How to import a car from Japan | Step by Step Guide

How to import a car from Japan

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    Importing cars from Japan appears to be a demanding task with a variety of facts to absorb. Because the languages are so diverse, it can be tough to come up with a good illustration (depending on what you are looking for).

    You can hire somebody to handle this for you, however, it might add to your costs, so we’ve put up an outline that covers everything you could want to understand about how to import cars from Japan.

    How to import a car from Japan

    The very first step is to learn about your nation’s policies and requirements for used car importation.

    Make certain that the shipping organization eliminates the air conditioner’s gases and detoxifies the vehicle of filth, parasites, and dangerous chemicals. 

    This article shall completely cover importing procedures, starting from finding an automobile to choosing the correct vehicle, ensuring it is in perfect working order, to eventually transporting the vehicle into your own nation.

    Is it easy to import a car from Japan?

    Importing a car from Japan may appear to be a difficult task, however, it is not. Finding a local importer or organization that provides entry to Japan auctions markets is the simplest and also most usual option.

    After that, you can collaborate with them to choose an automobile that suits your needs.

    After you’ve completed that, the rest of the procedure is rather simple and uncomplicated. Make the decision on a price range and the importer or corporation would submit a bid on your behalf.

    If your bid is successful, the exporting organization then will purchase as well as payment for the vehicle. The auction value will then be invoiced to you, together with extra charges such as shipment and insurance.

    The corporation would also charge its own service charges, after which the car will then be exported and transported to you.

    Can anyone import a car from Japan?

    Yeah obviously, anybody can import cars from Japan. However, if you are from the United States, you should take the following into consideration.

    Can anyone import a car from Japan

    To begin, if the car is above 25 years old, you can acquire it through any licensed United States importer without any kind of issues.

    If somehow the vehicle is less than 25 years old, it must be on the authorized listing of vehicles for importation into the United States.

    You’ll need to engage an actual importer when you’ve already confirmed that it is on the list.

    They will import the vehicle, transform it to USDM safety and emissions requirements (including USDM legitimate headlamps, reverse lights, fenders, glass panels, appropriately tinted reflectors, ODB requirements, and many more), certify the vehicle, as well as issue United States VIN number as well as a certificate of origination so that you really can legally register the vehicle in your city.

    Are cars cheaper in Japan?

    One simple fact is undeniable: secondhand automobiles from Japanese online automobile auctions and dealerships are one of the least expensive in Asia.

    Automobiles in Japan depreciate quickly due to the regular introduction of different car models to the Japanese automobile market. This is why the antiquity Japanese automobiles owned by the inhabitants are auctioned at such cheap fees.

    But besides that, it really is part of their tradition to take excellent care of their belongings. This seems to be why there are so many low-cost, well-maintained old models available.

    As residents continue to purchase new models, the Japanese second-hand car market continues to grow, with pre-owned automobiles available at bargain prices.

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    How to Import a Car from Japan Best Guide 2022.

    The procedure is almost comparable whether you’re importing a car from Japan to the United States, Australia, or Canada. A simple guide on “how to import a car from Japan” may be found below.

    • Choose the automobile you really want and calculate the amount you wish to pay on it in totality.
    • Select somebody who you can trust in Japan to seek, examine, and purchase the automobile for you, then deregister it and ship it to your preferred seaport.
    • Whenever the automobile needs to come, keep a close eye on the ship and make sure you settle all of the proper freight, taxes, and harbor costs.
    • If you want, modify the speedometer, and plan further conversion works based on the vehicle’s age as well as the tests that will be needed.
    • Install registration plates and register them with all necessary authorities. After that, you can go out for a cruise across the city.

    The above overview provides a high-level description of the importation procedure. It’s prepared with the premise that you’ll be handling everything independently.

    Even though some nations include additional restrictions and regulations that apply to importing cars from Japan, which necessitates extra documentation. 

    How to Import a Car from Japan to Australia. 

    While the demand for Japanese aficionado automobiles grew in Australia, so did the majority of other Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) models that were readily accessible at affordable prices.

    These included expensive luxury people-movers and comparatively tiny whimsical microcars. Considering Australia is such an island nation, it imports a lot of things and also has a lot of industries that can oversee importing automobiles.


    All of this started to change in the late 1990s when its central government decided to impose strict controls on the different kinds of automobiles that Australia could import, making the whole thing even more expensive and time-consuming in order to safeguard the local original car market and ensure that high-quality vehicles made it onto Australian roads.

    Japanese imports were regarded to be overly expensive for the new automobile industry, and Japanese vehicles for sale have been alleged to have been fraudulently acquired.

    Importing cars produced prior to January 1, 1989, was largely unrestricted, but circumstances were significantly otherwise for cars made after that date.

    The Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle Scheme (SEVS) prohibited Aussies from purchasing automobiles that are on the market in Australia, but still, it did enable people to import specific models some of which were uncommon or fundamentally dissimilar from those on the market.

    Authorized automobiles were listed on a Database of Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicles, and they may be imported and lawfully registered in Australia after undergoing modifications at an Accredited Automotive Workshop (or RAWS) which also brought the vehicles up to Standard requirements for cars in Australia.

    This same RAWS will place a specialized conformity sticker on the vehicle, indicating that it has already been correctly imported and deemed legal to be used on Australian roads.

    This is significant since there are several techniques of importing cars to Australia, but most of them cannot be authorized for highway use and are only legitimately permitted to stay in Australia for a limited period of time (referred to as a Carnet De Passage).

    Smaller and cheaper supercharged four-cylinder shipments such as Nissan’s Silvia/180SX, Subaru’s Legacy GT, and Mitsubishi’s RVR and Galant VR-4 were incredibly popular in the day but now they decided to offer sincere sports car efficiency for a quarter of the price of the latest Lamborghini or Aston martin, whereas the low-volume Enthusiast oriented shipments like Nissan’s world-famous Skyline GT-R or Toyota’s JZA80-series Supra were increasingly worthwhile back in the days because they guaranteed legitimate sports car productivity for youngsters. 

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    Rules and regulations guiding Importing cars from Japan to Australia. 

    The Indian and Pacific Oceans encircle Australia, which makes it a unique country. It focuses on trading used cars from Japan. However, there are several requirements and guidelines to keep in mind while importing used Japanese cars into Australia.

    1. Restriction on age.

    Whenever it comes to importing a car into Australia, the age of the car has no relevance since there are no age restrictions.

    2. Ports of entry.

    Because Australia is not a landlocked country, there are numerous ports in which secondhand automobiles can be shipped.

    The harbors of Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Fremantle, Melbourne, and Sydney are the principal destinations for used automobiles. Vehicle transportation is often done using the Roll-on Roll-off technique, but container shipment can be provided if necessary.

    3. Right Hand Drive.

    Only right-hand driven automobiles which are already fifteen years old or older on the day before the landing are allowed into Australia.

    Who has the authority to import?

    • The importer must be at least 18 years old.
    • The importer must be a resident of Australia.
    • Importing vehicles is possible for migrants with permanent residence in Australia.
    • Any car that is 15 years old or older the day before it arrives in Australia may be imported by the importer.
    • The importer must have acquired and driven the automobile for a minimum of twelve consecutive calendar months outside of the country. 


    • Where necessary, you must pay import taxes, GST, and luxurious car tax, as well as acquire immigration certification.
    • For the car you would like to import, you would need to have a legitimate VIA.
    • Ascertain that the broker has received all of the necessary documentation.
    • Cars with high prices may be subject to a luxurious vehicles tax.

    How to Import a Car From Japan to Canada. 

    People these days import cars from Japan to Canada for a wide range of reasons. Apart from either the excellent level of management and reliability of the units, as well as the low costs, there are several viable options to pick from.


    Make certain you’ve explored all of your bases as well as conducted your investigation before making the purchase.

    Even though you want a transaction completed as soon as possible, you should always be cautious while purchasing a product. ‘Caveat Emptor,’ as the proverb goes, denotes “let the buyer beware.”

    To avoid headaches while buying a car, do your homework to save money. When it comes to delivering your automobile, there is indeed a lot of ground to cover. Because there are two nations participating, there seems to be a lot of documentation to be completed.

    Apart from some limitations, imported cars in Canada must be at least 15 years old; yet, when importing cars from Japan into Canada, you can indeed expect a fantastic deal.

    It is, in fact, among many of the best in the world. To speed up the process, double-check all of the relevant agencies involved in the transaction.

    Together with actually going through all the government, don’t forget to bring the file folder, which contains your new car’s registration number, license number, and invoice of purchase. Verification and formality necessitate the use of these papers.

    It’s highly enticing to import cars from Japan into Canada. In comparison to shopping locally, a consumer can still save up to 30%.

    The disadvantage is that solely knowing it is an imported vehicle, insurance providers may raise or even treble the premium. However, an increasing number of businesses are now providing Japanese imports at reasonable rates. Examine the market for the greatest deals on Japanese imports.

    Credit cards are the most commonly advised method of payment when importing a car from Japan into Canada.

    Frauds as well as other issues with your transaction will be protected by banking institutions. Shipments, inspections, and tests, as well as a brokerage if available, are all services that must be paid for.

    Rules and regulations guiding Importing cars from Japan to Australia.

    It’s crucial to understand the import restrictions and requirements well before deciding to bring your ideal car to Canada. Also, it’s crucial to understand which ministries are responsible for regulating automobile importation in Canada.

    Restriction on Age.

    Used Japanese cars must be at least 15 years old before being imported into Canada. Vehicles that are less than 15 years old are not allowed to be imported. The month and year in which a car was manufactured signify its age.

    If the car being imported is a race car, there is an exemption to the age limit. The importer must present a document from the manufacturer confirming that the car is intended solely for competition and specifying the sort of competition.

    Ports of Entry.

    The country of Canada is not really a landlocked one. Used Japanese cars can be brought into Vancouver or New Westminster via the ports.


    Canada Border Services Agency conducts a soil examination on the day of car entry.

    Customs Clearance Documents. 

    The following is a list of documents that must be presented to customs officials for any car imported from Japan to Canada.

    • Purchase Agreement.
    • A bill of lading: This is a legal document that describes the goods that are being transported. 
    • Certificate of Deregistration.
    • Certificate of Export
    • Certificate of Export transcribed into English

    If the owner is handling his own customs clearance and the car has arrived, the owner would also need:

    • Abstract of Cargo Control.
    • Form for requesting approval for a release.
    • Soil/agricultural evaluation release proffered by the Canada Border Services Agency.

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    How to Import a Car from Japan to the USA. 

    Japanese vehicles are one of a kind. They are not only creative but they are also built to last.

    Many people import brand new and old Japanese automobiles into the United States as well as other countries of the world because they are produced with cutting-edge technology.

    How to Import a Car from Japan to the USA

    In the United States, Japanese automobiles are extremely popular. The majority of American buyers recognize them as well-made and dependable vehicles. They have a good resale value as well.

    The expense of importing cars from Japan to the United States is determined by the suppliers you select as well as the cost of production.

    Make sure you do your research to ensure you’re buying the best Japanese automobile for the best return. 

    You don’t need to travel to Japan to purchase an automobile because of technological advancements.

    However, comparing several internet companies to find a reputable importer and ensuring that the car you choose is twenty-five years old or older and meets US criteria before importing it can be a daunting task.

    Double-check if the car carries two valid stickers—one from the Department of Transportation and the other from the Environmental Protection Agency—prior to importing to prevent any additional issues.

    The first is lodged on the driver’s side door handle, while the second is lodged on the car’s engine. 

    You must receive a certificate from the vehicle manufacturer if one of the stickers is missing from the vehicle. The certificate must say unequivocally that the vehicle complies with US automobile import regulations.

    Fill out the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) form, which can be found on the internet and must be completed before the car is imported.

    To achieve this, you’ll require accurate information on the car’s brand and model, as well as its current status and usage.

    Also, before importing, fill out the whole Department of Transportation (DOT) form, which you can also download online and submit ahead of time. You’ll need to know the exact date of your car’s arrival and the location of arrival in the United States.

    It’s worth noting that if the car you’re intending to import is 25 years or older, it’s exempt from DOT and EPA regulations.

    To obtain a certification from Customs and Border Protection, you must still complete the necessary paperwork by the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.

    Another typical method of importing cars from Japan to the United States is to do so on a temporary basis.

    There are no vehicle modifications required with this type of import. The disadvantage, in this case, is that the car must leave within one year of entering.

    Rules and regulations guiding Importing cars from Japan to the USA. 

    It’s critical to consider the import restrictions and requirements before intending to import your ideal car into the United States. It’s also crucial to understand which departments in the United States are responsible for regulating car imports. 

    Restriction on Age.

    If a car is 25 years old but still runs on its original engine, it can be easily imported without having to fulfill United States regulations. Seatbelts and headlights aren’t available? It’s not an issue. In any case, you can bring the car into the country.

    Despite the fact that federal regulation enables you to import any car over 25 years old into the United States, you must still follow your state’s requirements.

    Despite the fact that some states do not examine imported vehicles, others mandate fundamental automotive safety features such as safety belts, shock absorbers, airbags, etc. 

    Ports of entry.

    Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York, Kodiak, Tacoma, San Francisco, San Diego, San Antonio, Houston, Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville, Savannah, Georgetown, Baltimore, and Newport are among the ports where cars from Japan can be imported into the United States.


    Japanese secondhand car shipment does not require inspection.

    Left or Right Hand Drive.

    Imports of both left– and right-hand drive automobiles are permitted.

    Customs Clearance Documents. 

    The following paperwork must accompany any car imported into the United States. 

    • Bill of Lading issued by the freight company.
    • Invoice translated into English.
    • A car title or an export certificate: This is a document that certifies that a vehicle has been exported. 
    • ISF (Importer Security Filing) form: This is a form used by importers to report security breaches.
    • English translation of the export certificate. 

    How much does it cost to import a car from Japan?

    Your entire expense will be influenced by the price of the car, your locality, the car’s size, customs duties, clearance fees, and regulatory requirements.

    The following items will be included in your costs:

    • Purchase price of a car. 
    • Export agency cost: Cost of car Inspections, purchase, transportation to the seaport, deregistration procedures, export documentation, and mailing of original documents are all included in the export agency cost (which depends entirely on the automobile value).
    • Shipping cost (container or roll-on/roll-off)
    • Import duties, customs fees, quarantine fees, and clearance fees are all fees that must be paid.
    • Transport from the Port. 
    • Compliance strategies for foreign vehicles. 
    • Standard licensing and registration costs. 

    Steps Of Importing a Car from Japan. 

    Importing a car from Japan is simply provided you follow the instructions outlined below. 

    Steps Of Importing a Car from Japan

    1. Select Best Importers. 

    If you check the internet for used Japanese car importers, you will observe that you will be overwhelmed with suggestions. Not all of them, however, can be relied upon.

    You wouldn’t want to be taken advantage of by a shady company and lose your hard-earned cash. Furthermore, you wouldn’t want to acquire a car that isn’t up to par with the claimed quality.

    Therefore, endeavor to go over all of the information on the website, including that of the firm information, postal address, year of incorporation, and then used vehicle dealership registration number, among many other things.

    Obtaining these facts will provide you with an indication of the firm’s position. 

    However, if you are willing to put in the effort and get your hands dirty, you can choose to import it yourself. 

    2. Select Your Favourite Vehicle. 

    It’s time to start looking for your desired car now that you’ve chosen your favorite importer and the used Japanese automobile firm you’ll be purchasing from.

    You may utilize the auction services if you’re going to purchase a used car at an auction. You may, on the other hand, examine several used vehicle importer websites online for the kind of automobile you want (automobile manufacturer, model, year of production, color, mileage, fuel, so on and so forth).  

    3. Purchase It from Auction or Private Sale. 

    In Japan, there are approximately 200 used automobile auctions. These auction house products are available on several web platforms.

    The most important task at hand is to locate a trusted website that will not defraud you. You will be able to select from large numbers of automobiles that fit your needs and budget. You could obtain a car for a discounted rate if you buy it from one of these online auctions. 

    Private sellers, on the other hand, can be found on the internet. Because these dealers get their goods through auction websites, their rates are a little higher. Private sellers are the second-best alternative if you can’t discover a reliable avenue for purchasing via online auctions.

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    4. Inspection of Cars.

    Examine the car’s image carefully for any dents or scratches. Examine the vehicle for any potential problems. Request photos that have been suspiciously left out to ensure nothing is being hidden. 

    5. Completing PaperWork. 

    You’ll need to think about the paperwork required for importing cars from Japan, the timelines for receiving permissions, the specifications of each government agency involved, or even if the automobile you’re importing will have to be modified to be legal to drive in your nation. 

    6. Complete Your Shipment Process. 

    Hire an automobile shipping firm to ship your car to your country, and also have them inform you of the expected arrival so that you can file your paperwork with Customs and Border Protection.

    Following the payment of money, the shipping procedure commences.

    Competent car dealers will endeavor to transport your car in the earliest container possible, and the bill of lading will be provided one week after your vehicle has left.

    Penultimate Invoice, Export Certificate, Marine Insurance, Inspection Certificate from Japan Auto Appraisal Institute, and Japan Vehicle Inspection Association are all included with the bill of lading. 

    7. Complete your port Clearance. 

    Once the car arrives at the selected seaport, it must first complete the required customs clearance procedures. Prior to actually making a purchase, make absolutely sure to locate and speak with a clearance consultant to discuss clearance fees.

    8. Customer Registrations. 

    The procedure for registering the vehicle will vary depending on your country. Before the vehicle can be registered, certain countries might demand an “out-of-country” registration or a “safety check.”

    The bottom line is that you’ll need valid insurance, a bill of sale, and, if applicable, a signed safety inspection paperwork. If your consultant is also a private seller in the country, they can register the automobile in your name and take care of the paperwork.

    9. Security Deposit. 

    Customers must pay a refundable sum of money to enroll in the auction process, which is based primarily on bidding. If a customer’s offer is unsuccessful, the consumer will receive a refund of the security deposit.

    If the customer’s offer is accepted, however, the security deposit will be deducted from the car’s invoice.

    10. Payment. 

    It is recommended that you pay the invoice in full within two days of receiving it. In an effort to allow the purchase to go as smoothly as possible, inquire more about available methods of payment available.

    How to import a car from Japan FAQ’s

    • Is it cheaper to import a car?

    Imported cars are frequently less expensive than American ones and, in so many circumstances, are constructed to a very high standard.

    The importing procedure has substantially improved as the demand for imported cars has increased, notably when importing cars into the United States from Japan.

    Conversely, as imported cars become increasingly widespread, you may find that purchasing your new vehicle at home is significantly less expensive.

    If you’re looking for grandeur or a historical model, you may have little choice but to search outside of the country. Just keep in mind that calculation is always required.

    • Are Japanese built cars better to Import?

    It is widely acknowledged that Japanese automobiles are of higher quality than those produced in the United States.

    The opportunity to source decent quality components and Japanese meticulous principles just like Kaizen are the principal factors behind this.

    • How hard is it to import a car from Japan?

    Importing a car from Japan may appear to be a nightmare, but it is probably not a bad idea. Finding a local importer or company that provides access to Japanese auction houses is the simplest and most usual option. 

    • How long does it take to ship a car from Japan? 

    The time it takes for your shipment to arrive is determined by your port, the scheduling and regularity of vessels, the climate, and other factors. The voyage from Japan to various ports usually takes 25-35 days.

    The real shipment period from the pick-up in Japan to landing at the port of Los Angeles, California would be between 20 to 28 days, assuming all documentation is in order and customs clearance is not a problem.

    Importing a car from Japan to Australia typically takes 20-30 days, depending on the initial and final ports, as well as a number of other considerations.

    However, shipping an automobile from Japan to Canada will take 35 to 42 days, while customs processing would take 5 business days on average. Regardless of the country, you reside in. 


    Japanese automobiles have a distinct style. They are not only extremely innovative but they are also built to last.

    Most individuals choose to import spanking new and also used Japanese vehicles to the United States and other areas of the world because they are produced with cutting-edge technology. 

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