Importing non-regulated vehicles

Some vehicles are defined as non-regulated, which makes them exempt from having to comply with the Motor Vehicle Safety Act when they are manufactured or imported.

Vehicles have non-regulated status based on their:

  • design characteristics
  • circumstances at time of entry into Canada
  • age of the vehicle

How you plan to use a vehicle in Canada does not determine if it will qualify as non-regulated. The original design intent of the manufacturer is considered first (i.e., the class of vehicle at the time of main assembly). The vehicle is then assessed for other factors such as age or special circumstances.

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Examples of non-regulated vehicles

The following are examples of vehicles that are not regulated under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and its regulations:

  • vehicles 15 years old or older according to their manufacture date
  • buses manufactured before January 1, 1971
  • vehicles brought in temporarily by visitors, foreign students or foreign workers
  • vehicles designed strictly for off-road use such as farm tractors, construction equipment and utility-terrain vehicles (UTVs)
  • competition vehicles designed only for closed course competitions, with the necessary labels
  • power-assisted bicycles, as defined in section 2(1) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations

Import procedures for non-regulated vehicles

You may import non-regulated vehicles if they meet Canada Border Services Agency entry requirements. At the border, officers will:

  • verify the vehicle's non-regulated status
  • inspect for possible soil contaminants
  • examine the ownership documents
  • collect taxes and/or duties if applicable
  • decide admissibility according to other Canadian customs regulations that may apply

Before importing non-regulated vehicles, you are encouraged to read Importing non-regulated vehicles into Canada – FAQs.

Importing older vehicles into Canada

Vehicles manufactured more than 15 years ago, and buses manufactured before January 1, 1971, are not regulated for importation by the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. They are considered age-exempt. You may import these vehicles but this is not a guarantee that they can be licensed for driving. Read more about Importing older vehicles.

Importing utility-terrain vehicles (UTVs)

Utility-terrain vehicles (UTVs) are assessed on an individual basis as to whether or not they are regulated as on-road vehicles.

Read more about Utility-terrain vehicles – are they regulated?

Contact us for more information on importing vehicles

Transport Canada 
Motor Vehicle Safety

Telephone: 1-800-333-0371 (toll-free), 1-613-998-8616 (Ottawa region) 

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