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Paying off my leased vehicle and bringing it to Canada

Hello! I’m considering paying off my corolla lease here in California and driving it to Vancouver for my permanent move coming up in June. I should be able to receive a document from Toyota to show I’m the new owner once I’ve made the payment, but was wondering if I would have to register it with DMV in the US first and then bring it to Canada by importing it, or could I register it directly in Canada? Anything else I should be aware of?

Also, do I need to have all importing documents ready when crossing the border, or is it something that can be done at a later time?

Thank you for sharing your experience and advice in advance!

You’ll need your car to have valid tags / license plates and insurance until you register in Canada.

For everything else there are posts about importing vehicles from US to canada detailing all required documents (including the title of ownership you get after paying off the remaining amount).

Thanks for responding and sharing your knowledge!

As of right now, Toyota has been very slow at processing documents including paying off lease… I will be sure to pay off my lease before leaving for Canada, but it may take a while for them to process the payment and issue me the title. So I was hoping to understand if I need to have all importing documents ready when crossing the border as I’ll be driving from the US to Vancouver, or can importing the car be done at a later time, which would afford me time to receive my title?

Thank you!

You need to get the title from toyota first. Then go to cbp export office before crossing the border. Get stamped on the title. Then on canada port of entry, you import it. Then pay have to pay $150 or so online and later take the car to canadian tire for federal and provincial inspection. Be ready to pay another $250 to $350. You need to then get driving license and get a good insurance for the car. Then go to Service BC to register the vehicle in Canada.

You can import later, if you have

  • no issues of going back to the US (valid visa), staying there for more than 1 day (or 3 days, not sure) and then returning to Canada.
  • can maintain the address that’s on your US license, and auto insurance

Hi All, I appreciate all the responses. Toyota Financial got back to me and it would take about 30 days to receive the title, which wouldn’t be feasible in my moving situation. I’ve decided to just return the car and fly to Canada. Thank you all again for sharing your experience and knowledge!

Hey guys… My friend is in unique situation.
He travelled to Canada in his personal car (owned paid off) with US number plate and US insurance… Now his US license and visa stamping got expired… So he is stuck in Canada…

In this situation how can he import the car to canada permanently?
He cannot go back to US without visa so cannot fulfill condition of keeping car for 3 days in US after initiating export with US authority. He cannot register his car in Canada for Canadian number plate as car is not exported and imported.

Regardless of how he imports the car, there are a couple of other things that are of a more immediate concern -

  1. He needs a valid drivers license to drive in Canada. If the US license is expiring or has expired he should exchange that for a Canadian license immediately.
  2. Secondly he needs valid insurance in Canada to continue to drive. He should talk with an insurance broker to see if he can get a US plated car insured in Canada. This is not to be taken lightly, if he gets into an accident then the US insurer will very likely not pay a single penny and your friend will be personally liable for any damages. While the US insurance will work as proof of insurance should a cop pull him over for a routine matter it is very important to realize that it provides no coverage. US insurers aren’t licensed or registered to provide insurance in Canada to Canadian residents, they provide temporary coverage for US residents, read your policy document for the exact terms of coverage.

With these 2 things addressed, he can deal with the import situation at a later time once the situation settles a little. If he does want to import the car, then he needs to get a fresh US visa. Go back to America, notify CBP of intent to export, then the vehicle must remain in the US for 72 hours, post which he can bring that vehicle into Canada and then complete the importation process.

If it becomes impossible for him to acquire the US visa, then maybe you as his friend can help him by taking the car into the US and bringing it back across the border. He can notarize a letter authorizing you to act on his behalf. This is somewhat unusual but not problematic. Another option to dispose of the car would be to list it for sale on Craigslist in Buffalo and/or other places near the border and American resident who wants to buy it can come across the border. Your friend can make a hand written bill of sale and sign over the title to the other person who can simply drive back with the car.

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Thanks for detailed answer. We thought he cannot get canadian license because he cannot drive a US plated car in Canada with Canadian license. Because getting Canadian license means he is no longer a visitor to Canada so cannot drive US car here. Isn’t it?

Hi All,

Sorry if I resurfacing the same issue. I will be importing my car in to canada which I am planning to drive myself across the border along with some personnel move in stuff. Apart from all the procedures I have to go through for Importing vehicle in to Canada do i have to procure any documentation for the Personnel belongings I am having in my car (which are already declared in GTF during my landing). Please advice.

Thanks in Advance

If items in your personal belongings are common items like clothes, or other used stuff then not a problem…
But it is a brand new phone or costly item then it should have been declared in GTF…

Overall it should not be problem for personal belongings because we declare those in bulk in GTF forms… isn’t it…

By the way did you declare car in GTF?

Yep. I declared the car in GTF. Thanks for your reply. This helps.