Import Vehicle To Canada, 7 Steps to Import

Import Vehicle To Canada

7 Steps to Import a Vehicle to Canada from the US

If you are thinking of importing a vehicle to Canada from the US, you need to follow some steps to ensure a smooth and legal process. Here are the main steps you need to take:

1. Check the eligibility of your vehicle

Not all vehicles are allowed to be imported to Canada, so you need to check Transport Canada’s list of admissible vehicles first.

2. Obtain a recall clearance letter from the manufacturer

This letter confirms that your vehicle has no outstanding safety recalls that need to be fixed. You can contact the manufacturer or an authorized dealer to get this letter. You will need to provide your vehicle identification number (VIN) and other details.

3. Get Canadian car insurance

You need to have valid car insurance in Canada before you can import your vehicle. You can shop around for different insurance companies and compare their rates and coverage options. Some insurance companies may require you to have a Canadian driver’s license or proof of residency before they can insure your vehicle.

4. File an export notice with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

You need to notify the CBP at least 72 hours before you plan to export your vehicle from the US. You can do this online through the Automated Export System (AES) or by faxing a copy of your title and other documents to the CBP port of exit. You will receive an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) as confirmation of your filing. You can find more information on how to file an export notice here:

5. Prepare your import documents and pay the fees

You need to have the following documents ready when you arrive at the Canadian border:

  • Your original title or certificate of ownership
  • Your recall clearance letter
  • Your ITN from the AES
  • Your Canadian car insurance
  • A bill of sale or invoice showing the purchase price and date
  • A completed Vehicle Import Form – Form 1, which you can get from the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) website:

You also need to pay the following fees:

  • A $325 RIV fee, which covers the inspection and registration of your vehicle in Canada
  • A 6.1% duty on vehicles manufactured outside of North America
  • A 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the value of your vehicle
  • A provincial sales tax (PST) or Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), depending on where you live in Canada

You can pay these fees by credit card, debit card, cash, or certified cheque.

6. Get your vehicle inspected by the RIV

After you cross the border, you have 45 days to get your vehicle inspected by an authorized RIV inspection center. You can find a list of inspection centers here:
The inspection will verify that your vehicle meets all Canadian safety standards and regulations. If your vehicle needs any modifications, you will have to get them done before you can pass the inspection.

7. Register your vehicle in your province or territory

Once you pass the inspection, you will receive a Vehicle Import Form – Form 2 from the RIV, which is your proof of importation. You can then register your vehicle in your province or territory of residence and get your license plates and stickers.

How to Import a Vehicle to Canada: A Statistical Overview

If you are thinking of importing a vehicle to Canada, you might be interested in some statistics about the Canadian automotive market. Here are some facts and figures based on the latest data available from various sources.

The Canadian Automotive Market in 2021

According to the International Trade Administration, Canada is the second largest automotive market in North America, with imports representing about three quarters of the new vehicles market. In 2021, the total value of Canadian automotive sector imports rebounded to US$64.7 billion, but was still 9% lower than 2019. The United States remains the dominant supplier of vehicles and parts to Canada, accounting for about 63% of the total imports.

The most imported sub-sectors in 2021 were motor vehicles for passenger transport (not buses/public transport), trucks and other vehicles for the transport of goods, and motor vehicle assembly components and parts, with values of US$27.8 billion, US$14.8 billion, and US$13.1 billion respectively.

The total number of road motor vehicles registered in Canada increased to 26.2 million in 2021, up 1.9% over 2020. Of these, 24.1 million were light-duty vehicles, with passenger cars being the most common type. However, registrations of multi-purpose vehicles have experienced the most growth over the last five years.

Electric vehicle sales, which reached 85,500 units in total sales in 2019, were also impacted by the pandemic in 2020, but remained at 3.52% of total new vehicles registrations. Of these, 40% were battery electric (BEV) and the rest plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

The Global Demand for Vehicle Imports

According to Statista, the global demand for vehicle imports has been affected by various factors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, trade tensions, environmental regulations, consumer preferences, and technological innovations. In 2020, the global value of vehicle imports decreased by 16% compared to 2019, reaching US$1.2 trillion. The top importers of vehicles in 2020 were the United States, Germany, China, France, and the United Kingdom.

The global demand for vehicle imports is expected to recover gradually as the pandemic situation improves and trade barriers are eased. Some of the trends that are shaping the future of vehicle imports are the increasing popularity of electric and hybrid vehicles, the development of autonomous and connected vehicles, and the emergence of new markets and regions.

How to Import a Vehicle to Canada: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you want to import a vehicle to Canada, you need to follow some steps and comply with some requirements. Here is a brief summary of what you need to do:

  • Check if your vehicle is admissible to Canada. You can use the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) website or call 1-888-848-8240 to find out if your vehicle meets the Canadian safety standards and emission regulations.
  • Obtain a recall clearance letter from the manufacturer or authorized dealer of your vehicle. This letter confirms that there are no outstanding recalls on your vehicle.
  • Contact a customs broker or self-clear your vehicle at the border. You need to declare your vehicle and pay any applicable duties, taxes, and fees. You also need to provide proof of ownership, recall clearance letter, bill of sale or invoice, and any other documents required by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
  • Complete the RIV inspection process within 45 days of importation. You need to submit your Vehicle Import Form (Form 1) and pay the RIV fee online or by phone. You also need to take your vehicle to an authorized RIV inspection center for a federal inspection.
  • Register and license your vehicle in your province or territory. You need to provide proof of importation (Form 1), proof of inspection (Form 2), proof of insurance, and any other documents required by your provincial or territorial licensing authority.


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