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Thread: How to Import a Car into Canada

  1. #1
    5,000 rpm - there be torque here! psulja's Avatar
    1999 Twilight Blue/1991 Mariner Blue
    Windsor, Ontario
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    How to Import a Car into Canada

    I figured I'd make this thread for any other Canadian's that might find themselves searching for cars in the States since I know it may seem harder than it actually is when you are doing it for your first time.

    I've done this twice in the past and would recommend it to anybody looking to save a little money or someone that just wants a nice rust-free car from down south. Everything is pretty straight forward and as long as you complete all the necessary paperwork you shouldn't have any hassles.

    1. After you have found the car you want, go to your local dealership and see if there are any recalls on it that need to be taken care of. You can get a printout from the dealership listing any potential recalls, or showing that your vehicle has no outstanding recalls. You may be asked for this paper at the border (I have never been asked for it).

    2. Arrange payment or going down to see the car. I was never willing to pay for the car before seeing it to get the title, bill of sale, etc that I would need. I usually send a small deposit ($100) and then pay the rest when I get there and deal with the paperwork while I'm in the US.

    3. Fax your title in to the U.S border crossing you plan to export the car from 72 hours before you plan on exporting the car. You can usually find their fax number through a quick Google search. After faxing it I've tried to call and confirm that it has arrived but they won't answer that question for you so hope it did go through

    4. Get insurance and a temporary permit from the state you are buying the car from and drive it back to the U.S Border crossing facility where you faxed your title to. Show them your passport, driver's license, title, and bill of sale. After reviewing the paper work they will stamp your title releasing it to Canadian customs.

    5. Stop at Canadian customs, identify yourself and let them know you are importing your vehicle. They will then fill out the Import Vehicle Form 1 for you.

    6. At this time you will need to pay your RIV fee ($195+GST), GST, Air Condition Excise Tax (if you have A/C, $100), and duty if the officer decides to charge you duty (6.1%)

    7. After paying all the fees they will stamp your Import Vehicle Form 1 and send you on your way. On the way back to the car you will probably get stopped by some customs agents and questioned about how much you actually paid for the car trying to get you caught in a lie if you said you paid less then you actually did for the car (more on this later). Keep the Import Vehicle Form in your car at all times until you have registered it in your province.

    8. If your car is 15+ years old you are pretty much done now. You just need to get your safety check and emissions test done (if they have one in your province) and register it in your province. Now you can enjoy your rust-free car in Canada.

    9. If your car is newer than 15yrs you have to go through a bit more work. Within 10 days of submitting Vehicle Import Form 1 at the border, Canadian customs will send you Form 2 - federal inspection.

    10. You have 45 days from the day you submitted to get any required modifications done to your vehicle (such as daytime running lights, child tether anchorages and metric speedometer conversions) and have your vehicle inspected at Canadian Tire.

    11. When you take the car in to get inspected, bring all supporting documents with you such as the title, bill of sale, Import Forms 1 & 2, and the outstanding recall letter. Canadian Tire will do all necessary inspections free of charge as per the RIV program.

    12. If the vehicle passes they will put a sticker on the drivers side door frame stating that the vehicle is Canadian Safety compliant. They will fill out your Form 2 and provide you with the necessary paperwork you will need to register the vehicle in your province.

    13. You can now take it right over to your provincial vehicle licencing office along with all the paperwork you’ve accumulated to get it registered, where you will pay whatever your provincial sales tax is on the sale price of the vehicle.
    Like I said, I've done this twice without any hassles. The first time was with my S14 and everything went well other than being interrogated for about 45 minutes in regards to the sale price. One thing that is really important and definitely not worth the risk; Do not lie about how much you paid for the car!! If they do find out you are lying they can seize your new car and you will be faced with a lot more trouble than it's worth. When I was importing the S14, 3 guys in a Civic got caught in a lie about the value of their car so the owner of the car lost the car and they were stuck there for way longer than I'm sure anyone would want to.

    With the Miata I was really nice to the customs agent joking around the entire time so she didn't charge me any duty, air conditioning excise tax, and not even the RIV fee. I got really lucky that time and rather than paying $1000 I only paid $200, it all depends on the agent you get.

    If you have any questions feel free to ask.
    Paul | IG- @psulja
    Build thread:
    1991 Mariner Blue - Built 1.8 swap, EFR, Fab9Tuning, Tii drivetrain

  2. #2
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power treeafodo's Avatar
    a rustbucket.
    Windsor, Ontario
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    Jan 2012
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    Thanks so much for this info, I know I've talked to you about this in the past, but it's nice to have all the info in a set place.
    Lexy (Little Hobo) - Transforming from Wreck to Race Car.
    Quote Originally Posted by Blueiii View Post
    Your priorities seem a bit messed up to me, although that's because I try to get my lap times to decrease.

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