So you've found this great motorcycle, for a great price, and you've been staying up nights trying to figure out how to get it into the U.S., title it, and register it for use on the street. You've even thought about taking it apart and shipping it in pieces.
Well, the employees of U.S. Customs, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and each State's Department of Motor Vehicles know all the tricks. Consequently, there are a complex series of challenges to the import of foreign motorcycles that you will first need to satisfy. There are further procedural and legal requirements for obtaining an ownership title and the registration for using it on the public roads.
That's why there are designated registered importers and independent commercial importers who are expert and who have demonstrated experience in navigating these requirements; it's (purposely made) very difficult for an individual to import a motorcycle that wasn't manufactured to comply with U.S. safety and environmental standards
There have been cases of individuals subverting the system, mostly through inexperienced federal and state employees who've made mistakes in applying the rules. You know, you've heard about or seen 2-strokes with license plates.
So, if you think you've got an original scheme to exploit a loophole, here's some suggested reading to start with. If you don't intend to follow the rules you risk losing your bike and being charged with a crime. Also bear in mind that, in most states, the definition of a stolen motorcycle is a bike being held by a person who is not in current possession of the title, or any motorcycle without a vehicle identification number (VIN).
U.S. Department of Customs & Border Protection (USCBP)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Vehicle Importation Regulations
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) Booklet
List of Registered Importers
How to Become a Registered Importer
Registered Importer Newsletters
Vehicle Eligibility List
Vehicle Importation Guidelines (Canadian)
Vehicle Importation Guidelines (Non-Canadian)
Temporary Vehicle Importation Guidelines
Temporary Importation of a Motor Vehicle under Box 7 of the HS7 Form
HS-7 Declaration Form
HS-474 Bond to Ensure Conformance with Motor Vehicle Safety and Bumper Standards
Show or Display: Importing a Vehicle for Show or Display Purposes.
Information for Racing: Importing a Vehicle for Racing Purposes.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Automotive Imports Facts Manual - provides comprehensive information on importing your vehicle
Quick Overview of Vehicle Imports Requirements - provides*a way to quickly identify the EPA requirements for many imported vehicles.
Canadian Vehicles Approved for Import - Canada has harmonized vehicle emission standards with the U.S. and many vehicles made for sale in Canada are eligible for import to the U.S.
Independent Commercial Importers (ICIs) - businesses authorized by EPA to import, modify and test vehicles*to demonstrate conformity with U.S. emission requirements. In order to become a designated ICI you must obtain*a certificate of conformity.
EPA Standard Form 3520-1- Declaration form*used to import vehicles into the U.S.*
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
DOT regulations are in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
Requirements for lights, horns, reflectors, speedometers, noise attenuation etc.
State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
Title Regulations and Procedures
Registration Regulations and Procedures