Not sure which vehicle you want to buy? Check out our buying a new vehicle information tool. Do you already know what you want? Find out if importing a vehicle from the U.S. is for you. The Registrar of Imported Vehicles regulates vehicles originally manufactured for the U.S. market including:
Price differences between the manufacturer's suggested retail price in Canada vs. the United States can vary based on the model of the vehicle. It's important to know these differences and additional costs, such as taxes, levies and importing fees before you plan to import. In some cases, it could be the same or even cheaper to buy the vehicle in Canada.
Once you have purchased your vehicle, you will need to obtain copies of the following documents:
Documentation for your vehicle must be presented to U.S. Customs at least 72 hours before the vehicle arrives at the border. You must decide where you plan to cross the border and contact that office for confirmation of document receipt.
If you are crossing directly into Alberta you must use the Sweetgrass, Mont., border crossing. If you plan to drive the vehicle through the border yourself, you will need insurance before you go. Get a quick and easy auto insurance quote in three steps.
When your vehicle is purchased, the U.S. dealer will issue you a one-month temporary licence plate. You can drive in the U.S. and Canada, while you're completing the import process, with the temporary plate.
Once you reach the border, you will need to produce your original title documents, registration and sales receipts to U.S. Customs.
The Canada Border Services Agency will collect your $195 RIV fee and any duty or taxes owing on the vehicle, check the admissibility of your vehicle, and verify the VIN and manufacturer’s statement of compliance label. You will also receive a Vehicle Import Form – Form 1, which must be completed and kept in the vehicle until it is registered.
Payment of fees and receipt of the completed Vehicle Import Form – Form 1 does not mean that your vehicle meets all requirements. You will still need to ensure that your vehicle complies with all applicable federal, provincial and territorial laws.
Once the Registrar of Imported Vehicles receives payment and recall clearance documentation an Inspection Form (Form 2) will be mailed to you detailing any modification work that must be completed. The mechanic of your choice may do the modifications; however, it is recommended that you contact the original equipment manufacturer for proper parts or warranty issues. You are responsible for having this work completed and inspected within 45 days.
You must present receipts for any modification work completed, Form 1, Form 2 and the recall clearance letter at the inspection. The RIV has contracted Canadian Tire to perform free federal inspections. Inspections can also be performed at any RIV authorized independent inspection centre.
If the vehicle fails the inspection, there will be additional charges for another inspection. Further modifications may also be required. If the vehicle doesn’t pass the inspection within the 45 days it will be exported back to the United States without a refund of any fees or taxes paid.
Once your vehicle passes inspection, your Form 1 will be stamped. A new Canadian Certification label will be sent to you about one week after passing the federal inspection along with instructions on where to place it in your vehicle.
To complete the registration, you'll need the completed Form 1, photo identification, your bill of sale and proof of insurance, and the Out of Province inspection certificate.
Need to register? Read AMA's step-by-step guide to registering out-of-province vehicles in Alberta.
Importing from the U.S.? Check the Service Alberta website for more tips and resources.