Canadian Customer FAQs

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)

Disclaimer: This information is provided as a service to our customers/visitors and no guarantee is made as to its completeness or correctness. All information should be independently verified with the relevant authorities.

Vehicle Exporting Regulations: http://www.riv.ca/USCustoms.aspx or http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/newsroom/publications/trade/export_vehicle.ctt/exportingavehicle.doc

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) require notification of all self-propelled vehicles being permanently exported from the United States. You must provide CBP with your vehicle title documents, registration and sales receipts.

CBP regulations state that at land border points:

  • required documentation must be submitted at least 72 hours prior to export; and 
  • the vehicle must be presented to U.S. Customs at the time of export.

CBP recommends that you contact the customs office where you plan to cross, directly, to verify the documentation required and their hours of operation. Select a state or province, then choose the border crossing through which you will be importing your vehicle, to view contact information for the U.S. Customs office in Blaine: http://cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/contacts/ports/wa/3004.xml

For other boarder points: http://www.riv.ca/USCustoms.aspx

Vehicle Exporting Procedures
Exporting a vehicle may require the filing of Electronic Export Information (EEI) with CBP. Please see When to apply for EEI If the vehicle is titled in the U.S., the documents required are:

  • the original Certificate of Title or a certified copy of the original, and
  • two complete copies of the original Certificate of Title or certified copy of the original. 

Vehicles issued an original certificate of title. For used, self-propelled vehicles issued, by any jurisdiction in the United States, a Certificate of Title or a Salvage Title that remains in force, the owner must provide to Customs the original Certificate of Title or a Certified Copy of the Certificate of Title and two complete copies of the original Certificate of Title or the Certified Copy of the original.

Where title evidences third-party ownership/claims. If the used, self-propelled vehicle is leased or a recorded lien exists in the U.S., in addition to complying with the above paragraph of this section, the provisional owner must provide to Customs a separate writing from the third-party-in interest which expressly provides that the subject vehicle may be exported. This writing must be on the third-party's letterhead paper and contain a complete description of the vehicle including the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), the name of the owner or lienholder of the leased vehicle, and the telephone numbers at which that owner or lienholder may be contacted and must bear an original signature of the third-party and state the date it was signed.

Where U.S. Government Employees are involved. If the used self-propelled vehicle is owned by a U. S. Government Employee and is being exported in conjunction with that employee's reassignment abroad pursuant to official travel orders, then, in lieu of complying with above paragraph of this section, the employee may be required to establish that he has complied with the sponsoring agency's internal travel department procedures for vehicle export.

The vehicle must be presented on the day of export at the appropriate port of entry, along with the Vehicle export cover sheet: https://help.cbp.gov/ci/fattach/get/16473/1266938699 for examination and verification of the VIN.

Please be aware that many land ports do not process cars for export on weekends; call ahead to make sure your schedule will conform to the business hours of the port you will be exporting through. Information for the Blaine port is located at: http://cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/contacts/ports/wa/3004.xml

Also, to help speed up the inspection process, please have Vehicle Export Cover Sheet completed prior to arrival at the port. https://help.cbp.gov/ci/fattach/get/16473/1266938699

A person attempting to export a used self-propelled vehicle shall present to Customs, at the port of exportation, both the vehicle and the required documentation describing the vehicle to include the VIN or, if the vehicle does not have a VIN, the product identification number (PIN).

Person who presents documentation may be required to present photo identification as proof of owner/purchaser. For additional information, please go to: http://www.riv.ca/USCustoms.aspx

Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA)

Disclaimer: This information is provided as a service to our customers/visitors and no guarantee is made as to its completeness or correctness. All information should be independently verified with the relevant authorities.

What to do Before:

Review the CBSA Entry Requirements http://www.riv.ca/CBSAEntryRequirements.aspx

Make sure vehicle is admissible and can be modified to Canadian requirements by checking Transport Canada's "List of Vehicles Admissible from the U.S." http://www.riv.ca/VehicleAdmissibility.aspx

Check for typical modification requirements http://www.riv.ca/ModificationAndInspectionRequirements.aspx

Contact original manufacturer or authorized dealer of vehicle to obtain any Recall Clearance Letters http://www.riv.ca/RecallClearance.aspx

Obtain information from manufacturer or authorized dealer on costs for modifications

Determine additional costs such as Duty and Taxes from the CBSA http://www.riv.ca/CostConsiderations.aspx

Make sure you have all required documentation: title, registration, sales receipts, statement of compliance label, and recall clearance letter http://www.riv.ca/ImporterChecklist.aspx

Find out about provincial requirements such as emissions testing and safety inspections

Arrange for insurance on the imported vehicle.

What to do at the Border http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d19/d19-12-1-eng.pdf

CBSA officers will:

  • Check documentation.Ensure you have the required documents including title documents, registration or proof of ownership.Please Note: If the importer of a leased or financed vehicle cannot obtain the original Certificate of Title or a certified copy of the Certificate of Title, he/she must present a copy of the Certificate of Title with an original statement/letter from the financing/leasing company authorizing that the vehicle be exported from the United States and permanently imported into Canada. The statement/letter should identify the vehicle and include the VIN number.All Transport Canada requirements for documentation and the process at the border are contained in Customs D-19-12-1 memorandum.
  • Provide Vehicle Import Form ? Form 1 (or Vehicle Imported for Parts Form - Form 3 for parts-only vehicles)It is your responsibility to complete it. Retain this form as it is required by your province or territory to license the vehicle
  • Verify Admissibility.CBSA will check your vehicle against Transport Canada's List of Vehicles Admissible from the United States, verify the VIN and manufacturer's Statement of Compliance (SOC) label.
  • Facilitate Payment.CBSA may facilitate payment of the non-refundable RIV Fee.Payment for the RIV fee may be paid:
  • With a major credit card at the border through CBSA,
  • On-line through the RIV.ca secure web site using Visa, MasterCard or American Express
  • By mailing a check or money order to RIV's head office
  • In person at RIV Toronto office, by cash, debit, check or credit card
  •  In person at RIV Pacific Highway office, by debit or credit card
  • In person at a Livingston International Inc. office, by cash, check or credit car.

NOTE: Personal check will be held for 10 business days for bank clearance before RIV will release an RIV inspection form for the vehicle. This will use up a portion of the 45-day period (or 1 year for salvage vehicles) in which modifications and the RIV inspection must be completed.

Please note that payment of fees and receipt of Vehicle Import Form ? Form 1 does not guarantee that your vehicle will conform to applicable federal and provincial or territorial requirements.It is the importer's responsibility to complete the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) inspection within 45 days (or 1 year for salvage vehicles) from the date of import. All required modifications must be completed prior to the RIV inspection. If you are having trouble completing the RIV inspection within 45 days (or 1 year for salvage vehicles) it is important to Contact us.

Failure to pass the RIV inspection process within the specified time will make the vehicle non-compliant. The importer will receive written notification, outlining fines and penalties under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, and dictating that the vehicle must be removed from Canada.

Canadian Tire and a number of independent centers across Canada have been authorized to perform RIV inspections. Select your province and city to view a list of inspection centers in your area. List of centers can be found at: http://www.riv.ca/RIVInspection.aspx

Once the vehicle has passed the RIV inspection process, the inspection center will stamp your Vehicle Import Form - Form 1. Keep the stamped copy of your Vehicle Import Form - Form 1 as it will be required for registration and licensing of the vehicle. RIV will send you a Canadian Statement of Compliance (SOC) label with instructions on where to affix it to your vehicle.If you are having trouble completing the RIV inspection within 45 days (or 1 year for salvage vehicles) it is important to Contact us.

What to do after entering Canada:

Recall clearance documents verify that any defects identified by the manufacturer as a potential safety risk to the vehicle's operator, occupants and public at large, have been corrected.

Recall clearance is the responsibility of the importer. The Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) will not release the inspection form for your vehicle until confirmation that there are no outstanding recalls, has been received.

To facilitate the timely release of your vehicle's RIV inspection form and avoid delays or additional expenses, we recommend that you get your recall clearance documents early in the import process. Documents remain valid for 30 days prior to import and you can submit your recall information to RIV before you import the vehicle.

To submit recall clearance documents:

Fax: 1-888-642-9899 (recall clearance documents only)

E-mail: recall@support.riv.ca

In person or by mail: Contact us.

To obtain recall clearance documentation, select a vehicle type and manufacturer for contact information: http://www.riv.ca/RecallClearance.aspx

In order to alert manufacturers to future recall clearance document requests, RIV sends them a list of VINs for vehicles that have been imported into Canada. This information also assists the manufacturer to locate the current owner of the vehicle should there be a future recall.Acceptable forms of recall clearance documentation

RIV will accept any of the following recall clearance information:

  1. A letter from the vehicle manufacturer's U.S. or Canadian head office.The letter must be written on company letterhead clearly stating that there are no outstanding recalls for the vehicle. If the manufacturer's logo does not appear on the letter, it will be rejected. The letter must be dated and signed by an authorized employee of the manufacturer and include their name and title, the vehicle identification number (VIN), year, make and model. RIV routinely forwards a copy of these letters to the manufacturer for authentication.
  2. A printout from an American or Canadian dealership's vehicle service database.This document must be produced by an authorized dealer and not a reseller. You can confirm whether or not a dealership is authorized by visiting the manufacturer's web site or by calling their head office and providing them with the dealership's location. The printout must also contain the 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN), year, make and model, and indicate that there are no outstanding recalls. RIV routinely forwards a copy of these printouts to the manufacturer for authentication.
  3. Original Equipment Manufacturer's (OEM) web site.Some manufacturers post their recall information on their public web sites specific to the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). This recall information will be accepted subject to verification by RIV.Please note should any of the above documentation indicate that there is an outstanding safety recall, the RIV may accept an invoice/work order from an authorized dealer confirming that the safety recall was completed. The invoice(s) must be dated, contain the vehicle identification number (VIN) and should be accompanied by one of the above acceptable document types.

Vehicles with multiple manufacturersIf you are importing a bus, limousine or any other vehicle that results from more than one manufacturer, you may require two recall clearance documents. Where the final stage manufacturer provides a recall clearance letter that also references the Original Equipment Manufacturer's (OEM) recall information, only one letter is necessary.

Normally, the recall clearance letter from the final stage manufacturer will say, "Please contact the chassis manufacturer for recall information." It is your responsibility to determine the number of recall clearance letters that are necessary. The final stage manufacturer of your vehicle can also assist you with this.

After your payment and recall clearance documents have been received, RIV will send you an inspection form. The inspection form contains information about the modifications necessary to pass the RIV inspection.It is important that you do not proceed with any modifications to your vehicle until you receive the RIV inspection form that outlines the modifications to be completed in order to pass the inspection process.Typical Vehicle Modifications can be found at: http://www.riv.ca/VehicleModifications.aspx

Track your case or print your RIV inspection form.

It is your responsibility to complete any necessary modifications and the RIV inspection, within 45 days (or 1 year for salvage vehicles) from the date of import.

The Motor Vehicle Safety Act does not require modifications to be performed by any specific individual or agency. However, in some cases, the manufacturer has advised Transport Canada that any modifications to the vehicle must be performed by a service center authorized by the manufacturer. Manufacturer specific requirements are published in Transport Canada's List of Vehicles Admissible from the United States.

Should you decide to have a third party perform the required modifications, RIV cannot be held liable for voided warranties, damage to the vehicle or compromised safety and drivability of the vehicle. We recommend that you contact the manufacturer to discuss appropriate parts or warranty issues prior to having modifications performed.Please keep detailed receipts for parts and labor of the modifications to present at the time of RIV inspection, along with the Vehicle Import Form - Form 1 and the RIV inspection form.

Provincial licensing information can be found at: http://www.riv.ca/ProvincialLicensing.aspx