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Importation

  1. #1
    n00b gymkhanaJOSH's Avatar
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    Importation


    Well, after six years in Japan its finally time for me to come back to the US. My question is for any of you folks who might be knowledgeable on the importation of motorcycles. Here's the deal:

    I have a 2003 CBR600RR and I really do love the bike. I've been told that I need to get a "letter of compliance" from Honda stating what needs to be converted on the bike in order to make it legal for US standards or stating that the bike does already comply. This doesn't necessarily mean that Honda has to certify that these modifications were done, just a letter stating what is needed (if anything). It is my responsibility to have the mods done myself (I'm told). Now, I've talked to Honda, Japan and they say they have no clue what is required for US compliance. I've called Honda Powersports Customer Service, USA and they can't seem to look up any information on Japanese VIN numbers. Nobody seems to know what I'm talking about.

    I'm about two months away from officially moving back and would love to have this documentation provided so I could bring the bike home. If not, I'll sell it, no biggie. But it would be nice to just bring it back and not have to worry about finding a new ride. I've seen these compliance letters before from Suzuki and Kawasaki, USA for other people's bikes but never for Honda. Does anyone know where I can go to talk to someone about this or better yet, does anyone work for Honda and can help a brotha out? Anyways, thanks for reading. Thanks, in advance!

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  2. #2
    Lifer
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    Re: Importation

    I import a lot of vehicles. What your doing is difficult and expensive but not impossible. However, the bike you want to bring back isn't really worth the effort or cost. The process will most likely far exceed the value of the bike. My immediate suggestion would be to sell it and buy an older bike that is rare and ship it back. Much more stream lined process for that.

    For your newish bike that is under 25 years old. At the minimum you will need-
    Letter of us compliance from Honda Japan. A sister letter from Honda of America would be nice as well but its the Japan one you need since that is the point of manufacture.

    A registered importer. I suspect your in the military which makes it a bit easier to get it to the us but I believe you will still a registered importer to actually process the paperwork. Fees vary. It's much more expensive to do the paperwork on a vehicle less than 25 years old as it has to go through a more thorough process. I would say probably $2k for this alone to be safe. Maybe way less or way more.

    Dot certification. You will most likely need to updated the lights and stuff to be dot compliant. Those little turn signal lenses with dot molded into them? Not gonna be on a nap bike but the feds will need it to be on there. This is something a good registered importer can do for you for a cost but it will be all new equipment from Honda of America. Headlight assembly will most likely need to be changed. Along with tires. If your lucky the speedo cluster can be switched to mph through the cluster. If not you will need a new cluster with mileage certification. I don't believe you can put stickers on it like you can with older bikes. This whole process will be pricey too. Couple grand maybe.

    You will need to apply for a title after that. Mass requires an ownership trail from new so you will need bill of sales from each owner and records of the transaction. The trick with this is not every teller is clued in on this process. Some are bastards and some don't care. It's best to have the paperwork but with enough trial and error you may get lucky and not need it. In addition to this all Japanese paperwork must be translated to English so some fees are there too.

    There will be other things to catch you up as well but those are the biggies. You may find a registered importer to do most of the work for you, even the title part but it won't be cheap and you will probably end up with a Nevada title.

    Or you can buy a bike older than 25 years old and bring it right to the states with 3 easy to fill out forms and pick it up at the docks for under $2k most likely.

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  3. #3
    Jamnuts jhawley's Avatar
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    Re: Importation

    Sorry but that does not sound fun. plus there are how many cbr600 out there. i say get the older cooler bike route.

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  4. #4
    n00b gymkhanaJOSH's Avatar
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    Re: Importation

    Your feedback pretty much mirrors what others have told me on both sides of the pond. I have actually gone through the process of importing a 25 year old automobile last year and did the whole registered importer, customs declarations, etc. It wasn't too much of a pain, honestly, but I am military and they say they will ship a car or bike back for me for free when I come. My car was shipped via commercial vessel and rolled on and rolled off the ship. My bike (shipped through the military) would be boxed up and dropped at my doorstep. From what I've been told, once it reaches my home of record, it is up to me to legalize it from there.

    Anyways, thanks again for the feedback. I really wish I could bring this back but its looking like I should just give up and start looking around for something new. Take it easy!

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  5. #5
    Lifer
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    Re: Importation

    It's my understanding using the military to transport a newer vehicle is that you will still need to use a registered importer to make it legal. I'm pretty sure if you don't you are required to destroy said vehicle within a year and provide proof of it, usually by a registered company that oversees the destruction.

    They don't make it easy for a reason. There is a back door work around that if someone has already made the exact model you want legal in the US you can simply piggy back on their customs forms. Only rare vehicles are generally put through this process though. Your bike isn't on the list.

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  6. #6
    WMC original sdog30's Avatar
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    Re: Importation

    Buy a skyline r33 or 34 and bring that back over with you instead.

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  7. #7
    Lifer
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    Re: Importation

    Quote Originally Posted by sdog30 View Post
    Buy a skyline r33 or 34 and bring that back over with you instead.
    Those skylines are actually cheaper to buy in the states now than anywhere else in the world. We took most of them so the ones left in other countries have a huge demand. I've been contemplating buying them in the US and reimporting them back into the UK. If the exchange rate was steadier it would be worth it.

    I bought my r32 gtr 2 years ago here for 8k just before they became US eligible. Over night it jumped to 15k. Now I don't think I can touch one for less than 25k here. Mine wasn't even that nice.

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  8. #8
    n00b gymkhanaJOSH's Avatar
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    Re: Importation

    I imported my R32 already. =)
    Importation-23916623_10106398470840003_3565249424868007669_o-jpg

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