The internet has expanded the opportunity to buy and sell vehicles online and as a result the importing and exporting of vehicles is becoming more and more commonplace. Sometimes referred to as “Grey Market Vehicles” any vehicle brought into the US from any foreign county including Canada is considered imported however the term “Grey Market” usually applies only to EU manufactured vehicles more than vehicles manufactured in Canada. These vehicles may or may not meet the EPA Emissions standards as well as the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Before considering purchasing an imported vehicle you should consider that there are specific procedures and documents required to title and register these vehicles in Pennsylvania. It is also an important distinction to note that the US Territories of US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, and American Samoa do not need to follow these import procedures.
All vehicles built not more than 25 years ago are subject to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and EPA emissions requirements and imported vehicles need to be in conformity with those requirements in order to be properly titled and registered in Pennsylvania. Foreign vehicle dealers and importers normally make it part of the vehicle purchase contract that the vehicle is certified to comply with US standards and a certification label stating the same should be permanently affixed to the vehicle at the time of importation. As a matter of fact, the dealer or importer should provide their customers with all the required importation and certification documentation needed to apply for titling and registration. It is very important to take note that PennDOT will not accept copies of the documents that the dealer/importer gives to you. That being the case you should prepare in advance to make your own copies of the dealer/importer documents for your records before submitting application and paperwork to the Commonwealth.
PennDOT’s procedure guidelines include 8 different documents (and English translation if needed), proof of insurance and payment of sales taxes and fees that need to be submitted. PennDOT Authorized Online Messengers like 309 Auto Tags will work on your behalf to correctly complete, process and submit the required documents and payments for titling and registration (Service fees apply). Once received in good order and certifying compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and EPA emissions and approved, PennDOT will send your vehicle title, registration, and license plate to your Online Messenger’s office for you to pick up. There are situations when Imported vehicle do not comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and emissions requirements and need to have mechanical work and inspections done to comply. For those vehicles that have subsequently made mechanical changes and comply, PennDOT will issue a “Originally Manufactured for Non-US Distribution title branded with a G”. In either case no Online Messenger or any other Authorized Agent can instantly register and issue a license plate for imported vehicles.
PennDOT publishes a Fact Sheet of Imported Vehicle Procedures that includes the list of required documents, a list of Pennsylvania Ports of Entry, and question and answers FAQ that should be reviewed carefully before importing or exporting your vehicle. You can click on the attached Fact Sheet for details and the Schedule of PennDOT fees below or call 309 Auto Tags (267)954-8247 and we would be glad to answer questions.