If you are planning a big move to Canada you need to know that bringing your car with you could be a little more complicated than if you were just moving from state to another.  Essentially, the World Customs Organization considers this an act of import—because your car retains a high monetary value—and thus it will be subjected to various regulations, duties, and fees.

Let’s take a look at what a Clearit Canada customs broker might advise about the most common car importing scenarios:


For the most part, just about all vehicles manufactured for purchase within the United States should not have a problem with import and registration in Canada. Those vehicles which might face some issues, though, will typically require only a small modification before receiving clearance for registration in Canada.  You can look at the Canadian Registrar of Imported Vehicles to earn more about which vehicles are compatible with Canadian regulations.

Once you determine that your vehicle is allowed for import, you will have to schedule an inspection and certification from the Canadian Registrar of Imported Vehicles.  This is important because a failed inspection means you will not be able to import your car, even if you have paid the appropriate fees.


While most vehicles purchased in the US are allowed for import into Canada, most vehicles purchased in a country other than the US will most likely not be allowed for import into Canada.  Again, check with the CRIV, as well as the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Act, to get more information on these regulations. You might have to perform certain modifications before you allowed to import your vehicle, or you may find that your vehicle is not allowed for import at all.


If you buy a new vehicle directly from a manufacturer and it meets Canadian specifications you will still need to obtain pre-authorization from the Transport Canada authority before you can import it.  This process, though, helps to reduce the risk for having your shipment denied at the Canadian border.


Fortunately, some vehicles are exempt from compliance with Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Act.  The MVSA list includes:

  • Any vehicle 15 years (or older)
  • Buses manufactured before 1971
  • Temporary use vehicles (for visitors, foreign students, etc.)
  • Specialty vehicles (utility, farm, construction, etc.)
  • Closed course competition vehicles
  • Power-assisted bicycles

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