Importing vehicles purchased in the United States

Did you know that some vehicles that are sold or manufactured in the United States cannot be imported into Canada?

If you are thinking about buying a vehicle in the U.S., please visit the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) web site for information and the import e-form.

You should also see the Vehicle Import Compatibility list to check which vehicles are admissible for import from the U.S.

You cannot import a vehicle with an open recall into Canada from the United States, until it is repaired. You should obtain and validate recall clearance documentation with the RIV before you begin the import process.

You must pay taxes and/or duties, and bring a vehicle through customs, before it can be inspected for importing into Canada. Vehicles that fail the inspection, or that are not clear of recalls, cannot stay in Canada, even though taxes and duties would have been paid.

If you are a visitor or temporary resident bringing your vehicle to Canada, please read Information for visitors, tourists, and temporary residents entering Canada with foreign-owned vehicles.

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Important considerations when importing vehicles from the United States

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

  • You may have to report to U.S. Customs for clearance to export the vehicle.
  • You must pay taxes and/or duties to bring your vehicle through customs to Canada.
  • 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 imported. This must be done within 45 days.
  • 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 may not qualify to be imported into Canada. Canadian-owned vehicles modified in the U.S. also may not qualify for return to Canada. Examples can include:
    • a van converted to a motorhome (often known as Class B motorhome)
    • a van equipped with raised roof 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 trucks
    • van conversions
    • motorhomes
    • buses
    • limousines

Vehicle Import E-form

Transport Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency require that vehicles being imported be declared on a Vehicle Import Form. Submit this form at the border.

The Vehicle Import e-form may be completed online on the Registrar of Imported Vehicle (RIV) web site. Print the form and give it to customs officers at the border – it cannot be submitted online.

Vehicles compatible for import from the U.S.

Transport Canada compiles a list of vehicles that are compatible, or admissible, for import from the U.S. 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 admissible can be successfully modified to meet Canadian requirements.

You should note that required modifications may be extensive and expensive. 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. Read the Explanations section of the list for more information.

View the Vehicle Import Compatibility (Admissibility) List for vehicles purchased in the United States.

Contacts for more information on importing vehicles

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), 1-613-998-8616 (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.