Thinking of importing from USA - advice please

Discussion in 'Buying a VW Camper' started by Sentry1, Jul 25, 2015.

  1. I'm currently on a hunt for a decent T2 - see my intro here for what I'm looking for and some damn fine welcome notes/advice from nice LBMs.

    Anyway, my search has widened to include searching across the pond in the USA and I wanted to hear from anyone else who has experience of importing from there to UK (I can pick up in Southampton or in Kent/Essex ports which may be convenient and cheaper).

    Is it only worth importing when you are targeting a shell of a vehicle (but solid) that costs next to nothing - i.e. something for 3 or 4 grand which means the impact of Duty at 10% and VAT at 20% is reduced and something that would suit a restoration project?

    Does anyone have any experience importing what look to be on the photos absolutely clean, almost concourse vans? This is where things get difficult as the costs add up, the risk adds up and so on.

    The thinking on the process would be as follows:

    1- Get advice as to whether it is actually cost effective to import a decent, driving, clean and tidy van
    2- Speak to a number of shipping companies to determine the overall requirements
    3- Get a restorer or specialist local to the van to visit on my behalf taking photos and providing their opinion on the state of the van and it's value
    4- If all positive, put a deposit on the van
    5 - finalise shipping arrangements
    6- Once on board a vessel, pay the remainder
    7- Get excited
    8- Welcome the van to the UK and then follow all DVLA procedures to get the thing legal

    Any advice greatly appreciated. Especially regarding the following:

    - The van I am currently looking at "seems" pristine. A fantastically mint example of the model. Does that mean I could have a fighting chance reducing the VAT to 5% due to the nature of the van? (HMRC's Certificate 9507?)
    - How long does it take to import a van
    - What are the pitfalls? What should I look out for?
    - What shipping companies would you recommend?
    - Where are the best areas to find the best examples? What websites?

    @rickyrooo1 I know you imported. It would be great to pick your brains on this please :)
  2. I think whatever you buy it will be a 'blind' purchase. One piece of advice which might save you a lot of money, is to make sure that the bus is located fairly close to your shipping agent otherwise you could face some serious additional transport costs.
  3. @Grum has just imported a splitty....
  4. @Sentry1
    Dude, importing from USA was pretty easy to be honest.
    The seller dropped it off at port.
    £1400 to get the van shipped in to the UK.
    £150 flatbed hire to collect it.
    5% duty, based on the sale price of the car.
    Then its just a case MOT & registration fee (£55)

    Took 7 weeks from initial contact to Van being here. I used Kingstown shipping
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2015
    art b likes this.
  5. @Grum great info! thanks. How did you persuade them it was 5% and not 10% duty and 20% tax? Is it cos it was a splitty? What state was the van in?

    If I can do the same I will go ahead and get the speciallist to pay the van a visit.
    Grum likes this.
  6. rickyrooo1

    rickyrooo1 Hanging round like a bad smell

    Pretty much same as grum for me, I paid 5% of purchase price too... I'll pm you.
    Grum likes this.
  7. @Sentry1

    The van is in awesome condition.
    For the MOT in required New headlamps, a steering pin & a tiny patch of welding.
    The tax is down to age, over 30 years will = 5% VAT. The shippers took care of it all.



    art b likes this.
  8. art b likes this.
  9. Mine took about 2 months from purchase to get to my garage in the UK :thumbsup:
  10. Pictures or it didn't happen :D
    Lord Congi and Sentry1 like this.
  11. here's one of it on the boat.


    and at the docks after arrival.

    Flakey likes this.
  12. I've done a few, pm me if you want details.

    The biggest risk is not knowing the exact condition and only buying from photo's, the rest is easy.
  13. 21Window

    21Window Sponsor

    likewise, happy to help with advice, have imported lots - I can help with USA collection to UK door delivery. :)
    Sentry1 likes this.
  14. Last edited: Jul 26, 2015

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