You just bought a salvage car from a U.S. dealership and want to sell it to a foreign buyer in Canada. You’re vaguely aware of a rule stating that exporting used vehicles out of the U.S. requires specific documentation. But this is just something you’re putting up on Craig’s List. And you just bought the car, so of course it’s not used—right?
This is where things get tricky. When it comes to U.S. export regulations, what is considered a used or salvage vehicle is broader than you might expect.
According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a used or salvage vehicle is defined as “any self-propelled vehicle the equitable or legal title to which has been transferred by a manufacturer, distributor, or dealer to an ultimate purchaser.”
What does this mean for you? It means that even if you haven’t driven the vehicle a single mile, the vehicle is considered used unless you are the original manufacturer selling it directly to a foreign buyer. And yes, there are indeed additional requirements for exporting used/salvage vehicles that don’t apply to exporting new vehicles.
The Automated Export System (AES) is a system used by the U.S. government to collect data on exports. Exporters may be required to file their shipment information, called Electronic Export Information (EEI), through AES before sending out a shipment. This filing can be done through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), an online platform that allows exporters to transmit their EEI to AES.
U.S. citizens or residents with a Social Security Number are required to create an ACE account and provide an employer identification number (EIN) as part of the EEI filing process. These EINs can be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. Non-U.S. citizens, however, cannot create an ACE account and must instead authorize a U.S. agent to file on their behalf. They are also not required to apply for an EIN and must provide their passport number instead. Note that the EIN or passport number is used solely for identification purposes and has no tax implications.
When exporting a used vehicle, it is mandatory to file the EEI through AES at least 72 hours before the vehicle's departure, regardless of its destination, value, or condition.
When exporting a used vehicle, it is important to provide proof of ownership in the form of a manufacturer’s statement of origin or a private individual’s certificate of title. The vehicle's vehicle identification number (VIN) or product identification number (PIN) must also be presented. Additionally, the internal transaction number (ITN) obtained from the AES filing must be presented to customs at the port of export at least 72 hours prior to departure.
It is important to note that this article serves as a basic introduction to the guidelines for exporting vehicles in the U.S. There may be exceptions and additional details to consider. For instance, it may be possible to authorize a freight forwarder or outside agent to file the EEI through AES on your behalf, eliminating the need for an ACE account. Additionally, there may be additional requirements and fees imposed by the customs authority in the country of import.