How to Import an ATV into the U.S.

How to Import an ATV into the U.S.

Breeze Customs Blog


mporting an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) into the United States can be a great investment for those looking for a reliable and fun way to explore the outdoors. An ATV provides unsurpassed mobility over extreme terrain, and many models are equipped with independent suspensions that make them very capable off-road vehicles. A powerful ATV engine can conquer steep hills and thick mud, making them a great choice for those who want to take their ATV out on more challenging trails. Additionally, many modern ATVs come with advanced safety features such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), which helps riders maintain traction in unpredictable conditions. For all these reasons and more, an ATV is well worth importing into the United States.

However, importing ATVs into the United States can be a complicated process and is not something to take lightly. There are numerous hurdles to cross. But with some research, planning, paperwork preparation, and the help of a customs broker, everything should go well. Read on to learn everything that goes into importing an ATV so that you’re fully informed when bringing one into the United States.

Importing based on emission requirements

All imported off-road engines and vehicles, which include ATVs, must meet the United States emission standards before being allowed entry into the country.

Vehicles that do not meet emission standards can be imported if:

  • They are imported by an Independent Commercial Importer (ICI)
  • They qualify as temporary imports under the U.S. Customs bond via an EPA exemption

Documents needed to import an ATV

The documents needed to import an ATV depend on whether they enter the U.S. as temporary or commercial imports.

Temporarily imported vehicles require these documents to be submitted to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP):

  • A completed 3520-21 Form
  • An entry summary (CBP 7501) and/or the bill of sale and lading

For commercial imports, you will also need to submit the following:

  • A formal entry
  • A customs bond (To acquire a customs bond, contact one of the approved surety companies listed here.)

Whether submitting a formal or informal entry, ensure you do so within 15 days of your ATV’s arrival. ATVs without an entry are forwarded to a general order warehouse (G.O.) and may be auctioned off after 6 months.

What to choose for ATV transport

There are many factors to consider before importing all-terrain vehicles into the United States. The country of origin, the time it will take to reach the destination, and your budget are only a few determining factors that will affect your decision. Ultimately, you want the ATV to arrive in excellent condition while keeping your budget and other needs in mind.

Overseas Transport

Ocean Shipping

Ocean shipping is generally viewed as the more affordable option. You can ship the ATV in a shared container which cuts costs, but it may take longer to arrive since it will not ship until there are enough vehicles to transport. Alternatively, you can transport the ATV using a sole container, which will require you to cover all costs on your own.

Another method of ocean shipping is RoRo or a Roll-on Roll-off ship. This vessel uses a specifically designed ramp to load and unload vehicles safely onto the ship. RoRo is relatively cheaper because the ship will carry several vehicles simultaneously.

Air Freight

You can import your ATV using air freight for faster and safer transport. This is the best option if you’re worried about damage to the ATV or need it to arrive by a specific deadline, but it will cost you a lot more than the other options.

Transport by Truck

If you happen to be importing vehicles from Canada or Mexico, you can opt for truck import. Trucks give you the option of open or enclosed carriers, though open carriers can only be recommended for short trips. While safer for the vehicle, open carriers are less fuel-efficient and more expensive than closed carriers.

Work with a licensed customs broker

The process of importing an ATV into the U.S. can be complicated, but it is possible to do with the help of a licensed Customs Broker. A customs broker will guide you through the entire process and ensure that all required paperwork is completed correctly. They can also provide valuable guidance on which import options are best for your specific situation.


You should now have a general understanding of how to import an ATV into the U.S. The process may seem complicated at first, but if you take it one step at a time and do your research, you’ll be successful. Be sure to contact an experienced customs broker who can help guide you through the process and ensure everything goes smoothly.

How Breeze Customs can help you import your motorcycle

At Breeze Customs, we help hundreds of importers bring their vehicles into the United States every year without any hassle. From checking your vehicle’s admissibility to preparing and filing your documentation, we’ll take the work off your shoulders. Book a meeting with one of our Breeze Customs Concierges and we’ll take it from there.