19 CFR 12.73 - Motor vehicle and engine compliance with Federal antipollution emission requirements.
(a) Applicability of EPA requirements. This section is ancillary to the regulations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued under the Clean Air Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.), and found in 40 CFR parts 85 and 86. Those regulations should be consulted for more detailed information concerning EPA emission requirements. The requirements apply to imported motor vehicles, but do not apply to separately imported non-chassis mounted engines to be used in light-duty trucks or other light-duty vehicles. Other separately imported engines for heavy-duty motor vehicles are covered, and all references in this section to motor vehicles should be deemed to include motor vehicles as well as these heavy-duty engines. Nothing in this section should be construed as limiting or changing in any way the applicability of the EPA regulations.
(b) Importation of complying vehicles - (1) Labeled vehicles. Vehicles which in their condition as imported are covered by an EPA certificate of conformity and which bear the manufacturer's label showing such conformity and other EPA-required information shall be deemed in compliance with applicable emission requirements for the purpose of Customs admissibility and entry liquidation determinations. This paragraph does not apply to importations of ICI's covered by paragraph (d) of this section.
(2) Pending certification. Vehicles otherwise covered by paragraph (b)(1) of this section which were manufactured for compliance with applicable emission requirements, but for which an application for a certificate of conformity is pending with the EPA may be conditionally released from Customs custody pending production of the certificate of conformity within 120 days of release.
(c) Importation of vehicles previously in compliance - (1) Vehicles of returning residents. Vehicles of residents returning from Canada, Mexico or other countries as EPA may designate are not covered by this section.
(2) Vehicles of commuting nonresidents and tourists. A port director through the issuance of an appropriate means of identification to be affixed to a vehicle may waive all of the requirements of this section for a nonresident regularly crossing the Canadian or Mexican border, or waive the requirements for Mexico or Canadian-registered vehicles of tourists or other travelers.
(3) Participants in EPA-approved catalytic converter or oxygen sensor control programs. Further evidence of emissions compliance will not be required for catalytic converter or oxygen sensor-equipped vehicles imported for participating in EPA-approved catalytic converter or oxygen sensor control programs and subject to the requirements of those programs.
(4) Previously labeled, modified or imported vehicles. Any other vehicle of United States or foreign origin manufactured with a catalytic converter or oxygen sensor, or any previously imported vehicle subsequently modified with a catalytic converter or oxygen sensor, will not be deemed in compliance with applicable emission requirements if used outside of the United States, Canada, Mexico, or other countries as EPA may designate, until the catalytic converter and/or oxygen sensor is replaced. Conditional release from Customs custody for the purpose of the modification is subject to a 120-day period for completion. Subject to special documentation at the time of export from the United States and approval and other requirements of EPA, replacement of a catalytic converter or oxygen sensor may be avoided if the equipment is disconnected before export from the United States and reconnected after subsequent importation.
(d) Importation of vehicles by ICI's. Except for motor vehicles imported in the applicable circumstances covered by paragraphs (c), (e), (f), (g) or (h) of this section, an individual or business other than an independent commercial importer (ICI) holding a currently valid EPA certificate of conformity may not enter a motor vehicle which does not conform with EPA emission requirements. An ICI, subject to the more specific definition in EPA regulations, is an importer which does not have a contract with a foreign or domestic motor vehicle manufacturer for distributing products into the United States market. However, a motor vehicle may not be conditionally admitted unless it falls within one of the categories provided for in 40 CFR 85.1505 or 85.1509. Before the vehicle is deemed to be in compliance with applicable emission requirements and, therefore, finally admitted into the United States, the ICI must keep the vehicle in storage for a 15-working day period. This period follows notice to EPA of completion of the compliance work to give EPA the opportunity to conduct confirmatory testing and inspect the vehicle and records. The 15-working day period is part of the 120-day period in which an ICI must bring the vehicle into emissions compliance. Individuals and businesses not entitled to enter nonconforming motor vehicles may arrange for their importation through an ICI certificate holder. In these circumstances, the ICI will not act as an agent or broker for Customs transaction purposes unless otherwise licensed or authorized to do so.
(e) Exemptions and exclusions from emission requirements based on age of vehicle. The following motor vehicles, except as shown, may be imported by any person and do not have to be shown to be in compliance with emission requirements or modified before entitled to admissibility:
(1) Gasoline-fueled light-duty trucks and light-duty motor vehicles manufactured before January 1, 1968;
(2) Diesel-fueled light-duty motor vehicles manufactured before January 1, 1975;
(3) Diesel-fueled light-duty trucks manufactured before January 1, 1976;
(4) Motorcycles manufactured before January 1, 1978;
(5) Gasoline-fueled and diesel-fueled heavy-duty engines manufactured before January 1, 1970; and
(6) Motor vehicles not otherwsie exempt from EPA emission requirements and more than 20 years old. Age is determined by subtracting the year of production (as opposed to model year) from the year of importation. The exemption under this subparagraph is available only if the vehicle is imported by an ICI.
(f) Exemption for exports. A motor vehicle intended solely for export to a country not having the same emission standards applicable in the United States, and both the vehicle and its container bear a label or tag indicating that it is intended solely for export, is exempt from applicable United States emission requirements. 40 CFR 85.1709.
(g) Exemptions for diplomats, foreign military personnel and nonresidents. Subject to the condition that they are not resold in the United States, the following motor vehicles are exempt from applicable emission requirements:
(1) A motor vehicle imported solely for the personal use of a nonresident importer or consignee and the use will be for a period not to exceed one year; and
(2) A motor vehicle of a member of the armed forces of a foreign country on assignment in the United States, or of a member of the personnel of a foreign government on assignment in the United States or other individual who comes within the class of persons for whom free entry of motor vehicles has been authorized by the Department of State in accordance with general principles of international law. For special documentation requirements see paragraph (i)(4) of this section.
(h) Exemptions and exclusions based on prior EPA authorization. The following motor vehicles are exempt or excluded from applicable emission requirements if prior approval has been obtained in writing from EPA:
(1) Importations for repairs. Any motor vehicle which is imported solely for repairs or alterations and which is not sold, leased, registered or licensed for use or operated on public roads or highways in the United States. 40 CFR 85.1511(b)(1);
(2) Importations for testing. Any motor vehicle imported solely for testing. Test vehicles may be operated on and registered for use on public roads or highways provided that the operation is an integral part of the test. 40 CFR 85.1511(b)(2). This exemption is limited to a period not exceeding one year from the date of importation unless a request is made under 40 CFR 85.1705(f) for a one-year extension;
(3) Prototype vehicles. Any motor vehicle imported for use as a prototype in applying for EPA certification. 40 CFR 85.1511(b)(3) and 85.1706. In the case of an ICI, unless the vehicle is brought into conformity within 180 days from the date of entry it shall be exported or otherwise disposed of subject to paragraph (1) of this section;
(4) Display vehicles. Any motor vehicle which is imported solely for display and which will not be sold, leased, registered or licensed for use on or operated on the public roads or highways in the United States. 40 CFR 85.1511(b)(4);
(5) Racing cars. Any motor vehicle which qualifies as a racing vehicle meeting one or more of the criteria found at 40 CFR 85.1703(a), and which will not be registered or licensed for use on or operated on public roads or highways in the United States. See also 40 CFR 85.1511(c)(1);
(6) National security importations. Any motor vehicle imported for purposes of national security by a manufacturer. 40 CFR 85.1511(c)(2), 85.1702(a)(2) and 85.1708; and
(7) Hardship exemption. Any motor vehicle imported by anyone qualifying for a hardship exemption. 40 CFR 85.1511(c)(3).
(i) Documentation requirements - (1) Exception for manufacturers. The special documentation requirements of this paragraph do not apply to the entry of any motor vehicles shown to be in compliance with applicable emission requirements under paragraph (b)(1) of this section relating to labeling.
(2) Declarations of other importers. Release from Customs custody shall be refused with respect to all other entries unless there is filed with the entry in duplicate a declaration in which the importer or consignee declares or affirms its status as an original equipment manufacturer, an ICI holding an applicable certificate of conformity, or other status, and further declares or affirms the status or condition of the imported vehicles and the circumstances concerning importation including a citation to the specific paragraph or subparagraph in this section upon which application for conditional or final release from Customs custody is applied for.
(3) Other documentation and information. An importer's declaration shall include or be submitted with the following further information and documentation:
(A) The importer's name and address and telephone number;
(B) Identification of the vehicle or engine number, the vehicle owner's taxpayer identification number, and his or her current address and telephone number in the United States if different than as provided for in paragraph (3)(A) of this paragraph;
(C) Identification, where applicable, of the place where the vehicle will be stored until EPA approval of the importer's application to EPA for final admission as required for vehicles imported under 40 CFR 85.1505, 85.1509, or 85.1512 having reference to certain importations under paragraphs (c)(4) or (d)(1) of this section;
(D) Authorization for EPA enforcement officers to conduct inspections or testing otherwise permitted by the Clean Air Act and regulations promulgated thereunder;
(E) Identification, where applicable, of the certificate of conformity by means of which the vehicle is being imported;
(F) The date of manufacture of the vehicle;
(G) The date of entry;
(H) Identification of the vessel or carrier on which the merchandise was shipped;
(I) The entry number where applicable;
(J) Where prior EPA authorization is required for an exemption or exclusion, a copy of that authorization; and
(K) Such other further information as may be required by the EPA or the Customs Service.
(4) Documentation from diplomats and foreign military personnel. For entries for which an exemption is claimed under paragraph (g)(2) of this section, there must also be attached to the declaration required under paragraph (i)(2) of this section a copy of the motor vehicle importer's official orders, if any, or if a qualifying member of the personnel of a foreign government on assignment in the United States, the name of the embassy to which the importer is accredited.
(j) Release under bond. If a declaration filed in accordance with paragraph (i)(2) of this section states that the entry is being filed under circumstances described in either paragraph (c)(4), (h)(1), (h)(2), (h)(3) or (h)(4) of this section, the entry shall be accepted only if the importer or consignee gives a bond on Customs Form 301, containing the bond condition set forth in § 113.62 of this chapter for the production of an EPA statement that the vehicle or engine is in conformity with Federal emission requirements. Within the period in paragraph (h)(2), (h)(3) or (c)(4) of this section, or in the case of paragraph (h)(1) or (h)(4) of this section, the period specified by EPA in its authorization for an exemption, or such additional period as the port director may allow for good cause shown, the importer or consignee shall deliver to the port director the prescribed statement. If the statement is not delivered to the director of the port of entry within the specified period, the importer or consignee shall deliver or cause to be delivered to the port director those vehicles which were released under a bond required by this paragraph. In the event that the vehicle or engine is not redelivered within five days following the date specified in the preceding sentence, liquidated damages shall be assessed in the full amount of the bond, if it is a single entry bond, or if a continuous bond is used, the amount that would have been taken under a single entry bond.
(k) Notices of inadmissibility or detention. If a motor vehicle is determined to be inadmissible before release from Customs custody, or inadmissible after release from Customs custody, the importer or consignee shall be notified in writing of the inadmissibility determination and/or redelivery requirement. However, if a motor vehicle cannot be released from Customs custody merely because the importer has failed to attach to the entry the documentation required by paragraph (i) of this section, the vehicle shall be held in detention by the director of a period not to exceed 30 days after filing of the entry at the risk and expense of the importer pending submission of the missing documentation. An additional 30-day extension may be granted by the port director upon application for good cause shown. If at the expiration of a period not over 60 days the documentation has not been filed, a notice of inadmissibility will be issued.
(l) Disposal of vehicles not entitled to admission. A motor vehicle denied admission under any provision of this section shall be disposed of in accordance with applicable Customs laws and regulations. However, a motor vehicle or engine will not be disposed of in a manner in which it may ultimately either directly or indirectly reach a consumer in a condition in which it is not in conformity with applicable EPA emission requirements.
(m) Prohibited importations. The importation of motor vehicles otherwise than in accordance with this section and the regulations of EPA in 40 CFR parts 80, 85, 86 and 600 is prohibited.