Shipping a car internationally comes with its own set of challenges. Whether you are relocating to Canada or just want to drive your own vehicle while visiting, transporting your car across the border requires some planning and paperwork. This article covers the key things you need to know about shipping a car to Canada.
Import Regulations and Duties
Canada has import regulations and duties that apply to vehicles brought into the country. The amount of duty you pay depends on factors like the car’s value, year, make and country of origin.
In general, you will need to pay duty ranging from 4-20% of the car’s value if it is more than 10 years old. Newer vehicles typically face duties of 6-15%. Vehicles that are antiques over 100 years old may qualify for a exemption.
You will also need to provide documentation showing you owned and registered the car in your home country for at least 6 months. Failure to pay applicable duties can result in fines.
It’s a good idea to research Canada’s import duty estimates and regulations on the Canada Border Services Agency website beforehand to understand potential costs.
Transportation and Logistics
Shipping your car internationally requires planning its transport via road, rail or ocean freight. Some things to consider include:
- Hiring a licensed automotive transport company with experience shipping to Canada.
- Scheduling delivery dates based on border wait times which can fluctuate seasonally.
- Obtaining the car’s ownership and insurance documents in your name for the trip.
- Ensuring the vehicle is properly secured, inspected and has enough fuel/supplies for travel.
- Coordinating customs clearance, inspections and paperwork on the Canadian side.
Ask potential carriers about included services, insurance coverage and hidden fees to find the most cost-effective option for your needs.
Shipping Your Car To Canada Safety Inspections
Upon entering Canada, your vehicle may undergo a brief safety inspection by the province it is entering. Officials will check items like lights, signals, tires, brakes and verify the VIN number matches your documents.
If any non-safety issues are found like small repairs or damage, you can still drive the car legally by getting a waiver. But vehicles with material defects may be refused entry until fixed. So thoroughly inspect your car before shipping to avoid delays.
Each Canadian province has its own vehicle emissions regulations you need to follow. These are generally similar to or more stringent than U.S. federal standards. Some things to be aware of include:
- Meeting local requirements for emissions control equipment and emissions labeling.
- Getting an emissions test if your vehicle model year is 1996 or newer.
- Retrofitting a car to be green- compliant if its emissions exceed provincial limits.
It’s best to research the off-road use and anti-tampering laws where you plan to drive in Canada as well.
Registration and Licensing
Once your car arrives safely in Canada, you will need to register and license it according to the province’s process within a specified timeframe (usually 30 days). This involves:
- Getting an evaluation of your car’s value for calculating taxes and fees.
- Presenting documents like vehicle ownership, insurance and import documents.
- Paying applicable license plate fees, sales tax and additional provincial taxes.
- Inspecting the vehicle again if required.
- Receiving license plates and other permits needed to legally drive.
Reach out to your destination province’s motor vehicle agency for exact requirements. Make sure your driver’s license is also valid there or obtain an International Driving Permit if needed.
Shipping Your Car To Canada Observe Local Driving Rules
While driving habits may seem familiar, there are some key differences in rules of the road across Canada and the U.S. border.
Be sure to observe regulations like driving on the left side, obeying posted speed limits which may be lower, and yielding properly at intersections. Also, relearn hand signals if you reside in a state that no longer requires them.
Familiarizing yourself with local traffic laws, road/highway configurations and signs prior to driving will help you integrate into the transportation system smoothly and avoid citations as a visitor or new resident.
Following these points will help demystify the paperwork and logistical challenges involved in transporting your personal vehicle across borders. With advance planning and research, you can have a positive experience shipping your car to Canada.