Before you import, make sure you check your vehicle against Transport Canada’s List of Vehicles Admissible from the United States. If there is no information concerning the current model year, you will need to contact the manufacturer to determine its admissibility.
Information on specific vehicles can be found by visiting Transport Canada or:
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Please note: Neither Transport Canada nor the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) can guarantee the accuracy of the information contained in this list. The information is subject to change without notice.
Vehicles that have been modified from their original state, other than regular maintenance, may not be eligible for importation into Canada. For example, a van transformed into a motorhome (often known as Class B motorhome), a van equipped with raised roof and/or modified interior, a pick-up or a passenger car equipped with lift kit, a motorcycle converted to a motor tricycle (trike), etc. This also applies to Canadian vehicles modified in the U.S. and returning to Canada.
What types of vehicles are found on Transport Canada’s List of Vehicles Admissible from the United States?
The following classes of vehicles are regulated by the RIV program and are listed on Transport Canada’s List of Vehicles Admissible from the United States:
The RIV program regulates only vehicles originally manufactured for distribution in the U.S. market. Vehicles originally manufactured to standards other than U.S. or Canadian, are not admissible. The RIV program regulates passenger cars, limousines and funeral vehicles, Class A, B and C motorhomes, multipurpose passenger vehicles (MPVs), disabled access vehicle conversions, travel van conversions, motorcycles, restricted use motorcycles, ambulance vehicles, trailers, trucks, snowmobiles (including snowmobile cutters), low speed vehicles less than 15 years old based on the date of manufacture, and buses (including school buses) manufactured on or after January 1, 1971.
The purpose of Transport Canada's Pre-clearance Program is to facilitate importing shipments through Customs with minimal inspection and scrutiny. Pre-clearance was originally set up for the major automobile companies. It is an agreement between a foreign manufacturer, a Canadian commercial importer and Transport Canada. Pre-clearance is for manufacturers with engineering capabilities and for professional importers that are a low risk for compliance issues. These are liability-conscious companies that, in the opinion of Transport Canada, can take corrective measures if a safety defect is found in the vehicles. They have the obvious ability to issue a “notice of defect” (recall) to customers after vehicles are imported.
Transport Canada’s Pre-clearance List of Recognized Vehicle Importers is made available to manufacturers and importers on the list, Canadian customs brokers, RIV and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
Information about applying to Transport Canada’s pre-clearance program.
A vehicle is inadmissible when the manufacturer advises Transport Canada that it does not meet Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS) nor can it be modified to do so. An inadmissible vehicle cannot be imported into Canada unless the vehicle’s U.S. title designates it as a parts-only vehicle. In this case, the vehicle can be imported into Canada for the sole purpose of being disassembled and used for parts. Parts-only vehicles must be declared when they arrive at the border and are processed on a Vehicle Imported for Parts Form – Form 3. A parts-only designation can never be changed. These vehicles can never be licensed as they will have a non-repairable status with all licensing jurisdictions in Canada.
See Parts & Salvage Vehicles for more information on U.S. titles indicating “junk”, “scrap”, “parts-only”, “rebuildable” or similar terminology.
Grey market vehicles
Grey market vehicles are foreign-specification vehicles that are re-certified by a U.S. company. These are vehicles that were originally manufactured for a domestic market other than the United States. They were subsequently imported into the U.S. where they have been modified to comply with U.S. safety and emissions standards.
Grey market vehicles may have a label affixed by the U.S. company that altered the vehicle indicating that the vehicle has been “imported”, “altered”, or “modified” to comply with U.S. standards. Grey market vehicles (excluding buses) less than 15 years old from the date of manufacture and buses (including school buses) manufactured on or after January 1, 1971 are inadmissible for entry into Canada.
Kit cars are treated as vehicles whether they are imported assembled or unassembled in a kit.
Kit cars do not meet the import requirements for a U.S. Statement of Compliance (SOC) label, the 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN), or admissibility status. A kit car is not permitted entry unless it was assembled 15 years ago or more and the importer can submit proof of age, such as a registration document. The age of a kit car is determined by the date of assembly rather than the model year of the reproduction or the date of manufacture of a donor car. If in doubt, contact Transport Canada for a determination of the kit car’s admissibility.
A home-made trailer is a vehicle that has been manufactured by the importer. A home-made trailer can be imported into Canada through the RIV process.