A lot of people consider moving to Canada.  They have socialized health care and an excellent quality of life.  So, if you find yourself among those who fancy relocating to the north a bit, you need to know that there are three stages of transporting and registering your vehicle in Canada. This is an important part of moving to Canada because if you are not able to register your car, you will not be able to bring it at all. 


STAGE 1: Before you Import Your Vehicle

When trying to Import a car to Canada the first thing you need to do is look it up in the Canadian Registrar of Imported Vehicles.  This program will provide you with detailed information regarding vehicle admissions limitations as well as exemptions and any other document crucial to bringing your vehicle across the international border.  The importance of this step should be somewhat obvious because if you do not prepare properly, you might find yourself at the border with a car full of boxes and no place to go because you failed your inspection.

Speaking of which, you need to make sure you file the following documents as early as possible (or within guidance suggestion) before attempting your border crossing:

  • any recall clearance
  • any records on vehicle modification and inspection
  • vehicle branding history
  • RIV exemption
  • Environment Canada requirements

Also make sure that you are familiar with the US Customs Export requirements as well as the Canada Border Service Agency’s entry requirements.

STAGE 2:  The Actual Import Process

After you have verified that your vehicle does, in fact, meet the requirements (with any appropriate exemptions, on a case-by-case basis) you can move on to stage 2.  This stage involves the physical action of bringing your car across the border from the United States into Canada.  However, before you can make this trip, you must give the US Customs Export agency 72 hours notice of your intent to bring a “self-propelled” vehicle across the border.   Similarly, you must also inform the CBSA and assess the duties and fees you will have to pay when you cross the border.

STAGE 3:  After The Border Crossing

Once you enter Canada, the rest is pretty easy.  As long as you have all your paperwork filed and your fees paid you only now must complete any required modifications and then complete your vehicle inspection.