Thursday 21 September 2017
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3 Common Canadian Vehicle Import Scenarios

If you are thinking about moving from the United States to Canada, you should know that there is a great deal of planning in store for you.  Moving to Canada is not like moving to another state, even though living in Canada can, sometimes, feel like living in the United States.  Canada, after all, is another country and that means crossing the border counts as international travel.

This fact becomes relevant, however, when you start to move your personal possessions from the US to Canada. And it is most important to note if you plan to bring your car with you as part of the move.  If you do not plan to sell your car before you move, you will need to “import” it into Canada.  As such, here are a few of the most common Customs brokerage Canada scenarios where this might happen.


SCENARIO #1:  Did you buy your car in the US?

Before we begin you need to know that there are about a half dozen vehicle manufacturers who are either based in the United States or distribute to the United States which cannot be imported into Canada.  To learn more about this, please check with the Canadian Registrar of Imported Vehicles (CRIV).

Now, with that out of the way, if you bought your car in the United States, and Canada allows it for import you are going to want to have that vehicle inspected to make sure it can be certified for operation in Canada.  This is important because without that certification you are not allowed to drive your car in Canada, even if you have paid the appropriate fees and duties.

SCENARIO #2:  Did you buy your car in another country, outside North America?

Aside from those few rare cases mentioned above, just about every car purchased in the United States should pass Canadian certification.  And those which do not pass the certification process will probably require a simple modification or a restoration of some kind.  If, however, you bought your car outside of North America, things may not be so easy.  Many cars purchased outside North America are not readily importable to Canada; check with the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Act to determine whether or not your vehicle will pass.

SCENARIO:  Do You own a Non-Regulated Vehicle?

Some vehicles can be brought into Canada completely exempt of CMVSA standards. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • any vehicle more than 15 years old
  • any vehicle specifically designed for closed course competition
  • any power-assisted bicycle

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