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    Thread: HOW TO Thread - Importing a car from USA

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    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. 02-07-2008 09:03 PM #4
      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.

    5. 02-08-2008 12:25 PM #5
      One of the best threads on this board for Importing a vehicle from the U.S

    6. 02-17-2008 10:29 AM #6
      AHH!!!!..cant wait to bring my 20th home!!!...

    7. 02-19-2008 01:42 PM #7

      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.

    8. Member Bugs's Avatar
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      02-20-2008 08:41 PM #8
      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-

    9. 03-19-2008 08:14 AM #9
      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.

    10. 03-19-2008 11:16 AM #10
      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.

    11. Member
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      03-25-2008 08:09 AM #11
      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)?!

    12. 05-08-2008 12:44 PM #12
      Quote, originally posted by alphazero »
      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)?!

      All the info for a private purchase should be above, try re-reading the post.

      Question: has anybody imported a 'kit car' with a 'self-assebled' title?

    13. 05-20-2008 12:08 PM #13
      I know someone who has come from south africa a few years ago and brought his mk2 race car with him. The car was stored in a container with his belonging packed in and around the car so no one had seen or even asked if he had a car.
      He would like to get it on the road and he cannot because he does not have the proper documentation . They want to crush it!
      What can he do? What papers to file?

    14. Member Mtl-Marc's Avatar
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      06-15-2008 03:24 PM #14
      September 2007, US Customs at Champlain/Lacolle asked me to get the original title, no fax when I imported my 1981 Scirocco.
      If your car is 15 years or older, the process is simpler. No recall letter, and a few other details.
      Quote Originally Posted by Mk1Madness
      Back when making your car faster and better handling was the big thing.
      Quote Originally Posted by Eistreiber
      Yeah, I prefer slow-cooked bacon; and bacon grease saved is great for frying other stuff, adds some good flavor to almost anything. Except maybe tofu, that stuff is beyond help.
      Quote Originally Posted by Tavarish
      The car's best safety feature includes ejecting you in the moment of impact and wishing you the best of luck.

    15. 06-17-2008 08:48 AM #15
      Quote, originally posted by Mtl-Marc »
      September 2007, US Customs at Champlain/Lacolle asked me to get the original title, no fax when I imported my 1981 Scirocco.

      I had the same experience with US Customs at Ogdensburg, NY: they wanted the original title plus 2 copies. Always call the Customs office you'll be passing through well ahead of time and verify their requirements.

    16. Member Zuber Speed's Avatar
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      06-26-2008 10:31 PM #16
      Does anyone know of a border thats open on the weekends cloes to Buffalo?
      Im assuming peace/queenston is only monday-friday 8-4?
      What about fort Erie?
      I really dont feel like driving from buffalo to kingston or Port Huron Sarnia
      Suggestions?
      How long does it take to get a Recall letter?

    17. Member Zuber Speed's Avatar
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      06-27-2008 08:51 AM #17
      Just to add to the thread, here is a good link for contact numbers at borders in NY
      http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/too...1.xml
      Note: NONE of the NY borders are open for vehicle exports on weekends. Hours are ONLY M-F 8am-4pm
      Port Huron and Detroit are the only 24/7 borders

    18. Semi-n00b super_man's Avatar
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      09-02-2010 12:58 AM #18
      Just finished importing a used 2010 VW CC Luxury from the USA into Canada. Did the importing at the Lewiston NY border crossing. Spent 20 minutes with US Customs to export the vehicle, then 15 minutes with Canada Customs to import the vehicle. Followed the RIV process to a "T". Went smooth. The secret is to go early in the day and mid week, to avoid any customs lineups.

    19. 06-27-2008 10:36 AM #19
      Quote, originally posted by Zuber Speed »
      How long does it take to get a Recall letter?

      What kind of vehicle? Check with RIV, but a print-out from a dealer on dealer letterhead stating "no open recalls" may suffice.

    20. Member Zuber Speed's Avatar
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      06-27-2008 10:52 AM #20
      Quote, originally posted by chuckDD »
      What kind of vehicle? Check with RIV, but a print-out from a dealer on dealer letterhead stating "no open recalls" may suffice.

      VW
      They said, could take up to 7 business days, but doesnt usually take that long
      I need one by next weekend. If i dont have one by wednesday, then I'll call around at dealers.
      The guy already told me there are no open recalls on the car, i dont see what takes so damn long

    21. 03-04-2009 08:58 PM #21
      If anyone has any questions or is getting problems with importing please feel free to email me. We imported numerous Delta Lancias and Golf's Rallye's into Toronto and not to mention yorkdale size parking lot worth of exotics. I will be more then glad to help you.

    22. Member r32argent's Avatar
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      03-18-2009 05:32 PM #22
      A couple months ago I imported my '04 R32 without any problems. I went through Lewiston. I spent maybe 5 minutes on the U.S. side, around 10 minutes in Canada at Customs.
      Why is everyone who drives slower than me an idiot, and everyone who drives faster a maniac?

    23. Member Bugs's Avatar
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      03-18-2009 06:35 PM #23
      any additional steps needed for the R32 since it was it previously wasnt allowed into Canada?

      I hope to import my second US car at the end of next 2010. You sir, beat me to it


      Modified by Bugs at 6:42 PM 3-18-2009
      (o)\_|_/(o) 1974 Standard Beetle | 2014 Triumph Thruxton | 2006 MINI Cooper S Ralley | 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited –OlllllllO-

    24. Member r32argent's Avatar
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      03-22-2009 08:41 AM #24
      Quote, originally posted by Bugs »
      any additional steps needed for the R32 since it was it previously wasnt allowed into Canada?

      I hope to import my second US car at the end of next 2010. You sir, beat me to it

      Modified by Bugs at 6:42 PM 3-18-2009

      No extra steps -- I just followed the instructions on the RIV and Customs' websites for any other admissible vehicle (pretty much the same as described in this thread).
      Since I have OEM HIDs, I'd disabled my DRLs. Before I left the U.S. I modded some wiring to have a couple LEDs work as DRLs.
      Anywhoo, if the R's stock you won't have to worry about it.
      Aside: For some reason Canada Customs at Queenston-Lewiston couldn't look up my R's trade-in/resale value on their computers. I wonder how long that will last.


      Modified by r32argent at 8:45 AM 3-22-2009
      Why is everyone who drives slower than me an idiot, and everyone who drives faster a maniac?

    25. Member mushroom_curry's Avatar
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      03-22-2009 03:09 PM #25

      When you're importing a vehicle they open a file that remains valid for X number of days, correct?
      What if you have no intention of registering the car in your name and driving it? (ie: a totaled parts car you trailer home)
      dasjettakartell - transcend trend - connoisseurism before consumerism

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