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Titling an Imported Vehicle

If you import your vehicle from another country, you need to register it with DMV.

An imported vehicle is any vehicle (including motorcycles) brought into the United States from any foreign country. This includes Canadian vehicles and U.S. manufactured vehicles produced for export and subsequently imported.

Imported Vehicle Requirements

All imported vehicles less than 25 years old must provide proof of compliance with, or exemption from, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) before being eligible for Virginia titling and registration.

DMV will only title or register an imported vehicle when the applicant submits proof of compliance. If the vehicle is exempt from FMVSS, you may only register it for a specified period. See NHTSA form HS 7 for more details

How to Apply for a Title

You can apply for a title by mail or in person at any DMV customer service center.

Make an Appointment at DMV

  • Virginia DMV
  • Attn: Titles and Registration Work Center
  • PO Box 27412
  • Richmond, VA 23269

Step 1: Present the following documents

  1. Completed Application for Certificate of Title and Registration (VSA 17A)
  2. Proof of address
  3. Authentic source of ownership document (e.g. existing title, prior registration, Manufacturer's Certification of Origin, Manufacturer's Statement of Origin, Export Certificate)

    Note: If the Export Certificate is assigned to an exporting company and not the applicant, a Bill of Sale or Invoice from the exporting company to the applicant must be provided to establish the ownership transfer.

  4. English translations for all documents written exclusively in a foreign language
  5. The following U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) forms with the Customs stamp, electronic signature or ACE document(s)

    Note: All Customs must display the vehicle identification number (VIN) to verify the vehicle being imported. If there are multiple pages of a document, remember to submit all pages.

  6. Bill of Sale or Invoice (must display the VIN)
  7. Original Bond Release Letter from the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if applicable
  8. The Manufacturer's Confirmation Letter or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 3520-1 Declaration, if applicable
  9. Department of Transportation HS-7 Declaration, if applicable
  10. Any additional requirements specified on the HS-7 Declaration form

Exemptions for Military Personnel

Military personnel or U.S. residents returning from a foreign country may present CBP form 3299 — Declaration for Title Entry of Unaccompanied Articles — with an electronic Customs stamp instead of CBP form 7501.

CBP form 3299 is only used for vehicles titled in the U.S., exported, and subsequently imported. There is no need to submit the HS-7. The vehicle make and VIN must be specified on the CBP 3299.

Foreign military personnel stationed at military installations in Virginia under the authority of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are exempt from bringing their vehicles into compliance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). They may register their vehicles for the length of their tour of duty only. A copy of their orders is sufficient to determine the length of their tour.

Step 2: Pay the following fees

Selecting Electronic or Paper Title

On the VSA 17A form, you can choose to receive a paper title, or have DMV keep an electronic record of the title to ensure its safety.

If you select the electronic option, when you need a paper title in the future, you may visit any customer service center and request one. You’ll be required to show proof you are the registered owner.

  • If no lien ever existed on the vehicle record and no paper title was previously issued, a one-time paper title will be issued at no fee.
  • If a lien existed or a paper title was previously printed, the $15 substitute title fee will be charged.

    Note: If the lien is an electronic lien and the lien has been released, a one-time paper title will be issued at no fee, provided it has not been printed already.

If you currently have an electronic title in good standing with no lien, you may request a paper title online, at a customer service center or by mail. If by mail, send your written request and payment (if applicable) to:

  • Virginia DMV
  • Attn: Titles and Registration Work Center
  • PO Box 27412
  • Richmond, VA 23269

More Resources

Imports Hotline: 734-214-4100
Overview of Vehicle Import Requirements
Automotive Import FAQs Manual

Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance: 202-366-5291
Importation and Certification FAQs [external link]

U.S Customs
Instructions for Importing a Motor Vehicle