5 Things You Need To Import A Vehicle From the USA into Canada

January 25, 2018

Import A Vehicle From the USA into Canada - Border Buddy Blog

When government bureaucrats designed the system for importing vehicles from the USA into Canada, making it user-friendly was low on their list of priorities.

Like, really low.

The process involves meeting the requirements of five separate government agencies and is usually completed through a multistage process.

Our BorderBuddy experts have compiled the top five things you’ll need to do to import your vehicle from the USA into Canada.


1. Satisfy All Government Agencies

Life would be simpler if one agency handled every aspect of importing a vehicle. Instead, there are five and each one has a complex list of requirements:

  1. Transport Canada
  2. Canada Border Services Agency
  3. Canadian Food Inspection Agency (no, vehicles aren’t edible, but for many types, the CFIA is involved)
  4. Environment and Climate Change Canada
  5. U.S. Customs and Border Protection

2. Ensure Your Vehicle is Admissible

Transport Canada has a list of vehicles that are admissible to be imported. Before buying a vehicle in the U.S., you must make sure it’s on this list. The list covers a vast array of elements, such as vehicle age, electronic immobilization systems, running lamps, or if there are any recall notices outstanding. Recalls can be especially tricky and Transport Canada requires that importers contact vehicle manufacturers directly on the latest notices.

3. Have the Right Documentation

Bureaucrats are sticklers for paperwork so you have to make sure all your documentation is in order. It’s not enough to just have a bill of sale; your vehicle must come with documents detailing

  • title
  • a recall clearance letter
  • export certificates
  • a manufacturer’s statement of compliance

4. Pass Inspection

Any vehicle imported into Canada must be able to comply with our nation’s strict safety standards. During the import process, the vehicle must pass a Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) inspection. The RIV is a division of Transport Canada and makes sure vehicles meet Canada’s motor vehicle standards.

One key factor with any vehicle passing the inspection is determining if it has been “modified” in any way. Once modified (not including routine maintenance or general repairs), the vehicle no longer maintains its original factory-issued certification. Which RIV needs to know if you have modified the vehicle to make sure it still meets Transport Canada requirements.

5. Pay The RIV Registration Fee

As with any bureaucratic requirement, paying the fee requires several steps. There is also a list of exemptions and you’ll need to determine if your vehicle is on that list.

It all sounds pretty daunting, doesn’t it? BorderBuddy helps complete the complicated importation process. There’s no need to feel lost or frustrated.

Call one of our experts at 1.877.409.8163 today and tell us what vehicle you want to import. We will work with you to streamline what’s required to ensure you get your vehicle.