Temporarily importing vehicles

A vehicle can be imported temporarily to Canada by visitors, tourists and temporary residents. Canadians can also return to Canada with vehicles rented in the United States (U.S.) for short periods.

Canadian individuals or companies can temporarily import vehicles that don’t comply with Canadian safety standards by applying to make a Declaration to import non-compliant vehicles temporarily for special purposes. (see related links below)

On this page

Visitors and temporary residents

You can bring your vehicle into Canada temporarily as a visitor or temporary resident. Your vehicle doesn't have to meet Canadian standards and must be only for your own use.

You can also bring your vehicle for personal use while you're in Canada on a work permit or student visa. You're considered a visitor in this case. However, if your status changes, your vehicle may no longer qualify for temporary entry.

As a temporary import, your vehicle cannot:

  • be sold or otherwise disposed of in Canada
  • remain in Canada longer than the limit on your work permit, visa or other customs document
  • remain in Canada if you're staying longer

Declaring a vehicle as a temporary import

You don't have to declare your vehicle as a temporary import if you're considered a visitor, or travelling through Canada to get to another country. However, we recommend doing so if you're staying over 3 months. This allows you to licence your vehicle in Canada.

You'll need to complete a vehicle import form (form 1) to temporarily import and licence your vehicle.

Some vehicles may not qualify to be licensed, depending on provincial laws. For example, some provinces won't licence right-hand drive vehicles or salvaged vehicles with repairs. Please contact your provincial or territorial licensing department.

For more information on declaring your vehicle and other belongings consult Non-Canadians (Canada Border Services Agency).

If you become a permanent resident

Your vehicle can't be considered a temporary entry if you become a permanent resident.

If your vehicle qualifies to be imported, declare it with your other belongings to the Canada Border Services Agency and follow import procedures.

If your vehicle can't be imported because it doesn't meet Canadian standards you must export or destroy it.

Rental vehicles from the U.S.

Canadian residents can bring U.S. rental vehicles into Canada for non-commercial use for up to 30 days. This is allowed because:

  • Canadian and American vehicle standards are similar
  • the vehicles are here for only a short time
  • the car rental company owns the vehicles

Regulations allow one-way and two way trips across the Canadian border with U.S. rental vehicles. However, you must have the rental company's consent for one-way trips where you leave the vehicle at a Canadian location.

Note: Visitors may also enter Canada with U.S. rental vehicles.

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 and the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations.

Contact us

Multi-modal and Road Safety Programs, Transport Canada

Telephone: 1-800-333-0371 (toll-free), 1-613-998-8616 (outside North America)
Email: mvs-sa@tc.gc.ca