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HQ 226446

January 16, 1996

BAG-5-02-CON-3-04-RR:IT:EC 226446 IOR


Port Director
New York Seaport
6 World Trade Center
New York, NY 10048

Attn: Chief, Machinery Branch, National Commodity Specialist Division, Room 400 A

RE: File: ENT-2-98:R:N1:814342-101; Internal advice request; repetitive entry of automobile from Canada; U.S. resident alien; 19 CFR 141.2; 19 CFR 148.32; CF 4455; 9804.00.45, HTSUS

Dear Sir:

We are in receipt of your memorandum dated September 22, 1995, by which you forward a ruling request dated July 19, 1995 from William Toole. This request is being treated as an internal advice request in accordance with Customs Regulations 177.11 (19 CFR 177.11), as the transaction in question is one already before a Customs Service office.


Mr. Toole is a Canadian citizen residing in the U.S.; he has a resident alien card and a residence in New York. Mr. Toole occasionally flies to Canada and borrows his mother's car which he then drives to New York for periods of a few weeks. He then drives the car back to Canada. The car is registered in Canada, to Mr. Toole's mother. In 1989 Mr. Toole obtained EPA approval for the vehicle and paid duty on the car on an informal entry. Since 1989 Mr. Toole has driven the car between Canada and the U.S., presenting the informal entry and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") documents to Customs officers upon entry to the U.S. On July 7, 1995, Mr. Toole was stopped at the border by a Customs Inspector who informed Mr. Toole that he had to register the car in the state of New York, and if he saw the car coming across the border again with a Canadian registration, the car would be seized.

You ask that we issue a decision to clarify the issue of re-entry of Canadian registered vehicles to ensure uniformity of treatment at different ports. You have been informed by an import specialist in Buffalo, that multiple re-entry of Canadian registered vehicles is a common practice, and that individuals re-entering the vehicles are instructed to keep the original informal entry in the glove compartment of the vehicle for display to the inspector at the border. You ask us to determine whether an initial payment of duty is sufficient to allow re-entry of the car without payment of duty, and whether Customs can demand that a car be registered in the state of New York.


What is the proper procedure for re-entry of Canadian registered vehicles by U.S. resident aliens.


The classification and rates of duty, or exemptions therefrom, on imported goods are governed by the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Articles exported and returned are provided for in Chapter 98, HTSUS. Subheading 9804.00.45, HTSUS provides duty-free treatment for all personal and household effects taken abroad by or for the account of a person arriving in the U.S. who is a returning resident thereof. The Customs Regulations under this provision are found in 19 CFR 148.32, under which automobiles taken abroad for noncommercial use and returned by a returning resident shall be admitted free of duty upon being satisfactorily identified. This provision is applicable to the subject car when it is returned to the U.S. , after it was first imported.

With respect to subsequent importations of dutiable merchandise, whether or not duty was paid upon the first importation, 19 CFR 141.2 provides:

Dutiable merchandise imported and afterwards exported, even though duty thereon may have been paid on the first importation, is liable to duty on every subsequent importation into the Customs territory of the United States, but this does not apply to the following:
(c) Automobiles and other vehicles taken abroad for noncommercial use (see ?148.32 of this chapter);

19 CFR 148.32 provides for identification of vehicles taken abroad for noncommercial use and returned by a returning resident:

(a) Admission free of duty. Automobiles and other vehicles, aircraft, boats, teams and saddle horses, together with their accessories, taken abroad for noncommercial use and returned by a returning resident shall be admitted free of duty upon being satisfactorily identified.

(b) Identification of articles taken abroad. Upon the request of the owner or his agent, the port director shall cause any article described in paragraph (a) of this section to be examined before it is taken abroad, and shall issue a certificate of registration therefor on Customs Form 4455. On the return of the article, the certificate may be accepted as satisfactory identification of the described article for the purpose of admitting the article free of duty. In lieu of Customs Form 4455, the following may be accepted as satisfactory identification of such articles taken abroad:

(1) For an automobile, the State registration card;

Based on the foregoing regulatory language, assuming Mr. Toole takes the car to Canada for noncommercial use, he may enter the car free of duty into the U.S., as duty was already paid at the time of the first entry. However, he must have proper identification of the car being re-entered. As, in this case Mr. Toole is not intending to register the car in a U.S. state, he must obtain a certificate of registration on Customs Form 4455 (a copy for information purposes only has been enclosed, Mr. Toole should obtain a pre-printed form from the port). As Mr. Toole has previously entered the subject car and paid duty, we assume that the U.S. EPA requirements and federal motor vehicle safety standards were enforced in accordance with 19 CFR 12.73 and 12.80.

When re-entering a vehicle under 19 CFR 148.32, a person making such entry is required to pay duty on any repairs, alterations and additions made abroad to the vehicle which are not incidental to use of the vehicle abroad. The person is also required to declare in his baggage declaration any accessories for the re-entered vehicle which were acquired abroad. See 19 CFR 148.32(c).

An owner or agent re-entering a vehicle into the U.S. without a proper registration card or certificate, is required to pay duty on such vehicle. The duty shall be collected despite the fact that duty may already have been paid upon a prior entry. Therefore, Customs may not require that a vehicle be registered in a U.S. state, but may assess duty upon a vehicle for which such registration, or Customs certification cannot be established.


A Canadian registered vehicle may be admitted free of duty into the U.S. after duty was paid upon the initial entry of the vehicle, provided that the vehicle was taken abroad for noncommercial use and the owner of the vehicle, or his agent, obtains a certificate or registration of the vehicle on Customs Form 4455.

This decision should be mailed by your office to the internal advice requester no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. On that date the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


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