- Run VIN thru carfax
- Check to see if the vehicle model/year is admissible (check riv.ca website)
- If it requires heavy modification, call locally to find out costs
- Call seller to find out if they'll sell to Canadian customer
- Find third party to take photos of the vehicle, document scratches, visible problems, etc
- If still under warranty, call manufacturer to see if warranty is transferable.
- Call insurance company to arrange for insurance on the car (*** see bottom)
- Get dealership to fax title (both sides) to you, so that you can fax it to the U.S. border crossing at least 72h in advance of coming back. (Port Huron/Sarnia was only port offering 24/7 crossing for vehicle importation, most are mon-fri 8-4)
- If dealership is a manufacturer dealership, get them to provide a recall clearance letter (on company letterhead) stating that there are no open recalls on the vehicle.
- If they are a private dealership, then you'll have to call the manufacturer's headquarters to provide this information.
- Keep the fax confirmation sheet (hopefully includes the cover page which you've written the VIN on somewhere)
- Call the customs office to see if they've received the fax (mine wouldn't confirm this, but I've read that some will - guess it depends on the officer you reach)
- While on the phone, ask if the customs office will process automobile imports 24/7 or only 9-5.
During Sale (while on-site)
- Do visual/driving inspection
- Get dealership to fill out "assignment" section of title (on the back)
- Make sure the dealership name matches everywhere (my dealership did business under 3 different names, so I had to get them to sign an affidavit later, stating that they were one and the same)
- Get dealership to fill out papers for manufacturers warranty transfer (if applicable)
- Get temporary plates for the long haul home (get dealership to provide them if possible, otherwise, go to closest DMV)
- Get photocopies of the bill of sale, title (both sides), other pertinent paperwork (just in case!)
Crossing the Border
- Make sure that you've provided U.S. customs 72h to process the title before crossing
- Double check to make sure you have all your paperwork (bill of sale, title, fax confirmation sheet, recall clearance letter)
- Go to US customs office, provide title, bill of sale
- US customs will stamp it, send you to Canada customs
- At Canada customs, provide stamped title, bill of sale, recall clearance letter.
- Fill out 'Form 1'
- Pay RIV fee, GST, duty (if applicable)
- Keep Form 1 in your glovebox. This is your "license" for up to 45 days after the import.
- Form 2 should arrive in the mail within 15 days. If it doesn't, call the RIV office and quote the case number from Form 1 to find out why Form 2 wasn't released. In my case, I needed to fax the recall clearance letter to RIV before they would release Form 2.
- Take vehicle to dealership (or if inclined, DIY) to get DRL's enabled.
- Once you have Form 2, go to Crappy Tire and get them to do e-test, safety, federal inspection.
- They will fax the completed inspection to RIV, but ask for a copy for your records.
- Go to MTO office with safety cert, fed. inspection copy, title, to pay PST and get plated/licensed.
That should be it!
*** my insurance company gave me a bit of a runaround. Yes, legally they can insure an out of province vehicle. My company (state farm) needed several phone calls before finally looking into it. But of the 7 companies i spoke to, all was able to do it.
Check out http://ebaymotors.aacb.com/
They have an import calculator that will provide you a (fairly accurate) estimate for the duty (if applicable), excise tax (for A/C), GST and RIV fee based on your vehicle.
PPS: Make sure you call border to clarify what they want on the cover letter. Each crossing wants the attention: made to different things (make sure to also include the VIN on ALL documents)
PPSS: crossing in port huron was easy, 20 mins on usa side, 20 mins on canada side at noon on a saturday. The directions they gave me were a little vague. When you fax your stuff to your desired border crossing, ask for directions and where to park on the USA side.
Hope this helps! These directions were from a friend who bought an Avant back in the fall. I followed only these directions, made couple adjustments as i went, and posted the updated info.
Feel free to sticky this, so we can stop seeing 30 posts a day in this forum