming to all applicable US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards as well as the US anti-theft, bumper, and emissions requirements

OR

-Be determined to be substantially identical to the US-spec version of the vehicle, and readily alterable to meet all US specs, in which case it must be imported via a very costly, slow, and uncertain process involving a sRegistered Importer (for safety) and an Independent Commercial Importer (for emissions). This is a nonstarter for a Delica; there is no equivalent US model.

OR

-Be at least 21 years old to be imported without regard to its emissions compliance, and at least 25 years old to be imported without regard to its safety compliance. This is really the only way a Delica or other Japan-market vehicle could be permanently imported to the US. It does not matter if the vehicle is first imported to Canada; contrary to common belief, it is not the case that any Canadian-spec vehicle (or vehicle registered in Canada) is admissible to the US. Even though Canadian standards are very similar to US standards, there are still differences, and some vehicles originally certified as complying with Canadian standards are not admissible to the US. A Japan-market vehicle less than 21/25 years old being imported from Canada would face the same immediate rejection as a Japan-market vehicle less than 21/25 years old being imported directly from Japan. Keep in mind, these are Federal requirements we're talking about here. Whether or not the vehicle would pass (or be put to) a safety inspection or emissions test by any particular state is irrelevant.

You may think your local DMV is happy to register the vehicle, but you and they are probably wrong about that, and the answer is likely to change for the negative once they actually see the vehicle and its documents. While Kentucky does have three countries (Canada, Germany, Switzerland) it accepts registration transfers from on a regular enough basis to put them in the FAQ, in each case a Customs-accepted HS-7 form is required. (Again, that's one of the two you must submit to Customs; the other is EPA 3520-1, even if the intended state of registration isn't going to look at it) declaring the vehicle is legally eligible for import to the US. Other countries are "Call the DMV", but you can take it to the bank that an HS-7 is going to be required in every case. Since the vehicle in question is _not_ legally eligible for import to the US, this is a nonstarter.

Take a careful look at all the text on those forms. The 3520-1, for example, says Any person who knowingly makes any false or fraudulent statement, or omits or conceals a material fact can be fined up to $250,000 or imprisoned for up to 5 years, or both (18 USC 1001). Any person who improperly imports a motor vehicle (including a motorcycle) or engine may be fined up to $32,500 per vehicle or engine (42 USC 7524), and may be subject to forfeiture of the entire importation bond, if applicable (40 CFR 85.1513), and the U.S.Customs Service may seize the vehicle or engine (19 CFR 162.21).

But let's say you somehow manage to get your (necessarily falsified) HS-7 through Customs and bring it to Kentucky: your plans still risk falling through for a few reasons. An unmodified Delica violates several aspects of Kentucky's vehicle code. Most of that can be worked around with appropriate modifications. But since the only way to get the vehicle into the US is to sneak/smuggle it in, the vehicle remains subject to confiscation and destruction by US Customs at any time, even once it's got a license plate. It does happen, too (links picked from many other cases).

Maybe you think the risk is worthwhile, and manage to talk the car's way into the US and get it registered. You still face other risks: cancellation of the registration when your state's DMV does a periodic or targetted audit and discovers the nonstandard VIN of this Japanese-market vehicle. Inability to register the vehicle if you move to a state (there are many) with more proactive screening for improper vehicles. Cancellation of the insurance when your insurance company finds or figures out the vehicle doesn't meet US safety standards -- probably following an insurance claim. Then your life goes crapwise in a very big hurry, because Kentucky and/or your insuror is definitely going to alert CBP, and you'll be contending with the uninsured crash and the feds, too.

All in all, in the unlikely event you get the vehicle into the States, it's not certain that it would be seized, but who the hell wants to be looking over their shoulder all day, every day about it? And seizure of the vehicle would be just one aspect of the badness that will happen. False declaration to a Customs official is a very big, very serious Federal crime in itself, whether we're talking about a car or a tangerine or drugs or whatever.

No matter how it's sliced, getting an "underage" foreign-spec vehicle into that country requires committing at least one serious Federal crime (maybe more—VIN tampering is its own serious Federal crime, for example), which means it is not a practical or smart idea.

For more information (i.e., confirmation of the above), see here, here, and here for the official language, and here and here for real-world accounts of that official language's practical effect.

Furi
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:00 am
Member's Photo Album: http://www.delica.ca/Photos/
Vehicle: 1990 L300
Location: Queens, NY

Re: Temporary plates to drive across U.S.

Postby Furi » Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:42 pm

I also had the same issue; drive from BC to US east coast. I looked at DMV sites at a few states that I was going to drive through. Most stated that a temporary registration/plate from the state is needed when entering the state. Obviously this would be very difficult if you are just driving through. I ended up driving with the original canadian registration taped to the rear window and front windshield; to at least show its a newly purchased car, and drove the 5 days back home. After crossing border in WA I had a cop car right on my tail on a stop light but thankfully no issues. I had insurance and proof of sale with me as well in case I got pulled over.

The 3 day BC temp registration should be very helpful. I think as similar to other cars bought in US having proof of purchase/ownership and insurance it would be ok to drive for a short period of time across state lines with intent to registering the car. Think the cops on state highways are somewhat mindful of this. But at the end it all depends on the officer. If they want to enforce the law to the T then it could be an issue. I think making sure everything with car is ship-shape; not having burned lights, etc.. and keeping with speed limits; which the Deli shouldn't have a problem with :) would reduce that chance greatly.

User avatar
sailmonkeys
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:28 pm
Member's Photo Album: http://www.delica.ca/Photos/
Vehicle: 1968 VW type 2
Location: san diego

Re: Temporary plates to drive across U.S.

Postby sailmonkeys » Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:26 pm

Thanks for the replies. Build date is Oct. 1990, so no problems there. Private sale. the car has been registered in BC for a couple years. I'm going to try to get an extended temporary tag and if not, just do as Furi said and keep the temps visible, have the van in good shape (Coombs is dialing it in for me) and hope that if I get pulled over, the officer has had a good day :-)

Furi
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:00 am
Member's Photo Album: http://www.delica.ca/Photos/
Vehicle: 1990 L300
Location: Queens, NY

Re: Temporary plates to drive across U.S.

Postby Furi » Wed Sep 28, 2016 9:19 pm

Just don't do this with your RHD car and hopefully you will be ok... :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_akwHYM ... fkT3ngH08s

User avatar
sailmonkeys
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:28 pm
Member's Photo Album: http://www.delica.ca/Photos/
Vehicle: 1968 VW type 2
Location: san diego

Re: Temporary plates to drive across U.S.

Postby sailmonkeys » Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:02 pm

ouch!

Furi
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:00 am
Member's Photo Album: http://www.delica.ca/Photos/
Vehicle: 1990 L300
Location: Queens, NY

Temporary plates to drive across U.S.

Postby Furi » Sat Oct 15, 2016 7:08 am

How is it going? Did you make it home ok?


Return to “Import, Inspection & Registration”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests