Are you thinking of importing a car, truck, van, motorcycle, or any other passenger vehicle into Canada from the U.S.? It really is quite easy!
You just need a little knowledge and some proper documentation
If you plan to import a vehicle into Canada, you should be aware that it has to comply with Canadian import laws. The vehicle must meet the requirements of the CBSA, Transport Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency before it can be imported.
Transport Canada defines a vehicle as any vehicle that is capable of being driven or drawn on roads, by any means other than muscular power exclusively, but does not run exclusively on rails. Trailers, such as recreational, camping, boat, horse and stock trailers, are considered vehicles, as are wood chippers, generators or any other equipment mounted on rims and tires.
Importing vehicles acquired in the United States
Not all vehicles that are manufactured for sale in the United States can be imported into Canada. As a general rule, if the vehicle you plan to import was manufactured for sale in the United States and is less than 15 years old, or is a bus manufactured on or after January 1, 1971, you need to find out if it qualifies for importation under Transport Canada's Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) program. The RIV program ensures that qualifying vehicles imported into Canada are modified, inspected and certified to meet Canadian safety standards. You can contact the RIV at the telephone number or address found in the section called "Additional information."
If your vehicle qualifies for importation, you must register it in the RIV program when you report to the CBSA office on arrival in Canada. The RIV program registration fee is $195 plus goods and services tax (GST), and the Quebec sales tax (QST) for vehicles entering through a port in Quebec, or the harmonized sales tax (HST) in those provinces that are participating on the HST assessment. You will also have to pay any customs duty and other import assessments, including taxes that may apply. You then have 45 days to have the necessary changes made to your vehicle and have it inspected. You are responsible for all costs incurred to modify your vehicle in order for it to meet Transport Canada requirements
You cannot license your vehicle in Canada until the vehicle is modified and passes the federal inspection from the RIV. Before importing your vehicle, call the RIV at the number listed in the section called "Additional information" to ensure that it qualifies under the RIV program.
If you are importing a vehicle for resale or for other commercial purposes, Transport Canada requires you to report to a CBSA office designated for that purpose when you arrive in Canada. For further details, call the RIV.
The original certificate of title for your vehicle must be submitted to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at least 72 hours before the vehicle is exported from the United States, and the vehicle must be presented to CBP at the time of exportation.
A recall clearance letter for your vehicle must be submitted directly to the RIV at the time of importation or immediately afterwards, otherwise, the RIV will be unable to release the inspection form that you need to complete the necessary modification(s) to your vehicle. For further details, please refer to the RIV's Web site at www.riv.ca.
RIV program exemptions
You can import a vehicle from the United States without registering it in the RIV program if the following applies:
Vehicles imported temporarily under one of these conditions cannot be sold or otherwise disposed of while in Canada, and it cannot remain in Canada longer than the time constraints listed on the person's work permit, student visa, or other customs or immigration document. Once these time limits have been exceeded, the vehicle no longer qualifies for temporary entry and must be exported. Should the temporary status of the person entering the vehicle change while they are in Canada, the vehicle will have to be either permanently imported, if it qualifies, or exported.
Before importing your vehicle, contact Transport Canada to determine if the vehicle qualifies for importation. You can reach Transport Canada at the telephone number listed in the section called "Additional information."