CBP Seizure for Non-Conforming Engines

What happens if CBP seizes vehicles, farming equipment, or engines for violating the EPA’s Laws and Regulations regarding vehicles and engines?

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and/or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can seize motor vehicles or farming equipment with non-conforming engines that fail to meet EPA emission standards and requirements or violate the Clean Air Act. Additionally, CBP can seize goods that arrive at a United States port of entry without the appropriate Independent Commercial Importer (ICI) arrangements or a valid EPA exemption and levy other fines and penalties.

After the property is detained, CBP must issue a Non-CAFRA “Notice of Seizure” that gives you the option to:

  • do nothing so that CBP can forever gain title to the property;
  • file a petition for remission or mitigation so that CBP can decide whether to keep the property; or
  • file a Non-CAFRA claim for court action so that CBP must either return the property or file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court.

Most attorneys who handle these types of cases recommend filing a demand for court action and posting a bond of $5,000 or 10 percent of the value of the claimed property, whichever is less. By filing a claim, you often have the best chance of getting the property back quickly.

Attorney for CBP or EPA Seizures for Forfeiture of Non-Conforming Engines

If your vehicle, farming equipment, motorcycle, or engine was seized by CBP or EPA for an alleged violation of the law, contact an experienced attorney at Sammis Law Firm. We can help you file a non-CAFRA claim for court action and post a bond. We can then negotiate with the attorneys for CBP or EPA to show that no violation occurred or an exemption should be granted.

If the property is not returned, we can file a complaint in the U.S. District Court for its return.

When it comes to importing a vehicle, farming equipment, or an engine, we are familiar with the rules required by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as well as CBP’s trade and security requirements.

Contact us to speak with an experienced attorney today.

Call 813-250-0500.

Types of Imported Vehicles and Engines Seized for EPA Violations

The types of property seized for forfeiture because of EPA violations include the following:

  • Light-duty motor vehicles (gas or diesel-fueled)
  • Motorcycles
  • Recreational vehicles
    • snowmobiles
    • ATVs
    • dirt bikes
  • Heavy-duty on-highway engines
  • Nonroad small spark-ignition
  • Locomotive engines
  • Ignition engines
    • Nonroad compression – ignition engines
    • Nonroad large spark-ignition engines
    • Marine compression-ignition engines
    • Marine spark-ignition engines

CBP Seizures for Violations of the Clean Air Act

If the motor vehicle, motor vehicle engine, nonroad engine, or equipment does not conform to the EPA emission standards and requirements, the Clean Air Act prohibits importing that property into the United States. These standards in the Clear Air Act apply to the following types of vehicles and engines regardless of whether it is new or used or manufactured domestically or abroad:

  • imported motor vehicles
  • heavy-duty engines
  • nonroad engines
    • garden equipment
    • generators
    • lawn equipment
    • watercraft
  • recreational vehicles

If the vehicles and engines are nonconforming, they can be imported under two circumstances. First, nonconforming vehicles can be imported after being modified, tested, and certified by an Independent Commercial Importer (ICI).

Second, EPA regulations permit nonconforming vehicles and engines to be temporarily imported under CBP bond if they qualify for an EPA exemption. EPA might pre-approve temporary importation of nonconforming vehicles for one of the following purposes:

  • Testing
  • Display
  • Repair or alteration
  • Nonresident
  • Competition
  • Racing

Before shipping a nonconforming vehicle or engine to the United States, importers MUST either:

  • make arrangements with an ICI for modifications, testing, and certification; or
  • obtain EPA pre-approval for the exemptions listed above.

Additional Resources

Overview of EPA Import Requirements for Vehicles and Engines (PDF) – Summary of EPA requirements for importing vehicles and engines (22 pp, 1.04 MB, EPA-420-B-11-015, March 2011, About PDF).

Procedures for Importing Vehicles and Engines into the United States (PDF) – information on the importation of nonconforming vehicles and engines (68 pp, 3.23 MB, EPA-420-B-10-027, July 2010, About PDF).

This article was last updated on Monday, March 25, 2024.