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CBP seizes Illegal and Unsafe Motor Vehicle

Release Date: 
October 26, 2015

Imported vehicle failed to comply with federal safety standards

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) San Juan Field Operations officers and import specialists seized a Motor Vehicle that was falsely declared as a Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV), not complying with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

The motor vehicle did not have the components of a UTV.

The motor vehicle did not have the components of a UTV.

“Intercepting illegal and unsafe imports is a top priority for CBP,” stated Edward Ryan, Assistant Director of Field Operations for Trade in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.  “By partnering with our colleagues in the Department of Transportation, we are stopping illegally imported, unsafe vehicles from driving on our roadways and helping to keep the public safe.”

CBP’s Trade Sensitive Team (TST) performed an intensive examination of merchandise manifested as a UTV, which revealed that its structure and components were not of a typical UTV.   CBP consulted the inspection with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), whose findings indicated that the UTVs’ components and construction met the criteria to consider the item as a “motor vehicle.”

To be lawfully imported, a vehicle must be originally manufactured to comply with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and bear a label certifying such compliance that is permanently affixed in a prescribed location by the vehicle’s original manufacturer in order to be imported free of restrictions into the United States.

For CBP clearance, an importer will need the shipper's or carrier’s original bill of lading, the bill of sale, foreign registration, and any other documents covering the vehicle. You will also be required to complete forms by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and DOT, declaring the emissions and safety provisions under which the vehicle is being imported. Vehicles that meet all U.S. emission requirements will bear manufacturer's label on the engine compartment in English, attesting to that fact. For vehicles that lack such a label, the CBP inspector at the port of entry may require proof of eligibility to import under the EPA exemptions or applicable exclusions

Vehicles entering the United States that do not conform with U.S. safety standards must be brought into compliance, exported, or destroyed.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017