Frequently Asked Questions - Visitors, Tourists and Temporary Residents Entering Canada with Foreign Owned Vehicles

I will be visiting Canada with my vehicle. Do I have to formally declare it for importation at the Canadian border?

No. Section 7(1)(b) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA), allows a visitor to temporarily enter Canada with a motor vehicle without complying with the MVSA if the vehicle is used only by a visitor to Canada or a person passing through Canada en route to another country.

Notes:

  1. You alone may use the vehicle.
  2. Any change in your status, such as receiving permanent residency in Canada, may make your vehicle inadmissible and you will be required to export or destroy it.
  3. You may not sell or gift the vehicle while in Canada.
  4. The vehicle cannot remain in Canada longer than the time limits allowed under your temporary entry.

I have received temporary residency visa for Canada to study or work. May I bring my personal vehicle without having to formally import it?

Declaring a vehicle is optional for temporary residents. It is recommended that you declare your vehicle as part of your personal and household effects upon arrival to Canada if you have been granted a temporary residency authorization that exceeds three months during which you will need to license the vehicle in Canada during your stay.

Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials will apply section 7(1)(b) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA) which means that you are considered a visitor and the vehicle does not have to comply with the MVSA and provide you with a formal vehicle import declaration outlining the temporary nature of the vehicle’s entry. This declaration known as the Vehicle Import Form – Form-1 is necessary for licensing your vehicle during your temporary residency in Canada.

Notes:

  1. You alone may use the vehicle.
  2. Any change in your status, such as receiving permanent residency in Canada, may make your vehicle inadmissible and you will be required to export or destroy it.
  3. You may not sell or gift the vehicle while in Canada.
  4. The vehicle cannot remain in Canada longer than the time limits listed on the work permit, student visa or any other Customs authorization.

Information for declaring personal and household effects for temporary residents is available at the CBSA Information for Non-Canadians Web page.

My status has changed from temporary to permanent resident while in Canada with my vehicle. How does that affect my vehicle?

If your vehicle is eligible for importation, you will need to formally declare the vehicle along with your personal effects to the Canada Border Services Agency and fulfill all import requirements.

If your vehicle does not comply with the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, you must export or destroy it when your temporary entry status becomes permanent.

Notes:

  1. Temporary residents and visitors cannot sell or donate their vehicle while in Canada
  2. Your vehicle cannot remain in Canada for a period longer than the time limits listed on your work permit, student visa or any other Customs authorization.

How do I arrange to ship a vehicle into Canada? Can you recommend anybody?

Transport Canada does not endorse any shipping companies or brokers. Shipping a vehicle is your responsibility.

How do I assess how much tax or duty I may have to pay at the Canadian border when I import a motor vehicle?

Canada Border Services Agency officers collect duties and taxes at importation. If your vehicle is eligible for importation into Canada, please contact the Canada Border Services Agency by dialing toll-free 1-800-461-9999 from within Canada or 1-506-636-5064 from outside Canada (long distance charges may apply), or visit www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca to learn more about duty and taxes.

What happens if Canada border officials find a vehicle inadmissible into Canada when it is presented for importation?

Vehicles found inadmissible are immediately denied entry at the Canadian border. Vehicles granted entry subject to further verification that later fail to meet import requirements in Canada must be exported out of the country or destroyed under supervision of Canadian customs officials.

Note: Importing any vehicle that does not comply with the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act is a punishable offence under the Criminal Code.

Once in Canada, how do I register or license a vehicle imported temporarily?

Following a successful temporary importation, provide the import documents obtained to your provincial or territorial licensing authority.

Note: Having successfully importing a vehicle does not guarantee that you will be able to register and license it. For example, some provinces will not license right hand drive vehicles or certain salvage branded vehicles once repaired. Please contact your provincial or territorial licensing department to learn more about registering an imported vehicle.

Contact

  • 1-800-333-0371 (long distance, Canada)
  • 1-613-998-8616 (Ottawa region and from other countries)
  • Email
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