Before You Import
Before you import a vehicle from the United States, you should understand each step of the importing process, including:
Determine if the vehicle you would like to purchase can be imported into Canada.
Vehicle Branding History
A brand is a record of a prior accident serious enough to result in an insurance write-off (salvage) or even non-repairable status. A brand remains part of the vehicle’s permanent history and may affect the ability to license the vehicle in Canada. The Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) makes U.S. brands available to Canadian provinces and territories. You are strongly advised to verify the vehicle’s branding history through available commercial VIN search engines before you purchase any vehicle in the U.S. or attempt to import it into Canada.
Modification and Inspection Requirements
Some vehicles may require modifications in order to comply with Transport Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Determine what modifications your vehicle may require before you import it.
Recall clearance is a requirement for all vehicles being imported into Canada. Find out what documentation is required and how to obtain the recall clearance letter for your vehicle.
Find out about specific exemption criteria and if they apply to your vehicle.
Determine any possible duties, provincial and federal sales taxes, trip permits, temporary insurance and provincial licensing requirements before you import your vehicle.
At The Border
Find out more about requirements and reporting to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) by visiting:
U.S. Customs Export Requirements
Requires three business days (72 hours) notice of all self-propelled vehicles leaving the country.
note: trailers are not self-propelled vehicles and therefore exempt from this requirement.
CBSA Entry Requirements
CBSA confirms vehicle admissibility, assesses duties and taxes, and initiates the RIV registration process.
After Vehicle Entry
Once the vehicle has entered Canada, it is the importer’s responsibility to have required modifications, if any, completed and the vehicle inspected at an authorized Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) inspection centre. You must meet the following conditions:
- The vehicle has crossed the border and a Vehicle Import Form – Form 1 has been completed and submitted to RIV through the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
- To expedite your file, the Vehicle Import Form may be faxed or emailed to their office.
- The RIV registration fee has been paid.
- RIV has received confirmation that there are no outstanding recalls on the vehicle.
RIV will then issue an RIV inspection form which identifies modification and inspection requirements specific to your vehicle. The vehicle must pass the RIV inspection process before being licensed through a provincial/territorial licensing jurisdiction.
For more information:
It is important that you do not proceed with any modifications on your vehicle until you receive the RIV inspection form.
The RIV inspection can only be completed by an authorized RIV inspection centre.
When your vehicle has passed the RIV inspection, contact your provincial or territorial licensing authority to find out how to license your vehicle.