How to Permanently Import Your Car to the U.S. from Canada

Exporting a Car from Canada to the U.S.

If you happen to’re a snowbird who owns a winter dwelling within the U.S., in the end you’ll ask your self whether or not it will make sense to maintain a automobile there completely. It could be that you just’re uninterested in the expense and time spent driving backwards and forwards – or it could be that you really want an additional automobile for all of your visiting household and associates.

Regardless of the purpose, chances are you’ll resolve to depart one in all your automobiles at your U.S. dwelling year-round, by which case you’ll have to take the next steps to be able to be compliant with U.S. regulation.

Bear in mind, you’ll be able to solely have your Canadian licensed automobile within the U.S. for as much as one yr at a time with out importing it completely. If you happen to preserve your automobile within the U.S. for greater than a yr, it may be seized for non-payment of obligation, so when you do resolve to maintain your automobile there completely, it’s vital to finish the import course of earlier than the three hundred and sixty five days are up.

Getting began

Earlier than you resolve to import your automobile to the U.S. from Canada, we recommend you learn these import necessities and this overview on importing a automobile to the U.S. from U.S. Customs and Border Safety (CBP). Relying in your scenario, exporting your automobile could be a complicated, time consuming and generally inconceivable course of, so it’s not for everybody.

On the border

If you happen to intend to maintain your automobile within the U.S. past a yr and convert it to a U.S. registration, be sure you declare this to the customs officer on the border while you cross into the USA.

You’ll want to offer the officer along with your automobile registration in addition to accomplished DOT Kind H7 and EPA Kind 3520-1 and any supplemental documentation to show that your automobile meets security and emissions requirements (see Step 1 under).

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If the whole lot is so as, you’ll obtain written approval that you’ve met all the necessities from the customs officer, which you will need to then take with you to your ultimate vacation spot the place you’ll register your automobile and convert it to a U.S. registration and possession.

Be sure that to ask the customs officer to stamp your passport on the border so you’ll be able to show while you entered the U.S., as this can be useful in a while within the course of while you register your automobile.


Vehicles are usually topic to obligation of two.5% of their present worth when they’re imported to the USA. Nonetheless, automobiles manufactured in NAFTA nations (Canada, U.S. and Mexico) are normally exempt from this obligation.Please word that whereas this text gives useful data on the steps wanted to import your automobile to the U.S. from Canada, rules can change with out discover and it’s best to at all times seek the advice of the related businesses for full pointers and updated data. As well as, needless to say some procedures might differ relying on which State you reside in, so chances are you’ll wish to examine State necessities as properly.

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STEP 1: Security and Emissions Compliance

All automobiles imported into the U.S. should be compliant with U.S. Federal motorcar security requirements (FMVSS) set by the U.S. Division of Transportation (DOT) and U.S. emission requirements set by the Environmental Safety Company (EPA)

When bringing your automobile from Canada into the USA, you may be required to current the next accomplished compliance kinds:

  • DOT Kind HS-7
  • EPA Kind 3520-1

DOT Security Compliance Necessities

All automobiles lower than 25 years outdated should meet all U.S. FMVSS requirements to be imported into the USA. You may decide in case your automobile is compliant by searching for a FMVSS certificates label (normally contained in the automobile door or beneath the hood). In case your automobile has this label, you should not have any drawback importing it to the U.S. from a security requirements standpoint.

Nonetheless, in lots of instances you will discover that your automobile solely has a label certifying it complies with all Canadian motorcar security requirements (CMVSS). If in case you have overseas automobile, it could not have a security certificates label for Canada or the U.S.

In case your automobile is just licensed to satisfy CMVSS requirements, you’ll be able to nonetheless import your automobile to the USA so long as you get a letter from the automobile’s unique producer (not vendor) on the producer’s letterhead stating that your automobile conforms to all relevant FMVSS requirements – you could find a listing of producer contacts right here. It’s vital to notice that some automobile producers are refusing to situation such a letter, so be sure to examine with them earlier than doing anything.

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In case your automobile isn’t licensed to satisfy FMVSS or CMVSS requirements, you’ll want to take a look at the rules to discover your different choices.

Nonetheless, you’ll in all probability discover that it simply isn’t definitely worth the time, expense and problem on this case, as you’ll usually be required to interact a Registered Importer to import your automobile into the USA and make the mandatory modifications (you could find a listing of Registered Importers right here) and publish a bond for 1.5 X the present dutiable worth of your automobile till it’s modified and licensed.

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For full DOT security commonplace pointers and procedures associated to importing a automobile from Canada to the USA, go to the Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration (NHTSA) web site.

EPA Emission Requirements Compliance Necessities

All automobiles which are imported to the U.S. should conform to the EPA’s emission requirements necessities.

In case your automobile has a label stating that it’s licensed to United States EPA federal emission requirements, you then shouldn’t have a difficulty importing your automobile. To see in case your automobile has been licensed, look beneath the hood of your automobile or within the engine compartment for a label that reads “Car Emission Management Info” and contains the certification. As a rule, your Canadian automobile gained’t have a label indicating it’s EPA licensed. Nonetheless, in lots of instances your automobile may have an emission management system that’s equivalent to an emission management system that has been licensed in the USA.

In each conditions you’ll be able to nonetheless import your automobile to the U.S., however you’ll need to acquire a letter of compliance from the automobile producer’s U.S. consultant stating that the automobile complies with all U.S. EPA rules. Yow will discover a listing of U.S. Auto Producer’s Representatives right here. Word that some producers might refuse to situation a letter.

In case your automobile doesn’t have an EPA certification label and doesn’t have an emission management system that’s equivalent to 1 licensed by the EPA, you’ll want to take a look at the rules to discover your different choices, as chances are you’ll be eligible to use for a written letter of exemption from the EPA which should be obtained previous to importing your automobile.

Exterior of an exemption, you’ll probably have to make use of an Impartial Industrial Importer to deliver your automobile south of the border and modify it, in addition to publish a bond. As soon as once more, if you end up on this scenario you’ll in all probability discover that it simply isn’t value all of the added time, expense and problem to export your automobile from Canada to the U.S.

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Full emission commonplace necessities and pointers for importing a automobile to the U.S. will be discovered on the Environmental Safety Company (EPA) web site.

STEP 2: Examine whether or not you want a U.S. driver’s license

The principles preserve altering relating to Canadians who’ve residences within the U.S. as to whether or not they want – or certainly are even entitled to acquire – a U.S. driver’s license or I.D. card. You need to examine along with your State of residence what the foundations are- and whether or not you’ll be able to simply use your Canadian driving license on an ongoing foundation.

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If you happen to do want to use for a license and/or I.D. card, you’ll have to present your Canadian driver’s license, your passport for a second photograph I.D. and a property tax invoice or different utility invoice along with your title and U.S. tackle on it. There can be a charge and you’ll have to renew it every year. Additionally they could take a photograph of you and an eye fixed scan. It’s attainable that they could require proof of the day you entered the U.S. to make sure you haven’t gone over the allowable time (180 days). In case your passport was stamped while you entered, it’s useful.

STEP 3: Get Insurance coverage

You should organize for U.S. auto insurance coverage earlier than your automobile is transferred to a U.S. registration, as you can not preserve your Canadian insurance coverage when you do that.

Accordingly, you’ll need to discover a U.S. auto insurance coverage dealer or firm. They’ll require your Canadian possession particulars and a duplicate of your driver document in Canada. Store round because the market is kind of aggressive for U.S. auto insurance coverage. Be sure you point out if the automobile is not going to be pushed for six months of the yr.

STEP 4: Register Your Car

Your automobile can be inspected to be able to get a brand new registration and possession. Test regionally to see the place your nearest automobile registration workplace is and make an appointment. You should deliver all of your paperwork that was authorised on the border. They’ll confirm your serial quantity and your odometer studying.

Just be sure you are at a location that’s licensed to confirm automobiles for aliens. (that’s you!) You’ll have to pay a one-time charge for the primary time you might be issued your new plates.

The Various to Importing a Car

If all the above seems like loads of working round (and it’s!) you then would possibly wish to take into account buying a brand new or used automobile within the U.S. as a substitute to keep away from a few of steps and potential points outlined above.

Useful Assets:

  • U.S. Customs and Border Safety (CBP) – Importing a Motor Car
  • U.S. Environmental Safety Company (EPA) – Importing Autos into the USA
  • U.S. Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration (NHTSA) – Car Importation & Certification Requirement

Where to buy in canada and bring to us for your needs? You are at the right place. We recognize that amidst so many choices in the market, it can be perplexing and confusing to make the right pick.


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