Author Topic: Registering vehicles from the states?  (Read 1418 times)

Thrifty Snail

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Registering vehicles from the states?
« on: October 15, 2021, 02:54:54 PM »

I have a question regarding car registration. We would prefer to take our cars. I have heard it is not exceptionally easy to do that.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Registering vehicles from the states?
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2021, 03:26:27 PM »

You'll have some work to do but I don't think it's massively hard. DRLs, tach in kms, pay the fees, get it inspected in whichever province...


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Registering vehicles from the states?
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2021, 05:24:10 PM »
It's pretty easy if you pre-check your car to see if it is likely to comply.
1.  get it inspected in Canada (your province)
2.  Make the necessary changes.  This could be adding a sticker to the speedometer or hooking up lights for "daylight running" lights.   (That's all our Mazda3 needed, a jumper to have daytime running lights always on).   

Some non-standard or non-volume vehicles may need more extensive changes.  We could not register our gas 160cc scooter in Canada because it was not one of the 4 "already approved" models / manufacturers, so we had to sell it in the USA.  I think there is a master book you can check online, of what is approved, if you are concerned.

Note, when you cross the border, you will need to go in and have paperwork finalized that states you are brining in the car as your move / relocate.  The stated value of the car as you cross the border is kelly blue book, for the most basic version and year for your car and will likely be less than it is actually worth.  Border agents don't really care if CRA gets $200 less in taxes on this, they just want a fast consistent way to apply a number to the form.   Depending on how long you owned your car, you will pay taxes based on ownership length (e.g., over 6 months), and that (low) kelly book value.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Registering vehicles from the states?
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2021, 07:04:16 PM »
I imported my car when I moved back to Canada. I knew I'd be going back soon, so I bought a car that already passed all emissions tests for Canada, had daytime running lights, had the required car seat restraints, etc., which made the import very straightforward and inexpensive.

I got all the paperwork together as described on the RIV site, exported the car on the US side of the border, paid some tax on the Cdn side, and then had it inspected in B.C. The only Canadian-ization it needed was a French sticker on the driver's side door. The odometer only shows miles and can't be switched and that wasn't an issue.

Your experience will be different, of course, if your cars require a lot of modifications. But (in the before time) people imported US cars into Canada all the time; it's not hard.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2021, 11:00:59 AM by treffpunkt »

elaine amj

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Re: Registering vehicles from the states?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2021, 11:22:11 PM »
Just remember to keep the receipt. A border agent insisted DH pay Cdn taxes on his US car (registered and licensed in the US) and finally DH gave in and paid the few thousand dollars. In the years since he has lost the receipt. We have now been told the only way to sell that car here in Canada is to pay those taxes again. The border doesn't keep any records of it. We are driving that car for as long as possible.

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