Exporting motor vehicles from the United States to foreign destinations is a common occurrence at many ports around the country, including South Florida’s ports. Whether exporting vehicles for business or personal use, it is important to know the procedures that U.S. Customs (“CBP”) expects you to follow. Not paying attention to the “rules of the road” can result in the seizure of your vehicle(s), and the imposition of hefty penalties.

If you are in the business of exporting cars, or plan to export a car to a foreign country for personal use, it is important to know two different sets of rules. Part 192 of Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”) contains the rules for exporting used vehicles. Used vehicles include any vehicle where legal title has been transferred by a manufacturer, distributor, or dealer to the person buying the car. These regulations explain the basic requirements for how to export cars, including the documentation that must be presented to CBP, such as a Power of Attorney, where a company or individual is shipping a motor vehicle on behalf of someone else. The regulations also describe how much it will cost in penalties if a person fails to submit the right documentation, or no documentation at all. The penalties can be severe – up to $10,000 where CBP determines the car was stolen, or the vehicle identification number (“VIN”) has been tampered with.

The second set of rules that you need to know are the port-specific requirements imposed by CBP. This can be tricky because the rules at different ports are not always the same. CBP’s Miami Seaport Vehicle Export Section has published a helpful Information Bulletin to assist exporters. The Bulletin describes where, when and how an individual must present documentation for exporting a vehicle from the Port of Miami. The Bulletin also contains a list of the most likely reasons that CBP will reject the export documentation, and prohibit a person from exporting a vehicle.

Anybody who desires to export a motor vehicle should know these rules and follow them carefully. The rejection of documentation by CBP can cause unnecessary delays and additional transactional costs, including storage fees. Failing to follow the rules of the road can even result in seizure of the vehicle(s) by the Government, and the assessment of significant penalties against the exporter.