If you’re in the market for a new or used car, you’ve probably done some window shopping online, and have seen just how much the prices of vehicles can vary from country to country. If you are a Canadian, for example, the savings by buying in the USA can be as much as 30 to 40 percent.
But many are daunted by the idea of purchasing a vehicle in a foreign country and going through the importation process. They think it would be complicated and costly. However, if you live in one of the countries covered by the North American Free Trade Agreement countries (USA, Canada, Mexico), you’d be surprised just how easy it actually is. Here is a step by step solution to importing a car from the US into Canada legally and cheaply:
Steps To Importing A Car
1. First, make sure the vehicle you want to buy is actually listed as admissible by the Registrar of Imported Vehicles, the private Canadian company that manages the importation process. Most modern cars and trucks are, in fact, on their list.
2. Do a title history search using the car’s VIN number. The seller should be able to give you this number (if they don’t, run!). Some sellers will actually provide the electronic Carfax or Carproof document. If this isn’t offered, you can easily purchase the vehicle history once you have the VIN number.
3. Once you have the vehicle history report, make sure it has never been an accident salvage car or been a past insurance write-off. Also, take note if there was a recall on your car or truck for that specific year, as you will need to get a recall clearance letter before you arrive up at the border. Contact the manufacturer to get this document.
4. You will have to pay a $195.00 fee to the RIV if you`re importing the car through most Canadian border crossings. As for duty, you may not have to pay any at all if the car you’re buying was built in North America, as these vehicles get an exemption under NAFTA.
5. You will also have to pay an air conditioner excise tax of $100, and a “green levy” on your car or truck if it is classified as fuel inefficient. Depending on its fuel consumption, expect to pay anywhere from $1000 (typical) to $4000 for this charge.
6. Also, because it’s Canada, there is no way to get around paying the 5% GST on the full purchase price of the car, converted to CDN funds.
Important Things To Note
– Before you pick up your car and drive it over the border, call your auto insurance company and make sure you have international coverage in case you were to get into an accident while still in the States.
– After crossing the border, you have 45 days to make any modifications needed for federal clearance. Bring your car to any Canadian Tire store to find out if you vehicle needs anything.
– Remember, you can always hire a car broker to take car of the entire importation process.