Did you know that most vehicles sold in countries other than the United States (U.S.) and Mexico cannot be imported into Canada?
If you are considering importing a vehicle you bought in a country other than the U.S. or Mexico, you need to know that:
- It is a criminal offense to import a vehicle into Canada that does not meet the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (the Act). Offences and penalties are described in Section 17 of the Act.
- An inadmissible vehicle will be denied entry into Canada and detained. All storage and disposal fees are the responsibility of the importer.
On this page
- Vehicle manufactured for a foreign market
- Special circumstances allowing to import a vehicle from outside the U.S. and Mexico
- Contact us for more information on importing a vehicle
Vehicle manufactured for a foreign market
You cannot import a vehicle built and certified to meet the vehicle standards of a foreign country because the Motor Vehicle Safety Act doesn't allow you to modify such a vehicle to meet Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
Special circumstances allowing to import a vehicle from outside the U.S. and Mexico
The following circumstances allow people to import a vehicle from a country other than the United States and Mexico:
- The vehicle is 15 years old or older, based on the month and year of its manufacture, belongs to a regulated class of vehicle under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (the Act) and is not a bus.
- The vehicle is a bus manufactured before January 1, 1971.
- The vehicle is non-regulated at importation, meaning it does not belong to a class of vehicle regulated under the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations.
- The vehicle meets all Canadian standards and was purchased NEW abroad from a manufacturer. The importer should pre-authorize the vehicle's importation with Transport Canada.
- The vehicle is a returning Canadian-specification vehicle – originally owned in Canada - and it still complies with Canadian standards. If the importer is not the same owner prior to the vehicle leaving Canada, he must request pre-authorization from Transport Canada for the vehicle's entry.
- The vehicle meets U.S. safety standards and was bought NEW at retail in the U.S. prior to being shipped abroad. The vehicle also needs to qualify for import via the Registrar of Imported Vehicles.
- The vehicle is a returning U.S.-specification used vehicle - originally purchased at retail in the U.S. - and it still complies with U.S. standards. The vehicle also needs to qualify for import via the Registrar of Imported Vehicles.
Find out more about importing a vehicle by reading:
- Importation of vehicles – Memorandum D19-12-1 – administered by the Canada Border Services Agency
Contact us for more information on importing a vehicle
Motor Vehicle Safety
Telephone: 1-800-333-0371 (toll-free), 613-998-8616 (Ottawa region)
This web site is meant as a helpful reference. It has no legal force or effect. To fully understand the law, consult the Motor Vehicle Safety Act S.C. 1993, c.16, and the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations.