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    Thread: HOW TO Thread - Importing a car from USA

    1. Member Bugs's Avatar
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      02-05-2008 04:17 PM #1
      Before
      - 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)
      Afterwards
      - 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.

      P.S.
      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
      (o)\_|_/(o) 1974 Standard Beetle | 2014 Triumph Thruxton | 2006 MINI Cooper S Ralley | 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited –OlllllllO-

    2. Moderator The Red Baron's Avatar
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      02-05-2008 04:20 PM #2
      Given the current demand for this information I have stickied this thread, please post any questions, comments, etc. pertaining to automotive importation in this thread ONLY.
      We do not need to have multiple threads on this topic every week.
      for every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty,
      many souls must be trampled - hunter s thompson

    3. Moderator The Red Baron's Avatar
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      02-05-2008 04:23 PM #3
      Useful Links:
      http://www.riv.ca/
      United States requirements for exportation:
      http://www.customs.gov/xp/cgov...e.xml
      http://ebaymotors.aacb.com/
      - good link from ebay walking you through the process
      http://www.myborderpro.com/2006/
      - a site helping to calculate taxes/duties/fees associated with importing a car
      for every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty,
      many souls must be trampled - hunter s thompson

    4. Member Bugs's Avatar
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      02-05-2008 08:07 PM #4
      Quote, originally posted by Deezel Dub »
      Which crossing is better at NY/Ontario

      I crossed at Port Huron/Sarnia bridge. Simply because I needed a weekend crossing, and peace/rainbow/etc are only weekdays, 8-4 or somethign like that
      I was at the us office for 20-25 mins, couple questions and answers from their clerk there, and then he sent me to the ontario side. Paid fee/tax, and 20-25 mins in that office, and I was on my way.
      40-50 minutes all together, both sides. Be up front, honest, curteous, and they will be as well.. [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      (o)\_|_/(o) 1974 Standard Beetle | 2014 Triumph Thruxton | 2006 MINI Cooper S Ralley | 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited –OlllllllO-

    5. 02-06-2008 10:38 AM #5
      Great post!

    6. Moderator The Red Baron's Avatar
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      02-06-2008 12:14 PM #6
      Quote, originally posted by Deezel Dub »
      Yeah normally I would cross there however, the car is in Jersey

      If you don't mind adding about an hour and a bit to the trip you can always cross at Kingston and take I-81 all the way down.
      for every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty,
      many souls must be trampled - hunter s thompson

    7. Moderator The Red Baron's Avatar
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      02-06-2008 06:54 PM #7
      Better than Niagara/Buffalo.
      for every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty,
      many souls must be trampled - hunter s thompson

    8. Member Drehkraft's Avatar
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      02-06-2008 08:21 PM #8
      Avoid Buffalo. What a PITA. Even with the correct paperwork, they still have me a hassle.
      Cheap, fast, reliable - Pick your two!

    9. 02-07-2008 09:03 PM #9
      One suggested addition...
      Before pulling the trigger, shop around for the best exchange rates. Walking into your local bank branch and asking for a bank draft in US dollars will likely not be the best approach. Remember, when you're talking thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars, a percent or two difference in the exchange rate can really add up.

    10. 02-08-2008 12:25 PM #10
      One of the best threads on this board for Importing a vehicle from the U.S

    11. Member Bugs's Avatar
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      02-11-2008 12:00 AM #11
      Quote, originally posted by Deezel Dub »
      So I have a dilemma. I NEED to pick up the car this weekend. However, VW takes their slow ass time sending me back the Recall Clearance letter. So my question is. Does the car have to be present when you are clearing it through customs. Cause I would like to just drive the car across and then go back to the border when I finally get the paperwork.

      car must be there.
      You cant leave the country until you go through us customs and have the paper work stamped. That paper then has to go to the canadian side, where they do a visual inspection on the car while you do the paper work and sign documents.
      I was asked for the recall letter on both sides of the border. Looks like you better find a 'texer near the border on the US side where you can leave the car until you get the paper work finished off. Dont forget, even after you recieve the recall letter, you need to fax the title 72hrs in advance of crossing.
      Good luck! [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
      (o)\_|_/(o) 1974 Standard Beetle | 2014 Triumph Thruxton | 2006 MINI Cooper S Ralley | 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited –OlllllllO-

    12. 02-11-2008 02:07 AM #12
      Quote, originally posted by Deezel Dub »
      So I have a dilemma. I NEED to pick up the car this weekend. However, VW takes their slow ass time sending me back the Recall Clearance letter. So my question is. Does the car have to be present when you are clearing it through customs. Cause I would like to just drive the car across and then go back to the border when I finally get the paperwork.

      It is possible to drive the car into Canada without the Recall Clearance Letter. You only need the letter in order to get Form #2 from RIV.

      When I imported my car last July I also had troubles getting a recall clearance letter. At the border they filled out the Form #1 and faxed it to the RIV. After paying taxes I was allowed to enter Canada with the car even though I didn't have the Recall Clearance Letter. Several days later the dealership I purchased the car from gave me a computer printout of their system showing that my vehicle VIN required no "campaign/actions". I then faxed this to the RIV. They excepted it as a recall clearance letter and e-mailed me Form #2.

      P.S. I crossed the border in Niagara/Buffalo and only the Queenston/Lewiston bridge processed vehicle imports. The US export desk inspector's hours are Mon.-Fri. 8:00-4:00.

    13. 02-11-2008 06:21 AM #13
      Quote, originally posted by quietA3guy »
      It is possible to drive the car into Canada without the Recall Clearance Letter. You only need the letter in order to get Form #2 from RIV.

      This is correct. Unless the RIV has amended their policies without updating their website, you do not need the recall clearance letter to get the car across the border. Call the RIV and verify before you go.

    14. Member
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      02-11-2008 08:51 AM #14
      I don't suppose anyone has done the European Delivery Program and then imported their car??? I assume it would be the same process, with the addition of the EDP steps.

    15. 02-11-2008 09:19 AM #15
      Quote, originally posted by alphazero »
      I don't suppose anyone has done the European Delivery Program and then imported their car??? I assume it would be the same process, with the addition of the EDP steps.

      Usually when you do Euro delivery, the importation is handled by the manufacturer.

    16. Member
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      02-11-2008 12:40 PM #16
      Which is great except the delivery I am interested in is for Audi... and they have no program for Canada (yet).

    17. 02-17-2008 10:29 AM #17
      AHH!!!!..cant wait to bring my 20th home!!!...

    18. 02-19-2008 01:42 PM #18

      I brought in a Toyota Sienna (minivan) and I could do it without a recall letter. I was faxed the recall letter by Toyota after the car had arrived in Ontario. It (the recall) was not required by the US customs (time taken 15 minutes) or the Canadian customs (time : 25 minutes) at around 9.30 am at the Queenston Lewinston bridge.
      The recallletter needs to be faxed to the RIV who issue (in my case e-mailed) the Form 2 that you need to take to the Can.Tire for inspection.

    19. Member Bugs's Avatar
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      02-20-2008 08:41 PM #19
      Just finished the last steps to my importation. Truck is now plated, stickered, insured, and canadian
      Make sure when booking your RIV test with Canadian tire to book E-test and safety. They ARE required.
      (o)\_|_/(o) 1974 Standard Beetle | 2014 Triumph Thruxton | 2006 MINI Cooper S Ralley | 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited –OlllllllO-

    20. Member Bugs's Avatar
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      02-20-2008 10:18 PM #20
      no, safety/etest is required at final point. To be put on road (after in canada, with form2 in hand).
      (o)\_|_/(o) 1974 Standard Beetle | 2014 Triumph Thruxton | 2006 MINI Cooper S Ralley | 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited –OlllllllO-

    21. 02-21-2008 10:58 AM #21
      Quote, originally posted by Bugs »
      no, safety/etest is required at final point. To be put on road (after in canada, with form2 in hand).

      Safety inspection and emissions testing are provincial requirements related to licensing the vehicle for road use. They are not required for the federal importation process.

    22. Member Bugs's Avatar
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      02-21-2008 05:50 PM #22
      Quote, originally posted by chuckDD »
      Safety inspection and emissions testing are provincial requirements related to licensing the vehicle for road use. They are not required for the federal importation process.


      you are correct. But if you want to actually drive the vehicle, you need to do it. (depending on province)
      (o)\_|_/(o) 1974 Standard Beetle | 2014 Triumph Thruxton | 2006 MINI Cooper S Ralley | 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited –OlllllllO-

    23. 03-19-2008 08:14 AM #23
      I still have my 97 Jetta, but just to let you guys know, I bought a new Subaru Tribeca back from Rochester, NY back in November. Very easy process, but does take a bit of planning in advance. I saved around 17K versus buying from a Canadian dealership.

    24. 03-19-2008 11:16 AM #24
      Quote, originally posted by huskylord »
      I still have my 97 Jetta, but just to let you guys know, I bought a new Subaru Tribeca back from Rochester, NY back in November. Very easy process, but does take a bit of planning in advance. I saved around 17K versus buying from a Canadian dealership.

      Well done, sir. There are definitely big savings to be had on Subarus. My neighbour picked up a Tribeca from Pennsylvania just before Christmas.

    25. Member
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      03-25-2008 08:09 AM #25
      What's the differences making a private purchase (from an individual)?
      And we pretty much assume that the vehicle is purchased out-right... a Canuck couldn't possibly get a VW Credit loan on a US purchased vehicle (or any other)?!

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