Article on The Internet Mini Encyclopædia
The answers can be found at the source.
Very helpful source of information! It says unequivocally:
Under 49 U.S.C. § 30112(b)(9) (formerly section 108(i) of the Act), "any motor vehicle that is at least 25 years old" is not subject to importation restrictions.
Import Rules for minis into USA (more info)
The new rule to permit entry of nonconforming motor vehicles for show or display became effective on August 13, 1999. If you want to import a vehicle for show or display, you must apply to NHTSA for permission and establish that the vehicle is of such historical or technological significance that it is in the public interest to show or display it in the United States even though it would be difficult or impossible to bring the vehicle into compliance with the Federal motor vehicle safety standards. This provision is intended to facilitate the importation of a make or model of a vehicle which its manufacturer never certified for sale in the United States. If you would like to know before purchasing a foreign vehicle whether NHTSA would determine that it is eligible for importation for show or display, you may write NHTSA for an opinion, providing the information set out in item 6e, below, of How You May Apply for Permission to Import. If NHTSA decides the vehicle is eligible for importation, you may then purchase the vehicle and submit a formal application containing the other information required.
In determining whether a vehicle is eligible for importation for show or display, NHTSA will consider the following factors, among others:
#1 -Whether a vehicle of the same make, model, and model
year was manufactured and certified for sale in the United States.
#2- Whether a vehicle of the same make, model, and model year has been determined eligible for importation pursuant to 49 CFR Part 593.
#3 - Whether the make and model of a vehicle is currently in production.
#4 - Whether production of the vehicle make and model was greater than 500 units.
#5 - Whether the vehicle is a kit car, replica, or special construction vehicle.
If the answer to items 1, 2, or 5 is affirmative, you should not expect NHTSA to grant permission for importation. If the answer to item 3 is affirmative, NHTSA generally expects to grant permission for importation only to the manufacturer of the vehicle. If the answer to item 4 is affirmative, the applicant must establish that the vehicle is of exceptional technological and/or historical significance.
HOW YOU MAY APPLY FOR PERMISSION TO IMPORT
Your signed application must include, at a minimum:
Your name, address, phone number, FAX number, and social security number. Vehicle identification - year, make, model, VIN or chassis number, date of manufacture and mileage.
Location of where you will store the vehicle in the United States. Statement describing use on public roads, if intended. If on-road use is requested, identify the Independent Commercial Importer (ICI) that will modify the vehicle to bring it into conformity with the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Basis for the application.
Photographs - 3/4 frontal, 3/4 rear, interior, odometer reading and special features (if appropriate).
Proof of ownership.
Document from manufacturer or recognized historical source, identifying total production (production verification).
Proof of insurance conditioned on limited on-road use (not more than 2,500 miles accumulated in any 12-month period).
Identification of vehicle's Technological significance - You must identify (be specific) the technology, engineering, and construction features of the vehicle that are advanced and of an unusual nature not commonly found in motor vehicles manufactured in the same time period; or Historical significance - You must identify the historical significance of the vehicle. If the vehicle was owned by a person of historical significance, you must submit proof that the vehicle was owned by that person. If the vehicle was the first or last vehicle of a particular model, you must establish this through the manufacturer's documentation or, if this is not available, through a recognized historical source. If the vehicle was a one of kind, you must establish this also. You may then mail the application to:
NSA-32, Room 6111
400 7th Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20590
The regulations are for US citizens who import a non-conforming car. We have a local college that attracts international students. They have been bring in non-conforming cars for personal use for years. Their cars do not have to comply with any of the regulations.
From the NTSB site.:
NONRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
A vehicle registered in another country may be imported for personal use for a period not to exceed one year. The vehicle cannot be sold and it must be exported within one year from the date of entry. Your passport number and country of issue are required on the HS-7 form. Use Box 5 on HS-7 form.
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