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Why Are Vehicle Title Export Documents So Difficult?

Have you ever tried to export a vehicle and wondered why Customs and Border Protection (CBP) needs all of those documents and forms? Did it seem like a very complex and bureaucratic process?

Well, in the moment of trying to export a vehicle, you may not have thought that the process was beneficial to you. You might have thought it was just a pain in the neck or something that really didn’t have any purpose. However, after seeing this article and understanding the reasons for having these documents, you’ll probably see that it’s a good thing to have this customs process be as complicated as it is. Leave your comments below and let us know what experience you’ve had with exporting a vehicle and what questions you have about the process.

Understanding the HS7 Form
Here’s one of the forms: the HS7 form. It’s the infamous document that all exporters hate to see and have to face. It’s one of many that are needed to export a motor vehicle, and motor vehicles are defined very clearly by CBP.

The Importance of Proper Documentation
The basic requirements for pursuing and attempting to export a used self-propelled vehicle are to present to Customs at the port of exportation both the vehicle and the required documentation describing the vehicle, to include the VIN. The required documentation normally is going to be the title, and it must be presented 72 hours prior to export because they’re going to do a background check on the vehicle, and that’s going to be important.

Documentation Requirements
As you can see in the second section, the owner must provide to Customs the original certificate of title or certified copy and two complete copies of the original. If there are any third-party ownership claims, like a lien or another second owner, you have to have them in writing, along with the description of the vehicle and a release of that lien holder or leased vehicle. So it’s pretty clear what you need: you need the HS7 form and a couple of other documents.

Case Study: The Importance of Documentation
The reason why this documentation is crucial is illustrated by a real-life example. A stolen 1968 Chevrolet Corvette was found 37 years later, right before being shipped to Sweden. This Corvette had never been retitled, emphasizing the importance of proper documentation in ensuring the legitimacy of a vehicle’s ownership.

Protecting your investment
Until you have a legal title document printed by the government with your name imprinted on the certificate, you’re at risk because you don’t know what other claims are going to pop up out of the woodwork. So, you want to make sure that you perform your proper due diligence on any vehicle before you take any action.

Government Due Diligence
Consider the due diligence performed by the government. Whether it’s a VIN inspection by your police or a customs background check, these measures protect your interests in a vehicle and ensure its legitimacy.

The importance of original documents
Make sure that you get originals, not photocopies, and verify the originals. There have been cases of forgeries of these documents, highlighting the importance of thorough verification.

Final Tips and Conclusion
If you’re going to export the vehicle, you probably want to check it out before you bring it to CBP. Have your state patrol, state police, or whoever is in your jurisdiction double-check the documents to ensure the VIN number is clear. Just because the seller told you it’s clear or you ran a Carfax, which is a consumer-grade background check, doesn’t mean the vehicle is free of issues.

Check out our website for more information. You can get all these documents for free to download. Let us know in the comments what your thoughts are on exporting a vehicle and these document requirements.

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