Rules To Follow When Importing Electric Scooters Into the U.S.

Numerous people riding on electric scooters
Following NHTSA regulations can be difficult when importing electric scooters. We’ll help you with the protocols that you’ll need to follow to ensure your vehicles make it into the country.
June 22, 2020
Last Modified: June 13, 2024
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Whether it’s for personal use or business reasons, importing electric scooters into the U.S. can be a tricky task to deal with. From the rules and regulations surrounding the proper documentation to calculating customs duties, there are many tasks to manage during the import process.

Key takeaways:

  • Box 2A on the HS-7 Form should be checked off for scooters that qualify as motor vehicles. 
  • Box 8 on the HS-7 Form should be checked off for vehicles that don’t qualify as motor vehicles. 
  • China and India are the best countries to source electric scooters from, as they lead the global market for these products. 

Here at USA Customs Clearance, we’re ready to provide our knowledge and expertise to help you import electric scooters. 

What Are the Rules and Regulations For Electric Scooters Entering the US?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulates vehicles that are imported into the country. The NHTSA rules that will apply to your scooters will vary depending on if they qualify as a motor vehicle or not.

Your electric scooter will be considered a motor vehicle if it has a maximum speed of 20 mph or higher and components meant for on-road use.

Components for on-road use include:

  • Lights
  • Mirrors
  • Turn signals

Electric scooters that aren’t considered motor vehicles have the follow features:

  • They lack a seat and are operated in a standing position
  • Are incapable of a top speed of 20 mph

A DOT/NHTSA HS-7 Declaration Form will be needed, and you’ll have to clarify your scooters’ status as a motor vehicle. The document covers motor vehicles intended for on-road use, as well non-road vehicles. Properly completing this form when importing electric scooters is vital to the success of your shipment.

I’ll explain which NHTSA procedures you’ll need to follow for motor vehicle and non-motor vehicle electric scooters. 

Related: A Complete Guide To Importing Bicycles

NHTSA Requirements for Motor Vehicle Scooters

Electric scooters that qualify as motor vehicles will need to abide by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). A label certifying the vehicle meets these requirements should be found permanently affixed to it by the manufacturer.

Check off Box 2A on your HS-7 Declaration form. To make the importation process easier, have your seller verify in the sales contract that an FMVSS label is attached. You can then present the document to customs at the time of importation.

Electric scooters that aren’t manufactured to meet FMVSS will need the help of a Registered Importer (RI) and post a DOT Conformance Bond. The RI will then modify your vehicle until it meets FMVSS regulations. 

Related: How To Import A Motorcycle 

NHTSA Requirements for Non-Motor Vehicle Scooters

If your electric scooters don’t qualify as motor vehicles, then check off Box 8 on the HS-7 Declaration form. It should be noted that your imports can have components meant for on-road use and still not qualify as a motor vehicle if the maximum speed is under 20 MPH. 

What Documents Are Needed?

As we’ve already covered, an HS-7 Form will be needed for electric scooters that qualify as motor vehicles. However, you’ll need some additional documents that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will want to see before your vehicle can enter the country. 

These include:

  • Pro forma invoice
  • Commercial invoice
  • Packing lists
  • Bills of Lading
  • Customs Bond

CBP will review these import documents very closely to ensure the information included on them aligns with the details of your shipment. If you’re bringing your scooters into the country by ocean vessel, you’ll also need to submit an Importer Security Filling (ISF). 

What Countries Can You Import Electric Scooters From?

There are numerous countries that make electric scooters. Many of them make for great places to source these vehicles. That said, China and India have the most prolific share of the global market for these machines. I’ve provided data on China’s electric scooter sales between 2019-2023. 

The graphic shows Chinese unit sales for electric scooters between the 2019 and 2023. The first bar is dark blue and shows China sold $5.05 million worth of electric scooters in 2019. The second bar is red and shows China sold $5.05 million worth of scooters in 2020. The third bar is light blue and shows China sold $533 million in 2021. The fourth bar is light purple and shows China sold $433 million in 2022. The fifth bar is blue and shows China sold $477 million in 2023.

Importing electric scooters into the U.S. from China will require a lot of back and forth communication between you and your supplier. It’s vital that you seek the technical specification of the scooter to ensure that it meets the rules and regulations to define it as a non-motor vehicle. Importing from China will typically require you to have a customs bond, especially for larger shipments that are over $2,500 in value.

Here’s a list of the top Chinese electric scooter manufacturers available:

  • Ninebot
  • Xiaomi
  • Niu Technologies
  • Micro 
  • Yadea

While the U.S. primarily imports electric scooters from China, India is a popular sourcing location for these vehicles as well. In 2022, India sold 652,643 units. This resulted in a 347% increase in sales. Unlike China, India shares a more positive trade relationship with the United States and fewer heavy tariffs. 

Related: A Guide to China’s Section 301 Tariffs

Scoot Your Way To Success USA Customs Clearance

Don’t put yourself through the stress of importing electric scooters on your own. USA Customs Clearance is staffed with highly trained Licensed Customs Brokers that can help you through the process. You can also use our many services to your advantage. 

  • Import/Customs Consulting: Meet with one of our Licensed Customs Brokers to discuss your electric scooter import. 
  • Customs Bond: There’s a good chance your electric scooter will have a value over $2,500. If that’s the case, you’ll need this document to clear customs. 
  • Importer Record of Registration: New importers will need to register with CBP before bringing goods into the country. 

Import your electric scooters with ease by partnering with USA Customs Clearance. Start with one of our services or contact us through the site. You can also get into contact with our team by calling us at (855) 912-0406

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Latest comments (3)

I have made initial down payment for 13 electric motorcycles from China. Have ISO & VINs, but no DOT. Supplier has negotiated a door to door delivery with me. What chance DOT cause problem at port?

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