Nonresidents and first-time immigrants may import a vehicle, compliant or noncompliant, duty free for personal use if the vehicle is imported in connection with the owner’s arrival. The vehicle does not need to accompany the owner, but should arrive in the U.S. at approximately the same time, at least within a few weeks, of the owner’s arrival. Noncompliant vehicles must be exported within one year of the date of importation and may not be sold in the U.S. There is no exemption to the export requirement for noncompliant vehicles.
In addition, a nonresident, who intends to remain in the U.S. beyond the one year time frame or a first time immigrant, may claim the one year exemption for the first year in the U.S. However, as stated above, the noncompliant vehicle must be exported within one year of the date of importation and may not be sold in the U.S. To be considered exported, the vehicle must enter the commerce of a foreign country. Driving over the border and returning is not considered exportation. Vehicles that are not exported are subject to seizure.
Conforming vehicles that would have been dutiable at the time of importation but were imported under the duty free exemption become dutiable if sold within one year of importation. Duty must be paid prior to the sale.