Hey guys, I just wanted to share my experience on the whole process of importing a car from Japan.
I imported a 1996 Skyline R33 GTS-T Spec 2 with the help of using Derek services from Pacific Coast Autoís. After finally winning the bid, Derek takes care of all the paperwork and ships the car to you and now the process begins.
*Points to note: Derek surrendered my BOL, so I didnít have to do a steamship release, one less step for me to do. Also, my car was shipped with NYK shipping company.
My carís ETA was on July 8th. I received an email from Karen Khrod at WWL around 8:30am on Wednesday July 11th. She attached 3 files with the email: A guide for steps to complete, an Invoice, and a Soil Exam form.
If she only sends you two attachments, I highly recommend calling her at 604-528-8263 ext.3 and ask her to send a copy of the Soil Exam form, just because the only other place you can get it is by calling the Soil Exam place, and trust me, they do NOT pick up their f*cking phone.
Ok, so now you have those three files. You can print out all of them which I suggest, but youíre going to have to print out that Soil Exam form. Fill it out completely with your credit card info (they charge about $46 for the exam) and all the other things. Some of the information will be on the invoice she sends you. If you have any questions about filling it out, donít hesitate to call her (phone # above), sheís really nice and helped me out a lot with the whole process. I filled out this form and faxed it at this number (604-713-9844) in at 11am the same day. This is VERY IMPORTANT, send this form in ASAP, because they get a lot of cars and have to do a lot of exams, so the sooner you send it in, the sooner you get your car, and the less chances of you having to pay $$ for storage.
Now itís a waiting game.
I asked Karen, and she told me that it usually takes 2-3 days to get the papers back stamped.
I hadnít gotten the papers from Derek yet just because he had gotten them late as well. It was Friday and I still did not receive my stamped copy from CBSA. I called the WWL number ext. 1 to find out my pickup date, turns out it started on Monday July 16th.
Now Derek let me know that he had gotten all the paperwork together and bundled it together with the parts that came from the trunk of my Skyline. Derek did an awesome job packing it up and sending it via Express mail, and by Express, I mean it got here f*cking FAST. The big box along with the papers and my parts arrived on Tuesday July 17th and I had yet to get a stamped copy back from CBSA. At this time I was stressed out. I tried calling CBSA multiple times every day from Monday up until I picked up my car and either the phone kept ringing or Iíd leave a message.
Being fed up with CBSA, I called Karen on Wednesday July 18th, which was my last free day of storage. To my delight, she told me that sheíd extend my free days of storage up until Friday July 20th because of others just like me that hadnít heard anything back from CBSA.
Finally after much waiting on Thursday July 19th I heard the infamous fax ringtone at 11am and rushed downstairs. To my delight I received two documents, one stamped copy of the form I faxed, and one invoice. As soon as I got these papers, I called Customs to make an appointment at 604-666-0547. I spoke to a lady, and she told me I could come by the same day around 1pm because they werenít busy. So I had all my paperwork with me and went off to Vancouver.
When I got there I went into the office there was no one in line. I walked up to the customs officer and told him I had an appointment. He asked for what. I told him Iím importing a car from Japan. I gave him all the documents that I got from Derek as well as the stamped Soil Exam form. He asked me how I paid for the car itself without shipping and I told him in dollars. He also asked me if I had A/C in my car. Being a smarta$$ I told him I didnít, he gave me a look and said a car of this year and model should have it. I didnít want to make the man angry since heís doing my customs stuff so I finally gave in and told him it probably has it then. He gave me form 1 and I filled it out accordingly. Once I filled it out, he told me to go down to the lady and pay for the fees and taxes. After I had paid for everything, I went back to him and reminded him to fax the copied documents over to WWL, and he told me he already did . So then I was done and left the office. I gave Karen at WWL a call and let her know that I did the customs stuff and he faxed the paperwork over, and she acknowledged it. I asked her when I could pick up the car and she told me to come after 12:30pm on Friday.
On Friday July 20th I went to Chevron to fill up a jerry can full of 94 octane fuel, I could tell this is the beginning of costly fueling bills . I then went to B&W Insurance to get a dayís permit. As expected, they hadnít done a JDM car before, but they were knowledgeable enough to make it happen. I paid around $14 for a dayís permit without collision coverage. I then went off to Annacis Island to WWLís headquarters. When I got there, I immediately saw my Skyline parked behind fences, but I had to go way further down the road to the WWL building to get all of this wrapped up. So I got to the blue building and paid my $95 dollars and NO storage fees! YAY . She called someone on the walkie talkie and told me to go down to where I saw my car, and that someone was going to open the gates for me. I got there, and started up my car for the first time. I took it out of the fenced yard and pulled over to the side to put up my insurance papers. Then I went off, and now the real work begins, to make it pass the OOP inspection.
I hope this helps someone out there hoping to import their very own JDM car!