Selling your US car and buying another when you get into Canada will cost you more money, so most people consider importing their car from the United States when relocating to save thousands of dollars.

A visitor from the US is allowed to bring their vehicle into Canada temporarily even if it doesn’t meet Canadian standards, but when relocating permanently, you will be expected to declare your car as an import with your other belongings to the Canada Border Services Agency and comply with import procedures.

Agreeably, importing a car from the United States can save you loads of money, however, not all vehicles used in the United States can be imported into Canada, and any vehicle you seek to import must be on Transport Canada’s list of permissible makes and models. If your vehicle can’t be imported because it doesn’t meet Canadian standards, you have to export or destroy it.

Note that importing a vehicle into Canada is a strictly regulated process handled by the RIV. If you are relocating to Canada from the US and you intend to have your vehicle delivered to Canada, there are several issues to take into consideration.

To locate a company to transport your vehicle, it is recommended that you consult the list of CBSA-approved Free and Secure Trade Program carriers or search for carrier companies in the yellow pages of the local telephone book under “Transport Services” or “Shipping.”

Once the vehicle arrives in Canada, you will be expected to request their release at the CBSA office where they have been delivered. Note that you can also choose to authorize an agent to do this on your behalf. To qualify to be imported into Canada, your vehicle will have to be modified to meet Canadian standards.

Therefore, ensure you consider this cost when choosing to import your car. Here are helpful tips to ensure you can import your car successfully into Canada.

Tips for Moving your Car from the US to Canada

  1. Know Your Province Requirements

You need to understand there are Canadian Provinces that won’t let you import or register certain vehicles. For instance, right-hand cars or vehicles with salvage titles are not accepted in most places in Canada. In addition, there are Canadian Provinces that also require a safety inspection or an emissions test. Ensure you understand what will be necessary when you are considering importing your car as you relocate to Canada.

  1. Double Check your Documents

There are numerous documents necessary when importing vehicles into Canada. Owing to that, it is imperative that you double-check all your documents and make sure everything has been correctly filled out, and that you have all the required documents. Note that any missed document or one error can cost you time and money. You may require some or all of the following documents:

  • Original vehicle title or Certificate of No Title
  • Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin or Certificate of Origin
  • Bill of Sale
  • Recall Clearance Letter (if importing from the U.S.)
  • NAFTA (if importing commercially from the U.S.)
  • Copies of the Export Certificate and Invoices in English or French (if importing from a country other than the U.S.)
  • Manufacturer’s statement of compliance affixed to the vehicle
  • EPA label affixed to the vehicle

Always ensure these documents are ready before your vehicle arrives at the border or you may have issues.

  1. Get the Right Insurance and Temporary License Plate

Even before you begin your importation process, you must take care of insurance by seeking a Canadian insurance company. Ensure that the policy will cover your vehicle while it’s in the United States and also when it arrives in Canada.

Also, make sure you get a temporary license plate that allows you to drive the vehicle in both the United States and Canada. Have it in mind that this will give you time to complete the registration process once you’ve arrived in Canada.

  1. Obey the 72-Hour Export Rule

When exporting a vehicle from the United States to import the vehicle into Canada, you will be expected to comply with the 72-hour export rule. This requirement mandates that you reach out to the exact U.S. border crossing you intend to use at least 72 hours before you show up to import your vehicle into Canada.

To ensure that the border crossing goes smoothly, ensure you send them your Internal Transit Number, along with a digital scan of the front and the back of the vehicle’s title.

  1. Consider Using an Agent/Broker

Importing your car into Canada can be too complicated to handle without professional assistance. Therefore, consider working with an agent or a broker willing to help you get the ITN or Internal Transaction Number for the vehicle you plan to import.

You will also be expected to file with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Automated Export System or AES. After this is accepted, you will be provided with an ITN. If you don’t know how to achieve this, consider working with a paid agent or a broker to help you get the ITN you need to import your vehicle from the US to Canada.

How Much Does It Cost to Move Your Car from US to Canada?

Note that the cost to move your car from the US to Canada as you relocate will depend on the type of vehicle; if you choose to do it yourself or work with an agent, and your location in Canada. According to experts, the most viable way to know the exact cost is to consult with the CBSA, RIV, or a customs broker in Canada. Here are the basic fees you are expected to pay when you are looking to move your car from the US to Canada as you relocate;

  • Canadian Registrar of Imported Vehicle Fee: Approximately$200.
  • If the vehicle identification number (VIN) starts with a number 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, then it was manufactured in North America, and there is no duty under NAFTA. Otherwise, you will have to pay a duty of about 6.1%.
  • Goods and Services Tax (GST): 5%
  • Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) for your particular province
  • If you are entering a border crossing in Quebec, you will be expected to pay the Quebec Services Tax (QST).
  • If your vehicle has air conditioning, you will have to pay an excise tax of around $100.
  • Gas Guzzler or Green Levy Tax: If your car is manufactured after March 19th, 2007, and consumes 13 liters or more per 100 km, you may have to pay an excise tax of $1,000 to $4,000.

The percentage fees are based on the amount stated on the bill of sale, however, note that CBSA reserves the right to use the Canadian Red Book value if at any point they feel the value on the bill of sale isn’t correct.

Should You Do It Yourself or Hire an Agent?

Most often, you should hire an agent to help move your car from the US to Canada as you relocate. Although vehicle import regulations in Canada are quite straightforward and are considered favorable for car imports from the United States, there are still too many red lines and they can be tough to handle without professional assistance.

While it will most definitely cost you more to hire an agent, note that this option reduces wear on the vehicle, saves time, and also offers you the peace of mind that comes with letting a professional handle your job. In addition, you may actually save on fuel, lodging, and other expenses.

Additionally, working with an agent will help free you from the time-consuming, frustrating experience associated with vehicle importation, and also help to prevent costly mistakes that you may have made if you had tried to import the vehicle yourself. In most cases, you can genuinely save thousands of dollars importing a car to Canada, even with the added cost of hiring an agent.

Right before you hire any vehicle import agent, take your time to carry out your due diligence. Extensively research the company and their industry experience. If possible, consider requesting references or testimonials from their previous clients.


Hiring a renowned agent to help move your car from the US to Canada as you relocate is the best decision you can make. Their knowledge and experience in this area make them very conversant with the rules, regulations, fees, duties, taxes, and modification requirements for your car.