How to move your car from the USA to Canada?

Is it worth it ? and is the process too much administratively or something very trivial.
Also has anyone just crossed the border by driving it :slight_smile: i know this sounds crazy but for peeps who moved north from NYC/Seattle areas this is the most convenient way of getting to GTA/Vancouver areas.

I sold an older car and got the newer one across. Also since it was a 4WD I thought we could use it to explore the Canadian wilderness a bit.

I used these guys they were super professional they knew the process well and emailed me list of documents needed. And picked up my car from my place in California.

Subhash, to add on to 's point, if its a newer car and a car was declared an asset you will bring in when you landed (in personal effects accounting document), it would be a good idea to ship it or drive it over to Canada. I sold both my cars as they were 2012 & older and wanted to get one on loan here. However, had some issues getting approval for the loan as I did not have Canadian credit history (& US credit history was not accepted) - you may be required to put more down on the car. Also, had rental for that period, which could have gone towards shipping instead.


We lived downtown the first month so didn’t need a car and could wait till ours arrived. I would recommend new arrivals live downtown use a short term rentals much easier to explore the city (fun in summer). @t.anand did you try RBC apparently there are special provisions for new arrivals to get credit during the first year.

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Thanks and t.anand … i guess ill fill out those forms for my car, not worth selling a 2 yo vehicle and buying it again there.

Hi @anon25417004,

Thanks for the helpful reply. After the car is shipped and ready to pick up in Canada. Can you elaborate on that process a little or your experience.

The Transport companies usually drop off the cars at dedicated impounds where we need the pick the car from.
My question is:
Q: Did you you got your car insurance and car inspected after picking up your car from one of those impounds ?
As my car will still have a US (California) license plate, would it be okay to drive in Ontario while i am working on getting it inspected as i believe we will get Ontario license plate only after getting inspection completed and passed.

Looking forward for the response.

You have to fill RIV (registrar of imported vehicle) online forms to get the car into canada. they will ask for uploading title and recall clearance certificate.
After that you will get 4 copies of the form to take with you to border crossing.
There are 2 types of import (when you select that in RIV website online)
Temporary - for work permit and student visa holders
Permanent - for PR ppl (im not sure PR folks can choose the temp option or not)

In the border crossing they will get these 4 copies of papers and give you 2 back. In doing so if you are temp importing they wont ask anything more, for permanent imports you will have to pay taxes upfront. (temp ppl pay later when they choose to sell)

After moving to canada rules are specific to province
For BC

  • Get car checked by ICBC approved garage and get provincial clearance certificate.
  • Go to ICBC autoplan broker (there are a dozen in every street) and get insurance for the car by providing provincial clearance cert AND previous insurance records from US (if you provide them you will get some % of discount every year you were claim free)
  • ICBC will get you a new plate and you basically surrender old plate and US state registration paper with them

Thanks Subash for your reply.

Hi Friends,

I would like to know if anyone experienced similar situation and needs your valuable input.

I am moving to canada in December. I bought new car in US one year back on finance, paying monthly installment. I would like to bring the car to canada while continue paying monthly installment .

What are my option to bring this car to canada ?

Can i registered the car in canada while paying the monthly payment in USA ( title is still with dealer till all payments clear). ?

Thank you.

Hi All,
My question is it possible to ship a car from US to Canada when the loan is still outstanding? I am financing through Honda itself and not any bank. My car is 1.5 years old and its a 5 year finance plan. Has anyone shipped their car in this situation? If yes how does monthly payment readjust and along with insurance how much it costs monthly? Thanks.

Honestly doubt if it is even allowed to move a financed car from one country to another. The finance agreement is with a company which is licensed to operate in one country (USA in this case), and may or may not (most likely not) have a license to operate in a different country.
Most of the USA financial institutions won’t have license to operate in Canada. Even if they had, don;t think they would allow the move.

I talked to my Financing company and they said, you need to pay off you loan amount and get the title before you move. I believe it holds true for most financing companies.

Thanks for your response guys. Looks like in that case shipping isn’t an option.

I thought importing a car into canada won’t be that complicated but after going through the RIV instructions seems like it is quite a hassle. I drive financed 2016 Mazda and want to take with me. here are the instructions for me :slight_smile:

Vehicle Information
Vehicle type: Passenger Cars
Manufacturer: Mazda
Year of manufacture: 2016
Is this vehicle being imported as a parts vehicle? No
Is this vehicle being imported as a salvage vehicle? No

Vehicle admissibility
Make sure you check your vehicle against the List of Vehicles Admissible from the United States before you import. Where there is no information concerning a current model year, you must contact the manufacturer to determine its admissibility status.

Information on specific vehicles can be found by visiting Transport Canada’s web site ( or through the links provided below:

List of Vehicles Admissible from the United States ( - HTML format

List of Vehicles Admissible from the United States ( - PDF format**

Recall clearance
To facilitate the timely release of your vehicle’s RIV Inspection Form and to avoid any unforeseen delays or additional expenses, we recommend that you obtain your recall clearance documentation and submit it to RIV before you import, as soon as you purchase the vehicle. Please note that recall clearance must be dated within 30 days of the import date in order to be valid.

Recall clearance documentation can be submitted to RIV by fax (1-888-642-9899),or by e-mail ( or in person or by mail to an RIV office location.

Acceptable recall clearance documentation can be obtained from the manufacturer of your vehicle.

The following is the contact number for the manufacturer you have selected:

55 Vogell Road
Richmond Hill, ON, CA, L4B 3K5

Phone #: 1-800-263-4680
Web site address:

Additional notes:

Mazda USA

P.O. Box 19734, Irvine, CA 92623-9734
Tel: 1-800-222-5500 or 949 727-1990

To access recall information please visit:

U.S. Customs
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) require notification of all self-propelled vehicles being permanently exported from the United States, trailers excluded. You will be required to submit an Electronic Export Information (EEI) through the Automated Export System (AES) and submit the ITN confirmation along with your vehicle title documents and sales receipts at least three business days (72 hours) prior to the export.

CBP recommends that you contact the port of crossing directly to determine exact documentation requirements, procedures for submitting documentation and hours of operation.

The following is the contact information for the port of entry selected:

Detroit/Windsor (Ambassador Bridge)
Ambassador Bridge
Detroit, MI, US, 48226

Phone #: (313) 226-3139
Hours: Call to confirm: EXT 4

Additional notes:
Please email the vehicle information (description, make, model, vehicle identification number) for the vehicle(s) to be exported to CBP at CBP will confirm receipt of the email within 24 hours and provide the exporter with additional instructions.

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
The CBSA office at the point of entry into Canada will process the importation of your vehicle.

CBSA will check documentation, including the Vehicle Import Form - Form 1 (E-form), verify vehicle admissibility and may facilitate payment of the non-refundable RIV registration fee.

CBSA will also forward the completed Vehicle Import Form (Form 1) for your vehicle to RIV.

Please contact CBSA if you have any questions regarding CBSA requirements or taxes:

In Canada: 1-800-461-9999 (English) ; 1-800-959-2036 (French)
Outside Canada: (506) 636-5064 (English) ; (506) 636-5067 (French)
Web Site:

Typical modification requirements:
Prior to purchasing your vehicle, please ensure you check Transport Canada’s List of Vehicles Admissible from the United States to verify the manufacturer’s specific requirements.

After you’ve imported your vehicle,the RIV will issue a Federal Inspection Form, which identifies modification and inspection requirements specific to your vehicle, once the following has occurred:

(1) the Vehicle Import Form (Form 1) has been completed and submitted to RIV through CBSA,
(2) the RIV registration fee has been paid, and
(3) RIV has received recall clearance documentation confirming that there are no outstanding recalls on the vehicle.

Note: you may expedite your file by faxing/emailing a copy of the Import Form - Form1 to our office.

Do not proceed with any modifications to your vehicle until you receive the Federal Inspection Form.

Passenger cars including sedans, coupes and station wagons. Note that mini-vans, passenger vans and sport utility vehicles are classified as multi-purpose passenger vehicles or MPVs.

Please reference Transport Canada’s web site for vehicle admissibility information for passenger cars.

For reference, the following is a list of typical modification and inspection requirements:

Recall clearance letter

The vehicle must bear a manufacturer’s valid U.S. Statement of Compliance (SOC) label at the time of import/inspection.

Valid alpha-numeric 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Metric speedometer

Odometer labels

Daytime running lights

Child restraint tether anchorage hardware kit

Child restraint tether anchorage point locations (see Transport Canada’s List of Vehicles Admissible from the United States)

French supplementary restraint system label for airbags that require periodic maintenance

Air bag equipped vehicles are required to have functioning air bags at the time of inspection.

If the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle is less than 10,000 lbs., and the manufacture date is after September 1, 2007, it must be equipped with an electronic immobilizer system that meets Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (CMVSS) 114.

Visit Transport Canada’s List of Vehicles Admissible from the United States for additional details.

Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) registration fees
Unless your vehicle is exempt from the RIV process, the following registration fee must be paid to RIV:

$310 + Applicable Taxes

NEW: Effective August 1, 2018, the RIV Vehicle import fee will be $310, and the RIV Vehicle for parts fee will be $95

The RIV registration fee must be paid before an RIV inspection form for your vehicle will be released. You may pay the RIV fee at the border, on-line, by mail or in person at an RIV office.

Provincial Licensing
In order to register and license an imported vehicle you need to present your stamped Vehicle Import Form - Form 1, along with the bill of sale, title, proof of insurance, as well as any other information or documentation required by the provincial/territorial licensing jurisdiction.

Please contact your provincial licensing jurisdiction for detailed information on how to obtain provincial or territorial licensing.

The following is the phone number for the province that you have selected:

Phone: 416 235-2999 or 1-800-387-3445
Web site:


Further in order to obtain ITN which needs to be provided to US customs . here is the procedure:

What is the Automated Export System (AES)?

The Automated Export System (AES) is a mandatory Electronic Export Information (EEI) filing requirement regulated by U.S. Census.

All exports of used self-propelled vehicles, regardless of value, will be required to file EEI through AES.

The export process begins when a vehicle is purchased in the U.S. and the owner wishes to export the vehicle. The exporter or an authorized agent transmits the vehicle export information electronically using AES.

AES validates the EEI data and generates a confirmation message in the form of an Internal Transaction Number (ITN).

Note: You must exit the U.S. on the date submitted on AES.
CBP recommends that you contact the U.S. customs office where you plan to cross
into Canada to verify the documentation required and their hours of operation

How to file Electronic Export Information through the Automated Export System (AES)

Non-U.S. residents, including Canadians, may:

visit – a self-service portal for vehicle exports

Note: For non-commercial vehicle imports, it is not mandatory to use the import services of a customs broker or freight forwarder. AES is the only service required from an authorized U.S. agent.

employ the services of an authorized U.S. agent, freight forwarder or customs broker. By using an internet search engine, search the term ‘AES filing’ to select a provider of your choice.

U.S. Citizens, U.S. Residents or U.S. Companies (i.e. the U.S. vendor that the vehicle was purchased from) may choose to file themselves:

AESDirect – a self-service portal created by U.S. Census.

Are US car warranties valid in Canada ?

@anon25417004 Guys have one question. After completing import formalities on Canada side . can I park the car at friends’s place(he has a garage space) and register it once I’m back from India. Actually I have to go to India for couple months before settling down and start new life in canada. So, how does it work, when exactly I have to surrender US plates and cancel my car Insurance. Can i park it without plates/insurance. Or should I first finish registration formalities in Canada before flying to India. Can someone please put light on this.

It’s actually a very easy process. You have to export your vehicle from US and then import it into Canada. A note of caution though… Insurance premiuns are VERY EXPENSIVE here. You could show 8 to 10 years of insurance history to get some discounts … maybe 30% to 40%… even with the discounts, you may still be paying about $200 / month.

If you really don’t need a car becasue of other available options (Uber, public transport, train, etc) and if your car isn’t worth that much… you may consider selling it to avoid all the hassle.

I think they give you 45 days or so after import to get it plated / insured . You probably want to get that done before traveling

I recently imported two cars and customs officer said I have 30 days to get Ontario plates. The main reason I got the cars here is that both cars are paid off and can be imported tax free. Secondly, living in the suburbs with kids you need cars here (at least everybody does) There is public transport but it would take more time- eg: 6 min drive to Walmart or 25 mins bus (+walk in rain/snow with groceries). Uber is not cheap for suburb travel/distances. Also in winter you don’t want to walk a lot to train/bus stops. If you are living in downtown Toronto, you can do without a car. I know folks who do that. Suburbs with kids, its hard without a car.

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