Mini Trucks in the USA
How to Import Mini Trucks to the USA
This page compiles some of the key information needed to import a single mini truck, or full container, to the USA such as:
We’ve imported hundreds of mini trucks to the USA in recent years, to registered importers and individuals. We hope this guide makes the process a bit easier. If you have any questions, you can always contact us to learn more.
USA Import Process
Purchase and Shipment
Customs and Port Clearance
Domestic Transport (From port)
(If for street use)
Purchase and Shipment
Minitrucks.net supports you 100% of the way with this step. Our team of experienced buyers inspect all mini trucks before purchase, and our logistics team can organize shipments worldwide. We also translate and prepare all necessary documents for customs clearance. Dereg documents are sent to all parties once the vehicles are paid for and en route to the arrival port.
Customs and Port Clearance
There are two options to handle customs and port clearance:
Customs Broker: Hire a firm to receive and process all paperwork to get the mini truck through customs. This is the safest and easiest way to get your mini truck imported.
Self Submission: Handle all paperwork on your own. This option is possible for anyone and could save you money in customs fees.
We will support you and/or your customs broker with all necessary paperwork and information needed to get your mini truck through customs.
If you have a trailer and live close to a major port, then you are free to get your truck directly from the port. Customs brokers can aid in getting clearance to retrieve your vehicle from the port.
If traveling to the port is too far, or you don’t have a trailer, then you would need to arrange domestic transport to the final location. Many transport companies offer port-pickup for individual vehicles.
The final step is registering your mini truck for street use at your local DMV office. This process varies from state to state, and sometimes from person to person. Some differences between Japanese cars and American cars can cause confusion to local staff. For example, mini trucks manufactured in Japan do not have a VIN number. Instead they have a chassis number. As long as you come prepared with all of the required information, with a healthy dose of patience and explanation, you should be able to get your plate and drive down the road in your shiny little truck!
Please note, only 25+ year old mini trucks can be registered for street use in the USA. Please continue reading to see more information about street legal mini trucks in America.
Street Legal Mini Trucks in the USA
25 Year Old Mini Trucks
You can register and drive Japanese mini trucks in most states if they are over 25 years old.
Since most Japanese mini trucks were never sold in the US market, they have not been certified by the government for street use. Despite this, the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act of 1988 exempts cars that are 25 years or older, based on the manufacture date. This means that 25 year old mini trucks are street legal and can be registered and plated.
Under 25 Year Old Mini Trucks
Some states have specific laws that allow off-road-utility vehicles to be driven on the street. If your state has such laws, then it may be possible to register an under 25 year old mini truck for street use.
Under 25 year old trucks are imported as off-road vehicles without the same documentation as a regular motor vehicle. Some states; Kansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Maine, and New Hampshire, require mini trucks to be classified as Low Speed Vehicles (LSV) and may require further modification or certification for street use.
Please check the chart below to see if new mini trucks may be street legal in your state
Mini Truck Laws in the USA by State
|State||Effective Date||Where Permitted||Speed Restrictions||Vehicle Classification|
|Alabama||01/01/2012||Any road except interstate highways||25 mph||Mini-Truck|
|Alaska||no state law|
|Arizona||no state law|
|Arkansas||07/30/09||Roads with a posted speed limit of 55 mph or less, excluding interstate highways and controlled access highways if vehicle is being used exclusively for farm purposes.||55 mph||Mini-Truck|
|California||01/01/07||Only if located on a natural island with an area in excess of 20,000 acres and that is within a county having a population in excess of 4,000,000. (e.g. Catalina Island)||No||Autoette|
|Colorado||no state law|
|Connecticut||no state law|
|Delaware||no state law|
|District of Columbia||no law|
|Florida||06/16/09||On roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less.||35 mph||Mini-Truck|
|Georgia||no state law|
|Hawaii||no state law|
|Idaho||01/01/09||Local option; roads designated by the Idaho Transportation Board.||No||Utility Type Vehicle (UTV)|
|Illinois||08/31/07||On roads with a posted speed limit of less than 35 mph if allowed by local ordinance.||25 mph||Neighborhood Vehicle|
|Indiana||01/01/16||On any road except interstate highways.||No||Mini-Truck|
|Iowa||no state law|
|Kansas||07/01/08||On public roads except interstate, federal or state highways; within corporate city limits if allowed under local ordinance.||No||Micro Utility Truck|
|Louisiana||08/15/08||On roads with a posted speed limit of 55 mph or less except interstate highways, controlled access highways, or multi-lane divided highways with partial or no control of access.||No||Mini-Truck|
|Maine||est. 9/09||On roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less.||25 mph||Low-Speed Vehicle|
|Maryland||no state law|
|Massachusetts||no state law|
|Michigan||no state law|
|Minnesota||08/01/09||Local option||Local option||Mini-Truck|
|Mississippi||no state law|
|Missouri||08/14/08||local option||45 mph||Utility Vehicle|
|Montana||no state law|
|Nebraska||01/01/11||On any road except interstate highways, freeways or expressways.||No||Mini-Truck|
|Nevada||no state law|
|New Hampshire||9/11/10||On roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less located within 25 miles of the registrant's home or place of business.||No||Low-Speed Utility Vehicle|
|New Jersey||no state law|
|New Mexico||no state law|
|New York||no state law|
|North Carolina||no state law|
|North Dakota||08/01/07||On any paved road except highways with a posted speed of more than 65 mph.||55 mph||Off-Highway Vehicle|
|Ohio||01/01/17||On roads with a posted speed limit of less than 35 mph if allowed by local ordinance||35 mph||Mini-Truck|
|Oklahoma||11/01/08||On any road except interstate highways.||No||Mini-Truck|
|Oregon||no state law|
|Pennsylvania||no state law|
|Rhode Island||no state law|
|South Carolina||no state law|
|South Dakota||no state law|
|Tennessee||07/01/08||On streets where the posted speed limit is less than 40 mph. A county or municipality may prohibit the operation of medium-speed vehicles on any road under its jurisdiction if the governing body of the county or municipality determines that such a prohibition is necessary in the interest of safety.||35 mph||Mini-Truck|
|Texas||no state law|
|Utah||10/01/08||On any road except interstate highways.||50 mph||Off-Highway Vehicle or Street-Legal All-Terrain Vehicle|
|Vermont||no state law|
|Virginia||no state law|
|Washington||no state law|
|West Virginia||no state law|
|Wisconsin||no state law|
|Wyoming||01/01/08||On any road except interstate highways.||Must drive on highway shoulder.||Multipurpose Vehicle|
Off Road Mini Trucks in the USA
Did you know you can import brand new mini trucks to the USA directly from Japan?
A little known process allows for trucks that are brand new and up to 20 years old to be imported as off-road vehicles.
Minitrucks.net is one of the only companies that can certify and import mini trucks under 25 years old to the USA. As seen above, some states allow them to be driven on public roads under specific conditions as well.
Models Available For Import as Off Road Mini Trucks
|Suzuki Every||1999 to Present||Non-turbo models only|
|Suzuki Carry||1999 to Present||Non-turbo models only|
|Mazda Scrum||1999 to Present||Non-turbo models only|
|Daihatsu Hijet||2008to Present||Truck, Van and Deck-Van|
|Mitsubishi Minicab||1999 to Present||Truck, and Van Models|
|Nissan Clipper||1999 to Present||NT100 Truck and NV100 Van|