Importing a vehicle from the United States and Mexico

If you are thinking about buying and importing a vehicle from the U.S. or Mexico, please visit the Registrar of Imported Vehicles web site to find out about vehicle eligibility, how the process works and fill out the vehicle import E-form.

If you are a visitor or temporary resident bringing your vehicle to Canada, please read about Temporarily importing vehicles

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Vehicles eligible to import from the U.S. and Mexico

Transport Canada maintains a list of vehicles that are compatible for import from the U.S. and Mexico, better known as the Registrar of Imported Vehicles Compatibility List. The information is provided by vehicle manufacturers on a voluntary basis.

The list's accuracy cannot be guaranteed and its content can change without notice. There are also no guaranties that a vehicle listed as eligible can be successfully modified to meet Canadian requirements.

You should find out the possible cost and extent of the work required before buying the vehicle. Vehicles that cannot be modified to comply must not remain in Canada and must be exported.

View the Registrar of Imported Vehicles Compatibility List.

Important considerations when importing an eligible vehicle from the United States and Mexico

Some facts you should know if you are plan to import a vehicle from the U.S. or Mexico:

  • You may have to report to U.S. or Mexican Customs for clearance to export the vehicle.
  • You must pay taxes and/or duties when applicable to bring your vehicle through Canadian customs.
  • Your vehicle must be clear of any recalls. It must then pass an inspection by the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) in Canada before it can be officially considered imported. This must be done within 45 days, or one year in the case of a salvage vehicle.
  • A vehicle that fails the RIV inspection cannot stay in Canada even though taxes and duties would have been paid to bring it through customs.
  • A vehicle modified from its original state will not qualify to be imported into Canada. This also applies to Canadian-owned vehicles modified in the U.S. or Mexico which returning to Canada.
    Examples can include:
    • a van converted to a motorhome
    • a van equipped with raised roof installation and/or modified interior
    • a pick-up or a passenger car equipped with lift kit
    • a motorcycle converted to a motor tricycle (“trike”)
    • a vehicle that has been stretched or lengthened, etc.
  • A vehicle built or assembled by more than one manufacturer must meet extra requirements. Examples include:
    • vocational truck
    • van conversion
    • motorhome
    • bus
    • limousine

Vehicle Import E-form

Transport Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency require that a vehicle being imported be declared at the border using the Vehicle Import Form, also known as the Form-1.

A Vehicle Import E-form may also be completed online on the Registrar of Imported Vehicle (RIV) web site. The completed form must then be printed (4 pages in total) and given to customs officers at the border – it cannot be submitted online.

If you are declaring to import an eligible vehicle to be dismantled for parts, use the Form-3 instead, which can also be completed online on the RIV website.

Contacts for more information on importing a vehicle

The Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV)
405 The West Mall, Suite 400
Toronto ON M9C 5K7

Telephone: 1-888-848-8240 (Canada and the U.S.) (English and French service)

Transport Canada
Motor Vehicle Safety

Telephone: 1-800-333-0371 (toll-free), 613-998-8616 (Ottawa region)

Related links

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.