Importing Buses and Vehicles into California

Importing a bus or any vehicle into California from any state is a simple matter. This becomes a little more procedural if you are crossing in from Mexico or passing through an immigration stop on the highway. Imported motor vehicles are subject to U.S. air pollution control (emission) standards, safety standards, and bumper standards.

The Border Center Website provides detailed information on importing buses, coaches and other vehicles into California and other entry points to the U.S. This page provides information for importing a motor vehicle into the United States, including requirements of:

Importing School Bus for Personal Use

Importing a school bus for personal use in California can have some special restrictions in terms of registration and licensing. It will depend on a number of factors such as whether or not you intend to haul passengers as well as potential conversion needs to ensure that it is not confused with an in-service school bus. It is best to contact the California DMV to discuss the specifics of your intentions and bus before importing it to California from another state.

Motorhomes, Coaches, and RV Emission Requirements

Motor homes and RVs less than six years old are exempt from the biennial smog certification requirement. Other vehicles are exempt from the requirements as well; the CA DMV Smog Information Page provides a full list of exempt vehicles. Depending on the county you live in, you might be required to submit a new smog certificate to the DMV every two years, when you renew your registration.

For Truck and Bus regulations regarding emissions, owners importing buses into California should visit

In general, buses, coaches and RV's should confirm with the inspection station ahead of time that they can accommodate your larger vehicle for a smog inspection.

It is always best to check the California DMV smog certification page to find out more about the smog requirements for your vehicle.