Before you import

Before you import a vehicle from the United States, you should understand each step of the importing process, including:

Vehicle admissibility

Determine if the vehicle you would like to purchase can be imported into Canada.

Vehicle branding history

A brand is a record of a prior accident serious enough to result in an insurance write-off (salvage) or even non-repairable status. A brand remains part of the vehicle’s permanent history and may affect the ability to license the vehicle in Canada. The Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) makes U.S. brands available to Canadian provinces and territories. You are strongly advised to verify the vehicle’s branding history through available commercial VIN search engines before you purchase any vehicle in the U.S. or attempt to import it into Canada.

Modification and inspection requirements

Some vehicles may require modifications in order to comply with Transport Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Determine what modifications your vehicle may require before you import it.

Recall clearance

Recall clearance is a requirement for all vehicles being imported into Canada. Find out what documentation is required and how to obtain the recall clearance letter for your vehicle.

RIV exemptions

Find out about specific exemption criteria and if they apply to your vehicle.

Cost considerations

Determine any possible duties, provincial and federal sales taxes, trip permits, temporary insurance and provincial licensing requirements before you import your vehicle.

Importer Checklist

Use the Importer Checklist tool to build and print a checklist for reference throughout the importing process.

Download a printable RIV brochure in Adobe PDF format.*

* You must have Adobe Reader installed in order to open and view the PDF.  To download a free copy, visit www.adobe.com.


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