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How To Import Car From The US

To import car from US to Canada, follow the steps below:


  1. The first step to importing a car from US is to check with the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) to see if the vehicle is admissible to Canada. Find out if the vehicle will need any modifications in order to pass the federal inspection requirements and how much it will cost
  2. Check to make sure there are no recalls on the vehicle you are looking to import. To see a list of vehicles with safety recalls click here. If there are recalls, check with the seller to ensure all recalls have been serviced and there are no outstanding recalls
  3. Find out if your vehicle is subject to a high excise tax. To find out more about the excise tax, click here
  4. Purchase a car history report from either Carfax or Autocheck or order an inspection on the vehicle from Carchex to satisfy yourself that there is nothing wrong with the car
  5. Once you are happy with the above, you can arrange for the purchase of the vehicle
  6. If you are satisfied with everything, arrange payment and pickup / delivery of a vehicle
  7. If you are planning on picking up the vehicle yourself, you will have to fax or email the vehicle title and a completed Vehicle Export sheet to customs 72 hours prior (business days only) to taking the vehicle back to Canada.
  8. Make sure to check with the US Border crossing that everything is in order prior to pickup and ensure that their office will be open when you plan to cross. If you emailed the documents in step 7 above, you will receive confirmation by email that it has been received
  9. Arrange for temporary insurance at your local insurance brokerage prior to departing Canada. For the trip from the border to home, you would need temporary insurance called “binder of insurance” (aka. APV38) from an ICBC Autoplan agent. For operating the vehicle in the US, you will need an “in transit permit” from the originating State so ask the seller to refer you to an insurance broker in the respective State.
  10. When you arrive at seller’s destination, check that the VIN on the vehicle matches the Bill of Sale and Vehicle Title and make sure there’s a “North American Compliant” sticker on the vehicle (usually located on the beam on the drivers side door)
  11. Once everything checks out, you can make your way back to Canada. Drive to the US border crossing where the vehicle title was faxed to, and identify yourself with your passport and they will check out the bill of sale and vehicle title with the VIN number on the vehicle
  12. If everything checks out, they will stamp your vehicle’s title to release it to Canada Customs
  13. Once released, you will have to cross Canada Customs. Tell them you are importing a vehicle and they will ask you to park your vehicle to go into the office and they will give you a Vehicle Import Form 1 to complete
  14. You will be required to pay an RIV fee, which is $195 + GST/HST
  15. You will also be required to pay the federal portion of the HST, applicable duties for vehicles that are manufactured outside of North America. There may be other taxes such as Air Conditioning Excise tax and High Emissions Excise tax (make sure you have sufficient limits on your credit card as most Canadian Customs offices do not accept cash or cheques
  16. Once all this paper work is done and you have paid, they will stamp your Vehicle Import Form 1 and you will then be able to make your way home
  17. Bring all your paperwork with you and take the vehicle to Canadian Tire to obtain an inspection. If it passes they will put a sticker that says “Canadian Safety Compliant” and provide you a “passed” inspection report
  18. Now you can take your paperwork and vehicle to an Autoplan broker and get your car licensed and insured. You will need the following documents:


If you do not plan to pick up the vehicle yourself, you could obtain the services of a customs broker like A&A Customs Brokers, which will arrange for the shipping of your car.


Contact us if you need additional information or assistance in registering your car. Our agents are happy to help.

Import Car from US