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Importing to the US from Ireland


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Please bare with me on this, I have no clue.

My son has a 1993 Yamaha XTZ750 (same motor as TDM850) and was hoping someone would know what is required to import into California from Ireland. He is planning on moving back next year and wants to bring his Super Tenere with him. His concern is he won't be able to license it in the States. Is there other ways to bring it in and still be legal? Might there be a waiver or something he could apply for? Anything would be helpful at this point.


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I don't have the facts in front of me right now so please forgive me if some of this turns out not to 100% accurate.


Depending for how long he has been living abroad, he can legally import a motor vehicle into United States when he moves back here.

There are lot of details involved, how log he lived there, how long he owned the vehicle there, is it used/new, it has to be brought it as part of his moving, etc. etc.


As longs as all those detailed requirements are met, he can register it here legally. There might still be some difficulty with CA DMV and the insurance company, but it can be done.


The sooner he looks into those details the better.



It might be I was completely wrong.


I just took a very quick look into vehicle import guides published by the EPA and US Customs.

It seems that what I said above applies to non-residents moving to united States, not to returning US citizens (unless a diplomat).

My experiences were of course based on the non-resident situation and I incorrectly assumed the procedure would be similar also for a returning US citizen.




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John Ranalletta

Not an expert, but have some experience getting a '73 Ducati registered and titled in Indiana that was imported from South Africa.


The bike will have to conform to all the NHTSA and EPA regulations in effect at the time of manufacture. It will have to pass customs as well.


Just some of the forms in the file:

  • A letter from the manufacturer stating the vehicle conforms to Fed Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
  • Customs Entry Form 7501
  • NHTSA HS7 Declaration Form (Importation of Motor Vehicle & Motor Vehicle Equipment Subject to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Bumper and Theft Prevention Standards)
  • EPA 3520-1 Emission Form
  • Police VIN check (may be Indiana appropriate only)
  • Odometer statement (bill of sale)

I'd visit your local BMV and get a complete list of the requirements for your state.



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I hope your son has better luck than a gentleman I knew. He was an avid motorcyclist who,after losing one leg, put a trike kit on his Goldwing and did great...But he lost the other leg and went into a deep depression until he read about the Conquest trike( designed for wheelchairs) which was made in England.He bought one and it sat in storage on the dock in San Pedro.............Customs,AQMD whoever WOULD NOT let him take delivery of it.He had to ship it back,went into a worse depression and subsequenly died.



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Tell him to sell it and save himself the endless hassle and headaches....I have a friend who is going through this the other way (bringing a Harley to Spain from the U.S.). He said the amount of time and $$ already spent would have allowed him to buy a new bike by now, and he still has no guarantee his will be accepted.

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Contact the agency in your state that is responsible for registering the vehicle- they will tell you exactly what and what doesn't need to be done.

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The CA DMV is famous for giving conflicting advice....


Start here is you really want to see what is required: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffvr29.htm


Here is a direct copy of the relevant section. I am not saying it is impossible but this sure doesn't make it seem like a good idea.


Vehicles Purchased From Out of the Country (Grey Market)


California has special requirements for vehicles imported from other countries (including Canada and Mexico). It may be very costly or impossible to modify these vehicles to meet California emission requirements and/or federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS.) No direct import vehicle less than two years old can be converted to California emission standards. Not all direct import vehicles over two years old can be converted to California emission standards and FMVSS. No motorcycle or diesel powered vehicle can be converted to California emission standards. For details, contact the California Air Resources Board (ARB), or visit ARB online.

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