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Shipping a Car Into Canada from the United States

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Keep in mind while reading this that we do not transport vehicles into Canada. Our services are limited to the continental United States (we do ship a lot of cars to the border however). I’ve talked with a few brokers more familiar with the process and a few of our customers so that I could put together this (non-inclusive) guide.

Before you do anything else make sure your car is allowed in. A list of vehicles and whether or not they are permitted can be found here. Canada is a little stricter than the US so you may have to modify your car depending on the model. Some models are not let in at all.

Everyone I talked to recommended using a customs broker, especially if this is your first time shipping a car across the border. These are experts who will help you with all the documentation and will make sure your car gets across the border without any snags. This makes it much easier on you and the transporter, but it will cost around $200. If you don’t want to use a customs broker you have two other options, you can either meet the driver at the border and take the car in yourself or you can have the car transported “in-bond” to a warehouse nearest your home in Canada and pick it up from that warehouse yourself. Keep in mind that fees are involved no matter which process you choose.

The cheapest option is meeting your driver in the US and taking the car in yourself. The shipping cost will be much cheaper because the truck won’t need Canadian licensing or have to deal with customs and you won’t have to pay for a customs agent or for the car to be stored at a warehouse. The easiest option is hiring a customs broker to make sure everything gets through okay, this also allows the driver to deliver the car right to your door.

Depending on what kind of vehicle you are importing and what the reason is you will have to submit certain documents. Most likely you will need these items:

  • The original title of the vehicle must be at the border 72 hours before the vehicle goes across (this applies to almost all vehicle imports)
  • The customs agent or the transporter will need to have a copy of your passport
  • If you are not a Canadian citizen the customs agent or the transporter will need to have a copy of your birth certificate
  • A copy of the vehicle title must be in the glove box
  • You may have to provide a letter to the customs agent or the transporter explaining the reason for your move

No items are allowed inside of the car. No modifications are allowed without prior approval. Salvage title vehicles have separate requirements.

Contact a customs agent or the RIV (Registrar of Imported Vehicles) for more specific information for your move. This list is not all-inclusive, its purpose is to give a general idea of what is needed and what to expect. Every case is different but don’t be discouraged, there are many companies out there that can help make importing your vehicle easy.

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