Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 12:41:23 -0700
Reply-To: Tobin Copley <tobin.copley@UBC.CA>
Sender: Vanagon Mailing List <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Tobin Copley <tobin.copley@UBC.CA>
Subject: Re: importing from US to Canada (was consumer reports...)
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" ; format="flowed"
At 11:52 AM -0700 4/5/00, lp wrote:
>Does anyone know how to get more info on importing vehicles into Canada,
>just in case we want to take Ken up on one of his mouth-watering deals? I
>guess I'm looking for web stuff, but even knowing which US/Cdn govt offices
>deal with this stuff would be helpful. Anything in the archives?
>(Thanks for the excellent tips so far Marshall/Debbi)
OK, OK, OK, I've been meaning to set up a web page describing the
process, but have not been able to because of [excuse].
The key factor is the 15 year rule. If a vehicle is 15 years or
older, it's very simple, just a process of completing some forms at
the border when you enter, paying GST and duty (6%) on the bill of
sale price (must have bill of sale), and going on your way. Oh, if it
has AC, there will be a $100 levy. In BC, you'll need to get a
safety inspection before it can be registered in BC, and before you
can get insurance. For insurance coverage while importing, (speaking
again for BC rules only) you'll need to get an "Insurance Binder"
document which will provide coverage from the time you pick up the
vehicle (in my case, in California), and will cover you for *direct*
travel back home. That is, once you get home, you can't drive it
anywhere without taking out a separate temporary insurance policy
(until it is all registered and insured). The binder is cheap.
Vehicle inspections run about $100, and are pretty comprehensive
generally taking two hours or so of constant checking. Only a
mechanic specifically certified by the province can do these
inspections. PST is paid at the insurance agent's office when the
vehicle is registered.
If the vehicle you're importing is less than 15 years old, it's a lot
more hassle. You've got to pay all the taxes and duties, plus the AC
levy (if applicable), plus a mandatory comprehensive safety
inspection *at the border* that cost's a little over $300. Only
certain crossings are equipped to do this. There may be other duties
applied to newer vehicles that are not applied to older ones, that I
don't know. Best to check everything out thoroughly with Revenue
Canada, Customs and Excise, beforehand.
With the exchange rate (great if you're American, terrible if you're
Canadian), taxes, duties, and travel costs (both money and time) you
need to have a pretty clear rationale for importing from the US,
since you can usually find something at a better price on this side
of the line. However, if you are picky, want rust-free or are
looking for a rare vehicle, then importing from the US can be
I don't know what the process is for Americans to import vehicles
into the US from Canada, but boy oh boy, with the American dollar the
way it is right now Americans should be able to pick up Canadian
buses for dirt cheap.
Summary of process for importing 15 year + buses (to BC anyway):
- find bus, agree on price
- book plane ticket, etc.
- get insurance binder coverage to cover your travel period
- also get health coverage for US (make sure covers gunshot wounds)
- get on plane, bickering with agents about weight allowance for tools
- buy bus, sign over title to you
- get bill of sale
- drive to Canadian border (directly)
- do paperwork, pay taxes and duties
- drive straight to vehicle inspector
- pass inspection, get papers for this
- drive to insurance agent
- show title, customs import papers, inspection papers
- register bus in your province, insure bus
- go home, shower, turn around, go camping!
Hope this helps.
Tobin Copley Bowen Island, BC, Canada email@example.com
'82 westy 1.6L NA diesel ("Stinky")
'97 son Russell =============
'99 daughter Margaret /_| |__| |__|:| clatter
1995: 'Round US, Mexico, Canada 15,000 mi O|. .| clatter!
1996: Vancouver to Inuvik, NWT 7,400 km ~-()-==----()-~
Previous buses: '76 westy deluxe (Daisy), '76 westy standard (Mango)