Import Car from Canada to US

Some people in the U.S head to Canada to purchase a used vehicle mainly because of lower prices and taxes. However, the complicated import process is enough to spin anyone’s head. This is why most of people prefer using a car transport company to do the import for them.

However, if you want to roll up your sleeves and do everything by yourself, this handy guide will help you import a car from Canada to the U.S.

Ensuring Compliance Before Starting the Import Process:

Before initiating the import procedure, you need to ensure the vehicle is compliant with the U.S Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) established by the U.S.D.O.T (Department of Transportation), and the Emission Standards by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

According to the DOT requirements, all vehicles under 25 years old need to meet all FMVSS to be permanently imported into the U.S. Vehicles over 25 years of age don’t have to meet any of these standards and can just be imported as-is.

However, we’re talking about cars under 25 years of age, so you need to fill the HS-7 form to certify compliance of your vehicle with the D.O.T standards. Furthermore, your vehicle should conform to the emission standards by EPA. For this, look for a label under your car’s hood or in the engine compartment that says ‘Vehicle Emission Control Information’ and has the certification.

In case there’s no certification on the label, you need to get a letter from the car’s manufacturer stating that it meets all standards by FMVSS. Here’s a complete list of auto manufacturers with contact details.

8 Steps to Import a Car From Canada to the US:

  1. Once you’ve done the research and ensured compliance with the aforementioned standards, you can get right to the import process. Make sure to have the following things ready:
  • Bill of Sale clearly displaying the VIN and your name as the buyer
  • Certificate of Origin/Manufacture’s Statement or Registration & Title
  • Manufacturer’s letter stating your car meets all applicable standards by FMVSS (in case the car only has a CMVSS label)
  • Temporary insurance card and licence plate from the province of car purchase
  • HS-7 Form
  • EPA Form 3520-1
  • CBP Form 7501
  1. You also need to pay GST and PST on the car, but you can be exempted from the latter one if you’re not a Canadian resident
  2. Once you’ve filled the forms given above and have all the documents printed and organized in a file, have your car thoroughly cleaned, sprayed and steamed as it’s required by the U.S Department of Agriculture that there should be no foreign contaminant in the imported vehicles.
  3. Next, call the local U.S Customs and Border Protection office to let them know you’re coming. When you reach the first gate at the border, tell the officer you’re a U.S citizen who’s importing a car from Canada for personal use. He may ask for one of the documents you have for verification and then point you in the direction of the parking lot.
  4. Next, go inside the building, and provide the file with all paperwork organized at the front desk. You NEED to get the EPA, CBP and DOT forms stamped before leaving the office (you’ll have to provide stamped forms to get the vehicle registered in the U.S)
  5. You’ll have to wait 10-20 minutes while they review the forms, and then you’ll be asked to pay the duty fee, which is 2.5% for cars. (There may or may not be a few other fees depending on your circumstances, the office will guide you better)
  6. You can also apply for an $800 CBP exemption if you’re a returning U.S resident. This way, you’ll pay 3% on the first $1000 of the vehicle’s value and then 2.5% on the remaining amount.
  7. Once the papers are stamped, and fees paid, you’ll be free to go your merry way.

But Wait, There’s More:

Once you’re in the U.S, you’ll have to pay a visit to your local Tax Assessor’s Office to have the title and registration of your car. Bring all the paperwork with you that you organized in the file, including the stamped DOT HS-7, EPA 3520 and CBP 7501 forms.

Some other documents required include the Title form, Application for License Plate form, valid driver’s license and proof of insurance. Call your local Tax Assessor’s office beforehand to find out where to get these forms and if anything else is needed.

Depending on the fees for filing the forms and applying for title and registration in your state, you can expect to pay a few hundred dollars in total. Once that’s done, you are free to cruise around in your newly imported ride.



Connect With Us