A vehicle involved in an accident that requires repairs that exceed the value of the vehicle is deemed salvage. There are different reasons why people import salvaged cars: some of the parts on the damaged vehicle may be in good condition. Some people repair the salvaged cars and sell it. Once a salvage car is imported into a country, it is issued a salvage title in order to make potential buyers aware that it is a salvaged car.
Notify the country from which the vehicle will depart at least 72 hours before leaving. A customs officer from the country of departure (for example the U.S. customs) will stamp the vehicle title before the car leaves the country.
Check to see if the car is on the list of admissible vehicles from the U.S to the country it will be imported into; for example, if it is going to Canada, then give the relevant department, Transport Canada, a call to verify.
Transport the vehicle to the border and show the customs officer your stamped title and registration. Customs will provide you with a vehicle-import form to fill out; you will need to pay the import fee.
Wait for a vehicle-inspection form, which will come through the mail typically a week or two after importing the vehicle. This form will tell you what you need to do to bring the imported vehicle into compliance with laws of the country. Make any required modifications and hold on to your receipts for verification.
Take the car, documents and receipts to an authorised inspection centre. There should be a list of inspection centres available from the Registrar of Imported Vehicles. Check with your state DMV whether you are able to register a salvaged car. For salvaged vehicles there is a time frame of one year after the car has been imported to get it inspected. The inspector will stamp your documents and you must take them to a licensing office to get the vehicle licensed and ready to be driven.
- The procedure of importing a salvage car and the countries mentioned are just a rough guide to direct anyone looking to import a vehicle. Certain countries might have slightly different procedures. Please check with your relevant country.