Importing a car into Canada can be a complicated process. Of course, this is true in just about all countries but import to Canada from the United States, in particular, is actually very common. Whether moving to Canada or conducting business there, anyone wishing to import a car to Canada needs to know a few things about Car Customs Clearance before doing so.
Before You Import
Before you buy and import a vehicle into Canada you need to read the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) program and learn more about Environmental Canada requirements, vehicle admissibility, (RIV) exemptions, vehicle modification requirements, and vehicle branding history.
Vehicle branding history is important because a record of previous accidents that are serious enough to result in insurance write-offs (otherwise known as salvage or non-repairable).
In addition, some vehicles might require modification in order to comply with the local Transport Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; so make sure you understand these requirements before importing.
At The Border
When attempting to cross the border with a vehicle intended for import, you need to also have an understanding of your obligations to US Customs, the Canada Border Services Agency, and registration with the RIV program. For example, US Customs requires at least three business-days (72 hours) notice on all self-propelled vehicles leaving the United States.
After Entry with Vehicle
Once the vehicle has entered Canada, you will be responsible to fulfill any required modification orders and, if necessary, to complete vehicle inspection at an authorized Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) inspection center.
In order to successfully import a vehicle into Canada, you are responsible to meet the following conditions:
If your vehicle needs modifications be sure to wait until you receive the RIV inspection form; and that inspection has been completed by an authorized RIV inspection center.