Save Money By Importing Your Car, Auto Or S.U.V. Into Canada

by : Terry Z. Voster

You may think that it is really a difficult process to import a car into Canada from the US. It is not that difficult if you follow the clearly outlined rules - step by step. In the end it is a way for Canadians to save big money on the major purchase of purchasing a new vehicle - be it car, truck, van or SUV.

First and foremost - do your research on the car. This should be very standard stuff to you. There are a myriad of resources - newspapers, the library, auto dealers, books such as the classic Canadian car purchasers book - "Lemonaid "by the author Phil Edmonston. You can speak to other car purchasers - word of mouth is often the bet form or research. O course you can always do standard research on the internet or even pay a service online or even a person to do the work.

Next - go the official government of Canada "Registrar of Imported Motor Vehicles "- whether it by phone or the internet. Research the car on the site (Registrar of Foreign Motor Vehicles) or phone. By checking and verifying online Transport Canada's list of vehicles admissible from the United States you can check to see if the car is simply importable, that there are no restrictions on your vehicle of choice. If the car is easily importable you may find that are minimal modifications may be needed to certify the car for import into Canada. If major modifications are needed to import your vehicle or if the car is listed in the "inadmissible:" column of the column labeled " notes" indicates restrictions or modifications needed to import your chosen brand, model or year of vehicle take careful heed and note of these modifications, restrictions or concerns before proceeding in your quest. In order to export the vehicle to Canada (from the U.S. to Canada), fax the required U.S. Customs export documents to the U.S. Customs border office. Next in line at Canada Customs (correctly the Canadian Border Service Agency) you will about $ 300 in Riv fees and provide the proper paperwork and documentation to the Canadian Border Service Agency, Pay the now 5 % GST (General Sales Tax) on the U.S. converted purchase price of the vehicle again to Canada Customs and you are finished the first major hurdle of importing your bargain priced car from the United States into Canada You will also be asked to provide a "Recall Clearance Letter" which will certify that the vehicle has no outstanding vehicle Recalls and that all the manufactures recall upgrades have been done. This document can be simply provided on request by either the car dealer or vehicle manufacturer and must be on official company or dealer letterhead.

If you are going to drive your new car or other vehicle home you will need some form of vehicle registration and insurance. One other option is to have the freighted home by a common carrier. Many auto carriers are available who will take pick up your car at the dealer's lot and transport it to you in Canada or to a point at the American border. Depending on the rules of the state where the vehicle is purchased sales tax may not be charged if the car leaves the dealer's lot on the truck as opposed to being driven away. In addition the car most likely will be insured during transport by the carrier. In these cases the cost of the sales tax payment saved may well be in excess of any shipping costs. In addition it saves you the time, expense and gas of traveling to pick up the vehicle as well as driving it home. If the vehicle is to be transported to the Canadian border for you're to clear customs you must ensure that you have the car registered and insured. Often this can be done by your current insurance plan - perhaps an extension of your current insurance or a temporary permit obtained. Either way the car must be registered or insured one way or another if you are to drive the car from the Canadian border port of entry. If driven (and not hauled by truck vehicle transport), your car will need to be "plated" and insured. The dealer, who sold you your car, or the local highway department / sheriff, can assist you in obtaining these documents. As for insurance this can often be provided back home, as an extension of your current auto insurance plan or as a new purchase of car insurance.

If you are traveling away from home, the purchase can usually be done over the phone, with documents faxed.

You have now passed the first major hurdle of the steps of importing your new vehicle into Canada. Your vehicle will now have to be certified within Canada. Riv (The Registrar of Imported Motor Vehicles) will send you its "Vehicle Inspection Form" within two weeks. You will have 45 days from the time of submission of your documentation to the Canadian Border Service Agencies to complete the necessary modifications.

There are a number of straightforward steps in the process are taking your new vehicle for individual certification and inspection. The Registrar of Imported Vehicles of Canada ( ( has contracted with the well known and available the national auto parts and service center chain Canadian Tire to perform the federal Riv inspection. This fee is included as part of the Riv fee - so that you do not have to pay this fee yet again. The Canadian Tire Service Centers can also perform certain modification work as well, (at your cost), as well as perform many, if not most, of required standard provincial vehicle inspections. Once passed, you will next present the vehicle for the routine Canadian provincial or territorial licensing authority for its inspection and approval.

It cannot be stressed enough that although you should be saving money in the process of importing your new vehicle into Canada that the onus is on you to be both current and thorough in your research and documentation. Follow all steps. Do not take shortcuts or foolish chances. The rules can and may change from time to time. The onus is you to check with the relevant authorities - be it the Riv Canada site, the manufacturer of the car, truck or S.U.V., your Provincial highway and traffic authority and your auto insurance company among other authorities and department. The onus is you to check. If not sure phone or email to verify. Remember written documentation is always best. By following the above steps your new car purchase should be an enjoyable and trouble free experience as well as a most economical and thrifty purchase.