Car Importing Requirements Of Canada

Car Importing Requirements Of Canada

Relocating from the United States to Canada is a little more complicated than moving from one state to another.  After all, these are two completely different countries with separate histories and cultures.  Sure, they share some common languages, customs, and social norms, but you are quickly reminded of their international boundary when you try to bring your car over the border permanently.

Importing a Car From the United States to Canada

Yes, when you move to Canada from the US—and you bring your car along—it is technically considered an act of import. That is, of course, if your car is even allowed to cross the border.  Don’t worry, most vehicles can be transferred from the US to Canada without any problems, but to be certain you need to have your vehicle inspected and certified by the Canadian Register of Imported Vehicles (RIV).  Be sure to do this before paying any import fees or duties, as these are not refundable if your car is not allowed to cross the border.

Vehicles that are not allowed to stay in Canada (but may be permitted on a visitor/temporary basis) include:

  • Those which have been stretched or lengthened (after market)
  • Those which were built and/or assembled by more than one manufacturer and has not met certain requirements (ie: motorhome, vocational truck, limousine, etc)
  • Those which have been outfitted with a lift kit
  • Motorcycles that have been converted to a three-wheeled vehicle
  • Vans with a modified interior or a raised roof
  • Vans that have been modified to be motorhomes

Importing a Car From A Country Other Than the United States

If you bought your car in another country there is a very good chance that you cannot import it to Canada without first making some modifications.  Basically, you will need to take a look at the safety requirements described in Canada Border Services Agency Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA) to determine if your vehicle does (or can) meet the safety requirements.

The following vehicles are permitted for Canadian import (if they do or can meet the MVSA safety requirements):

  • Regulated class vehicle 15 years old (or older)
  • Any bus that was manufactured before January 1, 1971
  • Any vehicle that does not already belong to a regulated class as they are described in the MVSA
  • Any vehicle that does meet all MVSA requirements and has been acquired abroad through a foreign manufacturer’s buyer program established specifically for Canadians abroad
  • Any vehicle that is returning to Canada that was compliant and remains compliant and is still owned by its original registered Canadian owner
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