4 Common Scenarios for Importing a Vehicle To Canada

4 Common Scenarios for Importing a Vehicle To Canada

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Are you planning to make a permanent move to Canada?  If so, are you planning to bring your vehicle with you?  As in, you are not looking to sell it before the move?  Well, if these are both the case, you should brace yourself for a somewhat complicated process. It is not difficult but there is a bit of paperwork—and a lot of waiting—involved, as well as the payment of fees, duties, and taxes.  You should weigh all of these Clearit.ca factors before you make your decision, as you might change your mind when you have all the facts.

With that in mind, then, here are the most common scenarios in which you would want to “import” your car from the United States into Canada.

SCENARIO #1:  You Purchased the Vehicle in the USA

Nearly every vehicle purchased within the United States can be imported to Canada with little consequence.  That said, you also need to know that there is a list of roughly a half dozen vehicles manufactured in the USA (or manufactured elsewhere but sold in the USA) that cannot be imported to Canada.  You have to check with the Canadian Registrar of Imported Vehicles to get more information.

If you believe your car is allowed for import, you need to then have your vehicle inspected. When you pass the inspection you will next receive a certification which will allow you to import your car to Canada (make sure you pay duties and taxes, too, of coruse).

SCENARIO #2:  You Purchased the Vehicle Outside of North America

Again, most cars purchased in the US will likely pass certification, and those which do not might just need a simple repair or modification (or restoration) to do so.  However, if you bought your car outside of North America you will probably not be able to bring it into Canada on a permanent basis.

SCENARIO #3:  Case By Case

Now, every rule has exceptions and those rules relating to vehicle imports into Canada are no different.  These particular situations are addressed on a case by case basis, simply requiring that have Canadian authorities inspect your vehicle and make any recommendations that might apply.

SCENARIO #4:  You Have A Non-Regulated Vehicle

Finally, some vehicles are completely exempt from compliance with the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Act. These vehicles include:

  • any vehicle made more than 15 years ago
  • any vehicle bought for temporary use (as a visitor in Canada)
  • any vehicle made specifically for the purposes of closed course competition
  • any power assisted bicycle

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