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Updated Nov. 4, 2023

How To Import A Car Into Canada From The United States

Okay, lets just jump right into this

1. Check if the car that you are planning to purchase is admissible for importing into Canada. The list is available at:

Vehicle Import Compatibility (Admissibility) list for vehicles purchased in the United States

This list also will state if any major modification is required to import your car into Canada.

2. Get your new car insured by your Canadian insurance company. Make sure that your insurance covers you while you are in the United States. The insurance coverage should begin on the day that you are planning to pick up your car.

3. After purchasing your car at a U.S. Dealer, they will issue you a one-month temporary license plate. You can drive in the U.S. and Canada (while you are completing the import process) with the temporary license during this period.

4. Fax the car's Certificate of Title to the U.S. Customs at the border where you will be exiting the Country. U.S. Customs needs three business days to process the title before they can authorize exportation of your car (a stamp is needed for importing the car into Canada). Call the U.S. Customs office to ensure that they have received your fax.

5. Request a "proof of recall clearance document" from your car's manufacturer. This will be required to register your car in Canada.

6. Drive the car to Canada. Allow three business days from when you faxed the title to the U.S. Customs before you go through the border (otherwise you will have to come back to the border to get the export stamp later).

Note that Canada Customs may not allow a Canadian resident to drive their car with a U.S. license plate in Canada, unless they are satisfied that the owner is in the process of licensing the car in Canada. Make sure you go through the U.S. Customs office that received your fax (refer to Step 4 above).

8. Drive to the Canadian Customs office. They will need the Bill of Sale and the Certificate of Title stamped by U.S. Customs for exportation. You will pay 7% GST, CAD$100 excise tax if your car has an air conditioner, and CAD$182 fee for the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (cars manufactured in the U.S.A and Canada are normally exempt from additional import duties).

You may use a credit card for the payment. You will receive the Vehicle Import Form - Form 1. You will need this form to register the car in your province. A second form, Form 2, will be mailed to your home address within 5 to 7 business days.

9. In Ontario you will have to carry out a safety inspection and a vehicle emission inspection. For our last car these inspections were CAD$63.24 and CAD$37.45 for our last car (the car passed all tests without needing any work).

10. About two weeks after your arrival in Canada, you will receive the "Vehicle Import Form - Form 2" by mail.

11. Take Form 1 and Form 2 and the "proof of recall clearance document" (letter from your car's manufacturer which you requested in step 5 above) to an approved federal inspection centre (e.g. Canadian Tire). The service centre will do an inspection of the car to ensure that it conforms to Canadian standards.

If your vehicle did not require major alterations according to Modification and inspection requirements, it should pass this inspection with no problem. This inspection should not cost you anything, except if any modification is required. Our last inspection cost CAD$8.04 for the purchase of a tether bolt, which is required to be in all cars sold in Canada. After the completion of the federal inspection, the inspector will stamp Form 1.

12. Take Form 1, original title, bill of sales, safety inspection certificate (Ontario), emission inspection certificate (Ontario), and insurance certificate to your vehicle licence issuing office (the documents may vary in other provinces). In Ontario you will have to pay 8% Provincial Sales Tax and some additional fees for your license plate purchase and sticker.

13. Within a few days, you will receive your car's Canadian Certification Label by mail, which you will have to affix to the car.


These steps apply to importing a car manufactured in the U.S.A or Canada and are based on the import of a car into Ontario. The procedures and costs for registering an imported car in other provinces are may be slightly different.

New requirements are usually updated at UMemorandum D19-12-1 for up-to-date information.

Additional contact resources for importing your vehicle into Canada:

Registrar of Imported Vehicles Contact Information:
Registrar of Imported Vehicles
405 The West Mall
Toronto ON M9C 5K7
Telephone: 1-888-848-8240
(toll-free in Canada and the United States)
Fax: 1-888-346-8235

Web site:

U.S. Car Prices:

Current Exchange Rates (US$ to C$):

What Price To Pay: How To Get The Best Price

Also, Always Know The Value Of Your Trade-In

Whether you are trading or selling on your own, it's just a good idea ... even whether you are in the market or not at the moment. You can then use this important information for a number of purposes ... to negotiate with a dealer, or to know how to price your car in the retail market, or simply to know the value of one of your assets, which is always a good idea.

Getting trade-in values online tend to vary a lot from site to site. But I've found the one at Edmunds Trade-In Quotes is particularly comprehensive and accurate.

It's free and just takes a couple of minutes. I think what helps its accuracy is the inputs will include either your plate# or VIN# followed by many simple, but specific, yes/no questions. It really focuses in on the detail of the specific vehicle.