Importing Vehicles

From time to time, the UCDA receives inquiries about importing vehicles from the United States. Here’s how the importation process works:

Transport Canada maintains and regularly updates a list of vehicles built for the U.S. market that are not admissible into Canada. Before purchasing a vehicle to import, check the list at

U.S. Customs requires at least 72 hours prior notice, to the border crossing where the vehicle will be exported. Title, registration and purchase documentation must be presented before crossing the border.

A recall clearance letter from the vehicle’s manufacturer is needed in order to pass the required inspection. It’s a good idea to request this letter prior to importing the vehicle, in case there are delays in receiving it.

You’ll need title and registration documents from the originating jurisdiction, along with a bill of sale if you have purchased the vehicle. The VIN will be checked to determine if the vehicle is admissible. A Transport Canada Vehicle Import Form (Form 1) is issued to be kept in the vehicle until it is registered. If imported for Parts only, a Form 3 will be issued.

A federal inspection will be required before the vehicle will be allowed permanent entry into Canada. The $195 fee, plus GST, will be collected at the border. If the vehicle is for parts only, the fee is $70, plus GST.

Canada Border Services will also collect GST and any applicable duties based on the value of the vehicle, if it was not manufactured in North America.

Within ten days of the date of entry, the Registrar of Imported Vehicles will send an inspection kit to you. This kit will include a list of inspection stations (Canadian Tire stores) to which the vehicle may be taken and an inspection document (Form 2), to be taken with you to the inspection station.

Inspection is required within 45 days of the date of entry.

The inspection determines if the vehicle meets Transport Canada requirements. For example, a vehicle must be equipped with daytime running lights and the speedometer must show kilometres.

Seat belt anchorage systems must also comply with Canadian standards.

After a vehicle passes inspection, a Compliance Label will be issued for it. It can then be registered in Ontario, subject to normal safety inspection and emissions testing requirements.

If the vehicle does not pass the inspection, modifications will be needed in order for it to remain in Canada. If the required inspection is not carried out at all, the Registrar may take steps to have the vehicle removed from Canada.

Be especially careful when purchasing imported conversion vans and recreational vehicles. Even if a manufacturer’s vehicles are approved for importation into Canada, modifications made by someone other than the manufacturer may not be acceptable. Check first with the Registrar of Imported Vehicles.

Specific questions can be answered by the Office of the Registrar of Imported Vehicles.

Tel: 1-888-848-8240 Fax: (416) 626-0366

405 The West Mall, Suite 400, Etobicoke, Ontario, M9C 5K7