This article outlines the general requirements and procedures to import a motor vehicle into Canada.

Please note that the information contained in this document is for information purposes only and is subject to change. Please contact our office for assistance and/or advice to determine admissibility of the vehicle before finalizing a purchase.

Main points to consider:

  • Vehicle must be admissible into Canada – check with the Registrar of import Vehicles (RIV).
  • Vehicle documentation must be submitted to U.S. Customs 72 business hours before it arrives.
  • Report to CBSA and pay applicable duties and taxes with a B15 Casual Goods Declaration or B3 if you are hiring a broker.

Admissibility, Warranty, Insurance:

  • The first step in the process is to verify if the vehicle is admissible for Canadian import. This can be verified through Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) at If the vehicle is not admissible, you will not be able to import it even if you have already purchased the car.
  • Ask the dealer if there are any modifications required to bring the vehicle to full compliance. i.e. daytime running lights, odometer, child seat anchorages etc.
  • We suggest you contact a local Canadian dealer to verify the validity of the warranty in Canada. You may want to ensure that the warranty will be honoured by the Canadian dealer.
  • Ask the dealer for a recall clearance letter.
  • Arrange for insurance on the vehicle.

Reporting to U.S. Customs:

  • The original title for the vehicle must be sent to the U.S. Customs export controls office at the port of US Export. Your Omnitrans Representative will coordinate this step for you.
  • The US export controls office must clear the title before the vehicle can leave the USA.
  • This process will take a minimum of 72 hours.
  • The vehicle must be moved to the border during normal Customs business hours (Monday to Friday 8:00 to 16:00). The US export controls office is not open on weekends.

Once the vehicle is cleared by the US Export Controls office the transport company moving the vehicle will bring the vehicle to the U.S. Customs export controls office for inspection, US Customs officials will verify the VIN number, stamp the original title and the driver will proceed to Canada Customs for the in bond movement to an inland port for customs clearance.

Canadian Customs clearance:

  • Copy of the title and sales receipt must be presented to the CBSA for Customs clearance.
  • The CBSA allows brokers to present personal vehicle declarations on the owner’s behalf. Omnitrans requires the following documents in order to process a personal vehicle importation:
  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of driver’s license
  • Letter authorizing Omnitrans to effect Customs procedures on your behalf. The letter must refer to the vehicle’s VIN number
  • Title document
  • Sales receipt
  • The compliance label must be affixed on the driver’s door
  • Recall clearance letter

Within 5-10 days of the customs release of the vehicle, the RIV will send the owner the Form II and a letter outlining any required modifications to the vehicle and where to bring the car for inspection.

Once the car has passed the inspection, it must be brought to the provincial license bureau for registration.

Points to consider when calculating import costs:

  • Duty is 6.1% (duty free if US-made) of the Canadian purchase price or dealer book value if re-determined by the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA). The CBSA usually accepts the dealer value unless it is below market value.
  • Excise tax of $100.00 CDN is applicable on cars with air conditioners
  • GST is applicable on the value of the car plus the duties.
  • Transport Canada RIV fee $195.00 plus GST (add QST for Quebec, HST in the Maritimes)
  • Excise Tax on fuel-inefficient vehicles based on weighted average fuel consumption.
  • Transportation and insurance to bring the vehicle to Canada. There may also be bond fee from the transport company to move the car from the border to the inland point for clearance.
  • Payment of the provincial sales tax at the time of the registration of the car at the provincial license bureau. The provincial sales tax will be based on the value of the car plus the applicable import duties and federal/excise taxes.

Additional information concerning this and other recent developments is available from our technical consulting group.