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California Legalization for Imported Vehicles

Sean Morris Posted on July 10, 2018

Japanese import Nissan Skyline California Legal

We can help bring any Japanese or other foreign imported vehicles that we sell into California compliance at an ARB certified lab.  California has some specific requirements in order to be able to register an imported vehicle that was never EPA certified. So even if you buy a 25 year old vehicle from another state, California requires the vehicle meet EPA requirements for the year of the vehicle, and a smog test prior to registration. This cost can be anywhere from $4000, to $10000 for most JDM market vehicles.  This cost is paid directly to the lab, we just help facilitate the process on vehicles that we sell. 

Direct Import(or Gray Market) vehicles are vehicles that were manufactured outside the United States for which the original manufacturer did not obtain California or Federal certification.  The EPA normally covers direct import vehicles under the ICI program, but if a vehicle is going to be registered in California, it needs to meet the California Direct Import requirements. 

Used Modifier Certified Motor Vehicle Certificate of Conformance 

1967 model year vehicles and older: no modifications and testing are required to register the vehicle in California.

1968 model year to 1974 model year vehicles: California does not recommend the purchase or importation of these years of NON-USA vehicles, even if currently registered in another state. These vehicles require compliance with USEPA requirements in effect on the specific date of 11/15/1972. This provision when written, was considered by the California legislature as a gradual phase-out of very dirty "non-collectable" types of imports, as this specific requirement was understood to become increasingly difficult to meet. Today, this requirement, while not impossible to meet, would require testing expenses and modifications that far exceed most vehicles value and would make little sense from a collectors standpoint to attempt. Some limited exemptions apply to individuals moving to California with vehicles of these years registered in their home state for at least a year before moving to California. Contact us for more information.
 
1975 model year vehicles to the present: (EXCLUDING any vehicle obtained by a California resident within two years of its date of production) require a "Certificate of Conformance" issued by the ARB after a successful laboratory test. This test is administered to the same standards required of new vehicle manufacturers, and for the model year of the vehicle . However, unlike new vehicle manufacturers, as an individual you are not required to meet the full range of additional testing and equipment standards such as On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) requirements, durability testing, low emission fleet averaging, or Zero Emissions Vehicle testing (LEV and ZEV requirements). So while these standards reference what a manufacturer must do, when required by the Direct Import requirements they apply to individuals importing a used motor vehicle. Some limited exemptions apply to individuals moving to California with vehicles of these years registered in their home state for at least a year before moving to California. Contact us for more information.
Motorcycles and heavy-duty engines (used in trucks and buses) are required to comply with CA or USEPA from the date of manufacturer, no after-the-fact modification is permitted for products first sold outside the US market.
Diesel vehicles: 1979 model year and older vehicles with original-equipment diesel engines are exempt from Direct Import lab testing requirements. Please note that any vehicle converted to operate on diesel fuel is subject to lab testing requirements if it is a 1968 model year vehicle or newer.
From the ARB site
 
Smog Check Report Nissan Skyline GT-R California
Email or call us for more information. sales@importavehicle.com or 844-523-2233  http://www.importavehicle.com
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