Are you planning to relocate from the US to Canada?  And are you planning to bring your car with you?  If so, you should be aware that this process is going to be a lot more complicated than simply traveling from state to state.  Indeed, the US and Canadian border is an international one, so the World Customs Organization considers the act of bringing your car across this North American border an act of import.  Basically, since your car has a high monetary value, you will have to pay certain duties, fees, and taxes.

There are basically three scenarios in which you might import a car to Canada.

You Bought Your Car in the United States

This is the most common scenario involving Car importing to Canada with  The good news is that nearly all cars sold in the United States are eligible for import and registration in the country of Canada as well.  Of course, there are exceptions to this very general rule, but even those cars that might not pass clearance the first time through will only need a simple modification or restoration in order to pass.  For more information on car clearance in Canada, you can simply check with the Canadian Registrar of Imported Vehicles, where you will find specific compatibility and Canadian regulation restriction information.

Simply knowing that your car is eligible for import is not enough, however.  Once you have confirmed that your car can be imported to Canada, you need to schedule an inspection to certify the car’s eligibility, with the Canadian Registrar of Imported Vehicles.  It is kind of like getting smog certification, which is required in some American states.

You Bought Your Car in Another Country

Alternately, if you bought your car in a country other than the United States, is just as likely that you will not be able to bring it into Canada; at least, not without some modifications.  And, once again, the Canadian Registrar of Imported Vehicles is where you will go verify what restrictions might prevent the import of your car and what modifications you may have to get.

You Have A Non-Regulated Vehicle

Essentially, these vehicles are exempt from Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Act compliance:

  • A vehicle older than 15 years
  • A bus manufactured before 1971
  • Vehicles designed for closed course competition
  • Vehicles designed for temporary use
  • Specialty vehicles (farm or construction equipment, etc)
  • Power-assisted bicycles