What steps are involved in importing a car to Canada?
Step 1 – Research before bidding.
Canada does not allow importation of certain vehicles; before you bid, it is important to determine whether yours is eligible. Vehicles more than 15 years old are not subject to strict importation procedures, but those less than 15 years old must meet Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS). Below are some of the necessary considerations to take into account before purchasing a vehicle to import to Canada. Additionally, Canada’s Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) has a helpful import checklist on its website.
The vehicle may not be modified or altered from its original design.
You must obtain verification that any recalls pertaining to the car(s) have been corrected.
Branding history: This details any major damage the vehicle suffered, and it becomes a permanent record on the vehicle’s title.
You will ultimately need to determine what type of ownership paperwork exists for a vehicle you would like to import to Canada. Each listing on A Better Bid™ provides a description of the ownership paperwork available for the vehicle. You can find this information in the Lot Details box:
PICTURE LOT LOT
This is part of a process that will determine whether or not you can actually register the vehicle in Canada. In general, you can register vehicles branded as salvage title that have been sufficiently repaired, while you cannot register vehicles with titles branded as non-repairable salvage cars; they will only be for scrap or for parts.
*Note that Canada will not allow importation of any vehicle without a proper ownership document, such as the title. A bill of sale will not suffice.
Finally, below are a few more helpful resources with information on shipping your vehicle to Canada.
U.S. Customs export requirements
CBSA entry requirements
Step 2 – Importing and shipping your vehicle.
Please refer to the same step-by-step checklist, from Canada’s Registrar of Imported Vehicles, to view and follow import instructions.
Important next steps after purchasing a vehicle you will ship to Canada include: notifying U.S. Customs (at least 72 hours in advance) of your plans to import a vehicle to Canada and mailing Customs your proof of ownership, such as the title. You will also need to complete either a Vehicle Import Form (if you plan to register the vehicle) or a Vehicle Imported for Parts Form (if you plan on importing a vehicle for parts only), both of which you can find on the Importation of Vehicles page of the Canada Border Services Agency website.
Once you’ve determined your vehicle is importable and you’ve completed the aforementioned necessary steps (for your benefit, it is best to ensure that you have taken care of all items on the aforementioned RIV checklist), your vehicle is ready for shipment! A Better Bid™ can help with that process, too — we can arrange to ship the vehicle to the border or to one of our bonded warehouses in Canada, among other options. Please contact us for more information on our competitive shipping rates, and remember, ANNUAL Members receive exclusive discounts on shipping!
Step 3 – Registering your vehicle in Canada.
As previously stated, your vehicle typically will need to be in repaired condition in order for you to register it in Canada. Assuming it is, and has passed a mandatory inspection conducted at an RIV inspection center, you will be able to register your vehicle. Please consult the After Vehicle Entry page on the RIV website for more information about post-import procedures.