Thanks a lot for the quick reply. I just called up a border crossing and got more or less the same response.
The tricky bit is that apparently different crossings will have different requirements. Stupid but true. Some require original documents to be couriered, some will allow copies to be couriered, and some will also accept faxed copies (all 72 hrs before bringing the vehicle across, mind you).
Oh, and to complicate things even more, the US Customs website specifically says that only the Vehicle Title needs to be sent 72 hrs in advance ... but the border crossing I called says they require the Title and Bill of Sale.
Anyways, for anybody who's reading this and confused as hell, the moral of the story is:
1) US Customs agents apparently make their own rules,
2) There's nothing you can do about it,
3) You better call ahead to the border crossing you're planning on using and find out what they want and when they want it (you can find the numbers on riv.ca).
There's a site that's full of useful information on this subject, but unfortunately its servers seem to be down more often than not. Luckily google has a cached version:
Oh, and for anyone crossing at Houlton/Woodstock in the near future, here's what I found out:
- They require the Title and Bill of Sale 72 hrs prior to bringing the car across.
- They "usually only" accept couriered originals (his exact words).