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Importing Vehicles
Note:
  • The information provided in this web page has been taken from the Revenue Canada brochure C-006 (April 1995) which was accurate at the time of publishing. However legislative provisions and requirements could change at any time. We will make every effort to provide updates in a timely manner.
  • Please keep in mind that importation of vehicles is a Federal, no a Provincial matter
  • Imputations of motor vehicles into Canada are regulated under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Customs Tariff. Any motor vehicle you import into Canada must comply with all legislative requirements.
    Introduction Canada has specific requirements for individuals who are planning to import a motor vehicle. In this web page, we outline these requirements.
You will find information about:
  • Importing vehicles from the United States;
  • Importing vehicles from countries other than the United States;
  • Transport Canada requirements; import duties; value for duty; and provincial or territorial sales tax and safety tests;
Importing vehicles from the United States
Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), you can import a motor vehicle from the United States, regardless of its age, as long as it meets Transport Canada requirements
You have to prove that the motor vehicle was either registered in the United States or legally imported into the United States.
Importing vehicles from countries other than the United States
In general, customs law prevents you from importing into Canada from countries other than the United States any used or second-hand motor vehicle that was not manufactured in the current year. This rule applies even if you are willing to pay the duty and taxes that apply.
Exceptions

In some instances, you can import used or second-hand vehicles from countries other than the United States. We list the most common of these exceptions below. Remember that these are exceptions to the customs restriction only. You still have to meet the Transport Canada requirements..

1 - The customs restriction does not apply to a used or second-hand motor vehicle you import if: It was manufactured in the current year; or it is at least 15 years old. We determine the motor vehicle's age from the month and year it was manufactured, not by its model year. The manufacture date is stamped on the manufacturer's compliance label. You will find this label on the hinge pillar, on the door latch post, on the left side of the instrument panel, or under the driver's seat.

2 - The customs restriction does not apply to a motor vehicle you import after its year of manufacture, as long as: It is for your personal use; and you are the person who bought it new. Revenue Canada does not consider demonstration motor vehicles or used motor vehicles that you purchase from a car rental agency to be new.

3 - The customs restriction does not apply to a used or second-hand motor vehicle you import after its year of manufacture if you received it as a gift from a friend or relative abroad. Revenue Canada will have you sign a declaration certifying that no money changed hands, and no other valuable considerations were involved.

4 - The customs restriction does not apply to a replacement motor vehicle you import if your privately owned motor vehicle was damaged beyond repair while you were traveling abroad. To prove the extent of the damage, you will have to submit a statement from the insurance company and a copy of the police report.

5 - The customs restriction does not apply if you are a returning resident or a former resident of Canada, importing your used or second-hand motor vehicle if: You lived in another country for at least 12 consecutive months immediately before you returned to Canada; or you were outside Canada for a period of six consecutive months or more, and you owned the motor vehicle for at least six months during the same period before you returned to Canada.

Note:

There is a special duty-free and tax-free benefit for returning or former residents of Canada who lived abroad for a period of one year or more and who owned, possessed, and used a motor vehicle for at least six months during that period. For more information, pick up a copy of the brochure called Moving Back to Canada at your nearest customs office.

For more information about these and other exceptions to the customs restriction, contact your nearest customs office. Ask for a copy of Memorandum D9-1-11, Importation of Used or Second-Hand Motor Vehicles. Transport Canada requirements

Transport Canada's standards apply to motor vehicles less than 15 years old and to buses manufactured on or after January 1, 1971. Motor vehicles originally manufactured to meet the safety standards of countries other than the United States or Canada are generally not admissible Into Canada, unless they are at least 15 years old or are imported temporally under a special provision. For more information, contact:

Transport Canada Road Safety and Motor Vehicle Regulations Directorate
13th floor Canada Building, 344 Slater Street, Ottawa ON K1A 0N5, Telephone: (613) 998-2174

Motor vehicles manufactured to meet United States safety standards do not automatically pass Canadian safety standards. As the importer, you are responsible for determining whether your motor vehicle complies with Canadian standards, or whether it can be modified to meet the standards alter you import it. You cannot import vehicles that cannot be modified to meet Canadian standards.

If you are considering importing a motor vehicle originally manufactured to meet United States safety and emission standards, contact the Registrar of Imported Vehicles by telephone at the following numbers to verily that your vehicle is eligible for importation into Canada:

  • 1-888-848-8240 (toll free, long distance calls from within Canada or the United States)
  • by fax 1-888-346-8235
The Registrar of Imported Vehicles is Administer Canada Ltd. an agency Transport Canada has contracted with to administer this national program.
The program is designed to ensure that motor vehicles imported into Canada
either meet or are brought into compliance with Canada's safety standards.
Under the program, you cannot import your vehicle unless it qualifies under one of the following categories:
  • The vehicle is at least 15 years old or, if it is a bus, was manufactured before January 1, 1971.
  • The vehicle qualifies as a temporary importation.
  • The vehicle meets Canadian safety standards.
  • The vehicle does not meet Canadian safety standards but is eligible for alteration to meet Canadian safety standards no later than 45 days after you import it

If you are importing a vehicle under category 4, the Registrar representative at the entry point where you import your vehicle will register your vehicle under the program, and you will have 45 days to bring the vehicle into compliance.

The Registrar will assess a fee for this registration, in addition to the customs and other import assessments that apply. You cannot licence your vehicle in Canada until you complete all of the necessary program steps and obtain approval from the Registrar of Imported Vehicles.

Note:
If you are importing vehicles for resale or for other commercial purposes, you must import them at a customs office which has been designated for that purpose. For details, contact the Registrar of Imported Vehicles at one of the above telephone numbers.
Getting your vehicle inspected
Call the registrar at 1-888-848-8240 for the address of the nearest location to get your vehicle inspected and brought into compliance. There are more than 400 locations across Canada.
Import duties
If your motor vehicle is eligible for importation into Canada according to both Customs and Transport Canada requirements, we will apply import assessments. Assuming that you do not qualify for a special duty and tax free entitlement after a term of residency in another country, these assessments include:
Duty
Excise tax (if the vehicle is air conditioned, or if it is a passenger vehicle that weighs over 2,007 kilograms or 4,425 pounds); the goods and services tax (GST).
Note:
exchange rate (subject to change)
In addition to the total cost of $37,331.90, you must pay any provincial or territorial taxes that apply when you import the vehicle, as well as Transport Canada's registration and safety inspection fee. The 2.7% duty rate used in the example applies only to eligible motor vehicles you import from the United States that are made in the United States or Canada. For eligible vehicles you import from the United States that are made in Mexico, the duty rate in 1995
was 2.6%. For all other eligible vehicles you import from the United States, the duty rate in 1995 was 8.6%.
Value for duty

If you import a motor vehicle within 30 days of the date it was delivered to the purchaser, Canada Customs will convert the original purchase price, including state sales tax and other costs that apply, to Canadian funds. Customs will use this amount to determine the motor vehicle's value, with no deduction for depreciation.

However, Canada Customs does allow a depreciation deduction for motor vehicles you purchase new and import after 30 days but within one year of the delivery date.

Canada Customs does not allow a depreciation deduction for vehicles which you purchased used. In these cases, they use normal market value information from a neutral source, such as the Canadian or United States Automobile Red Book (a publication which gives values for motor vehicles).

In the case of trade-ins, Customs calculates the value for duty based on the full value of the motor vehicle you are importing, not just the price you paid. In other words, they do not use only the difference between the value of the trade-in and the full value of the vehicle you bought when they determine the vehicle's value.

For more information on vehicle value for customs purposes, please contact your nearest customs office.

Provincial or territorial sales tax and safety tests

Most provinces and territories charge sales tax. Check with your own provincial or territorial sales tax office to find out whether this applies to your motor vehicle.

Ontario Sales Tax is 8% applicable to the VALUE FOR TAX In addition, most provinces and territories have their own safety tests. For more information on this, contact the motor vehicle branch of your provincial or territorial transportation department. Ontario requires a Safety Standards Certificate

Note:
Check with the customs authority in the country from which you intend to export the motor vehicle to Canada. Some countries, including the United States, have exporting requirements with which you have to comply.
Need more information?
For the most recent information about importing motor vehicles into Canada check with your nearest customs office. For addresses and telephone numbers, look under "Revenue Canada" in the Government of Canada listings (Blue Pages) of your telephone book.
Trade Administration Services and Customs Border Services Offices Region Address Telephone (public inquiries)
Atlantic
Ralston Building 557 Hollis Street P.O. Box 3080, (902) 426-2911 Stn. Parklane Centre Halifax NS B3J 3G6

Quebec
130 Dalhousie Street P.O. Box 2267
(418) 648-4445, Quebec PQ GIK 7P6
400 d'Youville square
(514) 283-9900 , Montreal PQ H2Y 2C2
Ontario
2265 St. Laurent Blvd.
Ottawa ON KIG 4K3
(613) 998-3326 p.m. and weekends)
(613) 993-0534
1 Front Street W. 2nd floor P.O. Box 10 Station A, Toronto ON M5W 1A3
(416) 676-3643 (weekends and holidays) (416)973-8022
--

26 Arrowsmith Road P.O. Box 2989
Hamilton ON L8N 3V8
(Hamilton only) 10th floor
(905) 308-8715 and (519) 645-5834
 or 1-800-361-5603

451 Talbot Street, London ON N6A 4T9
(Trade Administration Services only)
P.O. Box 2280, Station A
-
Walkerville Post OfficeWindsor ON N8Y 4R8 , (519)257-6400
Prairies
Federal Building
269 Main Street
Winnipeg MB R3C 1B3
(204) 9836004
720 Harry Hays Building
220 -4th Avenue S.E.
Calgary AB T2G 4X3
(403) 292-8750 or (403) 292A660
Pacific
333 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver BC V6B 5R4, (604) 666-0545
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