import a car to Canada, How to import a car to Canada from the United States

How to import a car to Canada from the United States

First of all, you need to find out whether or not your car is even admissible in Canada. Even though many cars can be imported ‘as-is’, some may require installation of odometers or daytime running lights etc.

There’s a list of vehicles that can be imported into Canada and any vehicle not mentioned in there is not importable. Look for your car in this detailed list of vehicles.

Keep in mind, any vehicles older than 15 years are exempt from this rule and you should be able to import them into Canada with ease.

Talk to RIV:

Registrar of Imported Vehicles will help you further learn about the rules and requirements for importing a vehicle into Canada and how you can go about the process. Even if your vehicle is in the list we linked above or if it is older than 15 years, you still need to double check with RIV to ensure it qualifies for transportation to Canada. Here are their contact details:

  • Address: Registrar of Imported Vehicles, 405 The West Mall, Suite 400, Toronto ON M9C 5K7
  • Contact Number Inside North America: 1-888-848-8240
  • Contact Number Outside North America: 1-416-626-6812
  • Toll-Free Telephone for Canada and U.S: 1-888-848-8240
  • Email:

Once you’ve got confirmation that your vehicle is importable, get the Form 1 filled and printed. Go to this link => proceed as guest => create new and then fill the form and print it out. This will be used later when you are crossing the border.

Prepare Documents:

  1. ITN: You will need an International Transaction Number tio cross the border or your entry will be denied. Only a customs broker can get an ITN and this typically costs $150 to $200. Send the following to the Imported to get your ITN:
  • Your car title’s front and back scan
  • Car’s value
  • Full Canadian Address
  • Your Contact Number
  • Your Passport Number (Canadian)

If your ITN is declined (you’ll know this if you don’t receive any response from the border) then you’ll have to go to the border personally to receive it.

  1. Original Signed Vehicle Title Certificate: If you are importing the vehicle that you have just bought and not registered on your name then you need a certificate that is signed by the seller (person who has the title on his name)
  2. Bill of Sale: You will also need the original invoice or bill of sale of your car with the seller’s name, signature, address and phone number.
  3. Driver’s License: Have the original or a copy of your driver’s license

Border Crossing:

Before you go to the border, find the exact border that you’ll be crossing by calling all the crossings by yourself. Once you find yours, send them your ITN and title’s front and back scan 70 hours before crossing the border.

Once 72 hours have passed, go to the border and look for the export office, which will typically be surrounded with semi-trucks. You will have to call the border to ask for the address of the export office. Once you reach there, it’s a very simple and quick process of verification and then you can go to Canada.

Canadian Border:

When you reach the Canadian border, you will provide them with all the paperwork in the ‘Prepare Documents’ step above.

Next, the Canadaian Food Inspection Agency may inspect your vehicle and ask for a small fee. Once the inspection is done, you will get two things:

  • Original signed title certificate with stamp
  • The RIV registration form (Form 1) with 2 stamped copies.


Once you cross the border, send the stamped Form 1 to the RIV by faxing it to 1-888-346-8235 or emailing a copy at

You will then receive a Form 2 for registering your vehicle. You will also need a clearance letter from the manufacturer of your vehicle that’ll state that your vehicle model and mace has never been recalled.

Tip: Write the case# of Form 1 on the recall paperwork to ensure it doesn’t get mixed up with someone else’s paperwork.

Once you get the Form 2, take the vehicle title, Form 1 and Form 2 along with your car to an approved inspection facility within the first 45 days. This only applies to cars under 15 years old.


Provide the following to your agent for insurance:

  • Custom stamped Form 1
  • B3 document that your broker will send you after crossing the border
  • Original invoice or bill of sale of the car
  • Original stamped, signed title certificate

Once you submit these and pay PST or HST, the import will complete and you can drive away with your car.