Geting my CAR shipped to Canada -- A wise decision?


I own a Nissan Altima 2015, which I am currectly financing (around 15k USD amount remaining to pay off car loan).

I plan to pay off my loan here in the US and get it shipped to Canada when I move. My reasoning behind it is that, I won’t be having a good credit score in Canda, so even if I plan to buy a car there I won’t get a good interest rate.

But there are contrasting opinions as well that I should leave my car here and move and buy a new car in Canada.

Please share your thoughts!

Next Steps after Temp Work Visa - US to Canada

someone told me its very expensive to keep in Canada… Insurance rates are very high… Is that correct?

Also, If you are in big city or near downtown then you don’t need car there… but I think car is a necessity in these type of countries


Yes insurance premiums in Toronto can touch $200 a month (something people in the US find hard to believe). Also, you car will have to undergo certain modifications, e.g., I heard DRL (Daytime Running Lights) are mandatory, i.e. they should be always ON, anything related to imperial system might have to be converted to metric: km/hr. This is what I have heard from people who moved there.

If you don’t mind going around in public transport for the first few weeks or renting a car (your US license will work there, or you can just exchange it for Canadian license if you have sufficient US driving history), you might want to open a bank account that offers a line of credit. That might set up a credit score initially for you and help you get a car loan.


Also, I guess shipping a car from US to Canada delas with paying for duty and shipping costs whch might add to up around 2-3k USD. In that case, it makes sense to not take your car with you to Canada.


You don’t have to pay off the loan just call your lien holder (bank) and tell them you need an authorization letter since you are exporting the car to Canada. This is an official signed and notarized letter that they send you giving you permission to export the car while still under lien.

Then contact a car moving service (search for auto-transport) they do this a lot and know it like the back of their hand. They will send you a list of documents needed to export your car to Canada. It’s a pretty short list but the big one is a recall clearance letter from the car company. Again google and you’ll find the number to call about this for your car. This letter must say there are no recalls on the car and this is needed by Canada.

You will also need day time running lights but don’t worry about these any garage in Toronto will install them for about 100 CAD. Nothing else is needed.

Public transport is very solid in Toronto you can pick between the subway, street car (t), bus, docked bike share, Lyft, Uber, Cab or just walk its very walkable.

Like @avj said getting your license exchanged is pretty easy the government has offices all over called “Service Ontario” most will handle it. I know the one in the middle of downtown (Nathan Phillips Sq) handles it I went there. If you can carry along your driving history (Ask your DMV) then you can get credit for all the years of driving you did in the US. For me they had some issue connecting to the California system and only gave me credit for 3 years. The more years of driving credit you have the lower your insurance rates.

There is a government prog in place to guarantee credit to new comes when you goto a bank like RBC mention you are a newcomer and would like to get a credit card under this prog.

Yes @srhere car insurance rates are high so you’ll have to call around to get a good deal, install some tracking device in your car, etc to bring those down a little.

I’m not really a car person but I choose to bring mine over since it’s an SUV and we had planned to explore Canada. Also with kids I imagined it would be useful in the winter. The first 6 months (over the first winter) I didn’t touch it. Took the streetcar, Uber or walked we live close to downtown, kids school is just down the street etc. If you plan to live further away from downtown Toronto then I would say you’ll need that car.


Thanks ! That was a detailed response and is much appreciated. I will get in touch with the bank and get the process started.