A Comprehensive Overview of the
Process of Importing a Car into Canada

Bringing a vehicle into the Great White North? Whether you have set your sights on a vintage charmer, a sleek foreign model, or just a car that is new to you, understanding the intricacies of importing cars to Canada is crucial. This comprehensive guide promises a streamlined path to get your dream wheels spinning on Canadian turf. 

Understanding Canadian Import Regulations 

Carefully review Canadian Vehicle Import Regulations before you start the import process. Canada enforces detailed rules to ensure that all imported vehicles meet safety and environmental standards. Your car’s eligibility may vary based on its age, manufacturing origin, and specific features. 

Vehicle Eligibility and Compliance 

Is your vehicle fit for Canadian roads? Finding out is your first checkpoint. Vehicles manufactured for the North American market usually meet eligibility criteria with less fuss. However, if your heart is set on importing vehicles from overseas, you will need to match them to the standards laid out by Canadian authorities. Most non-North American models face restrictions, except for those with antique tags (over 15 years old) or certain unique vehicles. 

For direct assistance with your car’s eligibility, contacting customs brokers or specialized agencies can save you time and effort. 

Documentation and Paperwork 

Paperwork is pivotal. Missteps here can lead to import delays or even rejections. Critical documents include: 

  • Vehicle title or proof of ownership 
  • Bill of sale or purchase invoice 
  • Original vehicle registration 
  • Manufacturer’s statement of compliance (where needed) 
  • Recall clearance letter (for post-2011 models) 
  • Vehicle Import Form – Form 1 or RIV e-Form 
  • Customs clearance documentation 

Double-check every detail. Accuracy is the difference between a hiccup-free process and unforeseen hitches. 

Vehicle Inspection and Certification 

Your car will need to pass several inspections to confirm its compliance with Canada’s safety and environmental benchmarks. You might encounter: 

  • Safety standards inspection 
  • Emissions testing 
  • Transport Canada’s Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (MVSS) conformity 
  • Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) certification for non-North American manufactures 

The goal is straightforward: ensuring that your vehicle is safe and clean for Canadian roads. 

Import Taxes and Duties 

Importing is not just about adhering to regulations; it also involves import taxes, duties, GST, and PST. The charges depend on your car’s value and origin. Consulting with customs authorities or professional customs brokers is advisable for precise information on your fiscal responsibilities. 

Choosing a Transport Method 

How do you want your car delivered to your new home? Sea freight offers one solution, while overland trucking provides another. Each choice comes with its own cost-benefit considerations. The best fit depends on your budget, timeline, and preferences. For a quote and expert guidance, look to logistics companies skilled in transporting cars to Canada. 


While importing a car into Canada introduces you to a breadth of vehicle choices, it is a venture that demands diligent preparation. Stick to our guide, heed the rules, and call upon experts when in doubt, to make your importing experience seamless. 

Do you require further guidance? Our team at LCS (Logistics & Customs Services) is well-equipped to answer your queries and ensure a smooth transition for your vehicle onto Canadian roads.