Recall clearance

Recall clearance is verification that any defects identified by the manufacturer as a potential safety risk to the vehicle’s operator, occupants and public at large, have been corrected.

The Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) makes every effort to assist the importer during the import process, however, recall clearance remains the responsibility of the importer. It is important to verify recall clearance prior to importing the vehicle, to avoid any delays during the import process. Please note that recall clearance is not required at the border.

The RIV will not release the Vehicle Inspection Form for your vehicle until confirmation that there are no outstanding recalls has been verified. Most manufacturers have a VIN Recall Lookup tool on their public website. If a VIN Recall Lookup is available for your vehicle manufacturer, the RIV will automatically verify recall clearance on your behalf. For vehicles where the manufacturer provides this service online, there is no need to submit any recall document(s) or screenshots in advance.

For trailers please check on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Recall lookup page using "Year Make Model” search, instead of "VIN”

Open or outstanding safety recalls

If there happens to be an outstanding safety recall on the vehicle, the RIV will require a work order from an authorized manufacturer service centre, confirming that the outstanding recall(s) has been completed. The work order will outline where the recall was completed, must contain the date, vehicle VIN and outline the manufacturer recall number and recall description that was performed.

Vehicles with multiple manufacturers

If you are importing a bus, limousine or any other vehicle that results from more than one manufacturer, you may require two recall clearance documents. Where the final stage manufacturer provides recall clearance that also references the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (OEM) recall information, only one letter is necessary.

Normally, the recall clearance letter from the final stage manufacturer will say, "Please contact the chassis manufacturer for recall information.” It is your responsibility to determine the number of recall clearance letters that are necessary. The final stage manufacturer of your vehicle can also assist you with this.

Other acceptable forms of recall clearance documentation

If RIV cannot access the information online, the following are acceptable forms of recall clearance:

  1. A letter from the vehicle manufacturer’s U.S. or Canadian head office.
  2. The letter must be written on company letterhead clearly stating that there are no outstanding recalls for the vehicle. If the letter is not issued on official company letterhead, the document will be rejected. The letter must be dated and signed by an authorized employee of the manufacturer and include their name and title, as well as the vehicle identification number (VIN), year, make and model. RIV routinely forwards a copy of these letters to the manufacturer for authentication.


  3. A printout or screenshot from an authorized American or Canadian dealer’s vehicle service database
  4. The printout must be produced by an authorized dealer and not a reseller. You may confirm whether a dealership is authorized, by visiting the manufacturer’s web site or by contacting their head office. The printout must also include the 17-digit VIN, vehicle year, make and model, and confirm that there are no outstanding recalls. The printout report might include multiple pages, be sure to submit all pages for review. RIV routinely forwards a copy of these printouts to the manufacturer for authentication.

    These documents may be emailed to RIV at:

Manufacturer contact details can also be found below:

Manufacturer Search

Vehicle type:


In order to alert manufacturers to future recall clearance document requests, RIV sends them a list of VINs for vehicles that have been imported into Canada. This information also assists the manufacturer to locate the current owner of the vehicle should there be a future recall.

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