As economic partnerships between the United States and the European Union continue to grow, many may find themselves either looking to relocate to places like Lithuania or to explore business opportunities there. One such business opportunity that has been particularly attractive of late is the exportation of used U.S. vehicles to Lithuania, a country with a growing auto market that has demonstrated interest in vehicles readily available within the United States.
Of course, if you’re looking to break into the used auto market in Lithuania, there are some things that you’ll need to know. (Likewise, there are things you’ll wish to know if you’re looking to bring over your own U.S. vehicle to Lithuania as part of relocation.)
Below, we’re going to review the whole process for importing a used U.S. vehicle into Lithuania. We’ll review what you need to do in terms of clearing both Lithuanian and United States customs, and we’ll even talk about the process of registering your used vehicle once it’s off the boat. For those interested in Lithuania as a business opportunity, we’ll also discuss the used car market there, examining current trends and which cars are currently the most popular.
Purchasing Used or Salvage Cars at U.S. Auctions
If you’re interested in Lithuania as a place for importing used U.S. vehicles, then you’ll obviously want to know how to get the best deals on both used and salvage cars. Without a doubt, the best way is car auctions, where countless used and salvage vehicles are sold at discounts of up to 80 percent each and every day!
In the past, such auctions have typically only been available to individuals and businesses in possession of dealer’s licenses, but this isn’t the case any longer. Thanks to online car auctions, ordinary consumers and would-be importer / exporters can gain access to these thousands of U.S. used car auctions through online car auctions as these sites list vehicles from certain dealer-only auction houses so that you get access to this inventory at great prices.
Best of all, online car auctions remove the hassle of participating in a used car auction in person. Instead, everything is handled directly online, just as it would be with a service like EBay!
In order to get started, you simply need to set up an account and make an initial deposit. This deposit reflects 10% of your total bidding power (e.g. a $500 deposit would allow you to bid up to $5000) and is all that’s needed to get started.
Once the money’s been received, you’ll be connected with an experienced auction agent who can help you through the entire process. In addition, this agent can also share auctions with you that cannot be displayed directly to the public. All told, this gives you an incredible opportunity to shop for a wealth of used and salvage U.S. cars that are being sold at deep discounts.
Shipping a Used or Salvage U.S. Car into Lithuania
If you have a used vehicle or purchased one through an online car auction that you’d like to ship to Lithuania, you’ll be happy to learn that arranging shipping is incredibly simple. As a major economic power in Europe, most U.S. ports offer service to Lithuania, both from the East and West Coasts.
Really, the only choice that you’ll need to make is between traditional container shipping and something that’s known as RORO shipping (RORO being an acronym for “roll-on roll-off”). For more expensive vehicles that absolutely need to be protected during shipping, traditional container shipping is best. However, if you’re okay taking a small amount of risk, then RORO shipping is incredibly attractive.
With this latter method, your used U.S. vehicle will simply be rolled onto the ship at your departure port and then rolled off once it arrives in Lithuania. Because of this, the shipper can offer you a much cheaper shipping price, and you’ll find that things are much more convenient. The only risk comes from your vehicle being potentially exposed to the elements and due to the fact that it might need to be moved while in transit. (Note, however, that RORO shipping is only available in certain ports and from certain shippers.)
On the other side of the world, the Port of Klaipéda serves as the main arrival port in Lithuania. There are other destinations in the country you can ship to, but you may find availability of service to those ports from the United States quite limited. To learn more about the Port of Klaipéda, you can visit their official website here.
Getting Your Used or Salvage Car Through U.S. Customs
After arranging for the shipment of your used U.S. vehicle to Lithuania, it’s time to go about the process of clearing your vehicle through U.S. customs. To get started, you will first want to gather the Original Certificate of Title for your vehicle. In addition, you will need to either:
- Get a certified copy of the Original Certificate of Title from a notary public.
- Get two complete copies of the Original Certificate of Title from the issuing state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
With these documents secured, you will then wish to present your vehicle and the documentation to U.S. Customs at your vehicles port of departure. To find out where U.S. customs is based in the port of departure, simply contact the Port Director at that port.
Note that U.S. Customs requires that the above documentation and your vehicle be presented at least 72 hours in advance of the ship date. This allows agents enough time to review the documentation, ensuring that the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) and engine numbers are a match with the furnished documentation. It also allows customs agents ample time to inspect the vehicle and to ensure that no illegal items or substances have been secreted away.
Provided the inspection is fine and the documents check out, your vehicle will then be cleared for loading by your chosen method. Should you have any further questions about the process of clearing a used U.S. vehicle being imported to Lithuania (or elsewhere), please consult the United States Customs and Border Protection website here.
Getting Your Used or Salvage Car Through Lithuanian Customs
When presenting a vehicle to customs in Lithuania, the following documents will be required:
- A Completed Application Form (See Below)
- Original Certificate of Title
- Original United States Vehicle Registration
- Proof of Insurance
- Passport or Driver’s License
- Customs Clearance Declaration
- Original Bill of Landing
Upon arrival in the port, the above documents will be checked by Lithuanian customs and the vehicle will be inspected. In order for the vehicle to be operated on Lithuanian roadways, the vehicle must be registered or granted a temporary (30-day) registration. For more on registering a vehicle in Lithuania, see below.
The application form for importing a used U.S. vehicle into Lithuania is provided by the Protocol Department, which is underneath the auspices of Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. To learn more about the application and to get in touch with a representative of the Protocol Department for Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, please visit the following website.
Note that there are no notable restrictions placed upon the importation of used motor vehicles into Lithuania outside of European Union safety and environmental standards. These vehicles can be left-drive vehicles, and there are currently no restrictions placed upon the acceptable age for used cars imported into the country. However, there are tax breaks afforded to certain older used vehicles with smaller engines, which you can learn about below.
Import Duties and Taxes for U.S. Vehicles Imported into Lithuania
As a member of the European Union, the standard import duties for used U.S. vehicles are in force. One can expect tariffs to be:
- 10% for normal passenger vehicles
- 5% for passenger vehicles with electric engines
- Between 11% and 22% for trucks, busses and other large automobiles
In order to determine the value of any given vehicle, Lithuanian customs will use standard books. Therefore, you may wish to consult resources like Kelley Blue Book or Edmund’s when assessing your tax liability for imported U.S. used vehicles in Lithuania.
(Note that the variation in terms of import duties for trucks, busses and larger automobiles will vary depending upon the size of the vehicle, seating capacity, engine type, emissions and more.)
In addition to the import tariff, there is also a Value Added Tax (VAT) in place. This VAT is currently at 21%, and is calculated based upon the custom-assessed value of the car. Note, however, that vehicles gas-operated vehicles with 1600 cc engines or smaller, as well as diesel-operated vehicles with 1800 cc engines or smaller, that are 7 years or older are not subject to the VAT. (Vehicle age is determined by date of manufacture and not date of sale.)
Lithuania does allow for a three-month grace period for the payment of the above tariffs and taxes. However, if these accounts are not settled by the end of the three-month grace period, then the vehicle (or vehicles) in question will be subject to immediate exportation.
Registering a U.S. Vehicle Imported into Lithuania
In order for any imported used vehicle to be operated on Lithuanian roadways, it must first be registered. If you yourself will be using the vehicle after relocating to Lithuania and need a grace period, then you can apply for a temporary registration. This must be done within 30 days of arrival in the country.
REGISTRA is responsible for the registry of motor vehicles in Lithuania, and can assist you with both temporary and full vehicle registration. When seeking a full registration for your imported used U.S. car in Lithuania, you will need to present the following:
- A Completed Registration Application
- Original Registration from the United States
- Personal Identification (Driver’s License, Passport)
- Certificate of Conformity
- Commercial or Sales Document
- Proof of Insurance
- The Vehicle’s Previous Registered Plates
Note that the Certificate of Conformity will be issued following a vehicle inspection. This inspection is to assess the roadworthiness of the vehicle, as well as its conformity with European Union standards for safety and emissions.
If you’d like more information about the process of registering our used U.S. vehicle in Lithuania, please visit REGISTRA’s website here. Note that the process of registering your imported used U.S. vehicle in Lithuania can be begun here.
The Used Car Market in Lithuania
Hit hard by the global recession last decade, auto sales in Lithuania, for both new and used vehicles, are only now beginning to recover. However, an increase in auto prices, particularly for used vehicles, has continued to stunt development in the market that otherwise might be more rapid. As elsewhere in the European Union, there is still strong demand for vehicles in Lithuania, and this trend should only improve in the years to come as wages in this country grow.
In the years to come, one should expect there to be an increase in demand for fuel efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles. Already one can see this demand taking shape in Lithuania, as brands like Toyota and Nissan continue to enjoy substantial market share of both the new and second-hand markets. However, even as demand for fuel-efficient vehicles grows, one should expect tried-and-true European brands to continue to dominate the market space. Fiat and Volkswagen, for example, continue to be the dominant brands in the country.
The Most Popular Used Vehicles in Lithuania
A large part of Fiat’s success in the Lithuanian market is due to the Fiat 500, which is currently the most popular car sold in the country. However, Volkswagen and Skoda, another European make, continue to make in roads in terms of popularity, with the Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Passat enjoying strong sales in recent years. Opel and Audi are two other makes that deserve attention, with Audi’s A-series continuing to draw attention from Lithuanian auto buyers.
Those importing used U.S. vehicles into Lithuania would be well advised to look into what opportunities exist for Japanese makes like Toyota and Nissan. Both makes readily available in U.S. used car auctions, there remains strong demand for vehicles like the Yaris that offer affordability and fuel-efficiency all in one. If you’re looking to stay with American brands when importing used U.S. vehicles into Lithuania, then Ford will be your best bet. This U.S. automaker has by far the best reputation among Lithuanian auto buyers.