If you are a Canadian importer, or a U.S. exporter looking to receive or ship vehicles to the Canada, you might be surprised to find out that this process is not as easy as 1-2-3. In fact, it’s a very long and drawn out, multistage process.

Transport Canada has a full website jam packed with very important information regarding transportations of any kind, safety, security rules and guidelines too. However, we decided to create a more condensed version of our own to share. We have taken this highly complex process of transporting a vehicle, in particular, from the U.S to Canada, and made 5 easy ways you can get this done fast!

1. Ensure vehicle admissibility into Canada

Before a vehicle can be transported, it must meet the guidelines of the Canada Border Services Agency, Transport Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency before it can be transported. In the event the vehicle does not meet the guidelines, this could be very costly and disappointing.

Special notes:

  • Before a vehicle is transported, it is recommended to contact the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV). Transport Canada contracts RIV to head up a nationwide program that ensures all vehicles that are imported go through the process of getting them compliant with Canada’s standards of vehicle import and export safety.

2. Meet clearance documentation requirements

A very important step is always documentation. You always want to make sure your paperwork is in order, and it meets both U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Canada Border Services Agency guidelines. Below, is a short list of items that must be accounted for and sent along with a vehicle to be presented to the U.S. Customs at the time of the export.

Also bring:

  • Original Title, Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin or Certificate of Origin (front and back). Should your vehicle not be required to have one of these documents, then you must provide a Certificate of No Title
  • Bill of Sale
  • Recall clearance letter (U.S. only)
  • NAFTA, if applicable (commercial U.S. imports only)
  • Copies of the Export Certificate and Invoices (in English or French), if the export location is other than the U.S.

3. File AES before giving 72-hour export notice

The U.S. Census Bureau has added a new rule that was effective October 2nd, 2014. This new rule is related to the filing requirements and states that a 72-hour notice must now be given. In addition, the Duns, EIN, and IRS numbers from the seller are required with the proper worksheets attached in order to file the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Automated Export System AES.
The AES filing needs to be handled by a U.S. domiciled company. A United State Principal Party in Interest (USPPI), a customs broker, or a freight forwarder, can submit the AES declaration. When the AES is reviewed and approved, then an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) will be issued. Remember, the ITN must come with the same request to start the 72- hour notice with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

4. Submit required documents to CBP 72 hours prior to export

Now that you have the proper documentation, for the vehicle that is being sent to Canada from the U.S., submit those documents to the CBP 72 hours prior to export.

Special note: Always make sure the U.S port being used is setup and accepts exported vehicles.

If you have followed these instructions and your documentation is complete and accurate, CBP will conduct checks which are completed in 72 of receipt. Remember, the agent or the owner of the vehicle must supply the vehicle and the original paperwork in person at the time of exit from the U.S.

5. Meet Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Requirements

Regardless of its origin, when an imported vehicle is returned, it must be free of all sand, earth, plant residue, manure, soil or any other related debris that could bring back injurious plant pest to Canada.

As mentioned above, exporting and importing a vehicle is no walk in the park. There are a lot of requirements and paperwork that must be gathered and filed in order to get a vehicle transported. This article has outlined our top 5 ways to get a vehicle from the U.S. to Canada and has provided some helpful resource links to help along the way. If you can be patient, follow strict guidelines and file paperwork on time, then you should have no issues with any of your vehicle transportation needs.