Financial Advisory Blog

Are You Importing A Vehicle From the United States to Canada?

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Moving from the United States to Canada can be a complicated process.  After all, these are two different countries, even though they are both rather large and share a very long border; and share similar cultural and social norms.  Relocating and establishing yourself as a Canadian citizen, though, is almost like moving overseas, and that means you will have to, essentially, “import” your possessions.

The transport of your personal belongs from the United States across the Canadian border requires, then, clearance through the customs authorities.  Not all of your belongings may be subject to the same regulation, but you can be certain that larger items—like your car, for example—would be expedited with a little help from customs brokerage.

Here are three common scenarios in which you might need help with Canadian customs brokerage when trying to transport your vehicle:

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If You Bought Your Car in the United States

It is very important to note that a half dozen or so vehicle manufacturers are either based in the US or distribute vehicles within the US and cannot be imported to Canada.  You can learn get more specific information about these limitations by visiting the Canadian Registrar of Imported Vehicles.

As such, you should first make sure that your car is able to be transported from the United States to Canada. If it is allowable, the next step would be to have the vehicle inspected by a customs agent so you can get operational certification in Canada.  The US and Canada have different regulations, so you have to pass this inspection before you can drive your car in Canada.

If you Bought Your Car Outside North America

The very good news is that most cars you could buy in America will have no problem getting through customs into Canada.  Those cars that do not pass certification on the first go-round will probably only need a slight modification.

Now, there are some cars—typically those bought outside the United States—which may have a much harder time getting through customs. The Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Act can give you more information on whether or not your car will get through customs.

If You Own A Non-Regulated Vehicle

Essentially, these non-regulated vehicles are exempt from CMSVA standards:

  • Any vehicle 15 years old (or older)
  • Any vehicle designed specifically for closed course competition
  • Any bicycle outfitted with power assistance

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