Importing Canadian Vehicles to the U.S.



  • medlowamedlowa Member Posts: 7
    I am trying to do the same as you did.
    You have now idea hope this has eased my anxiety.
    Can you tell me wher to go exactly at Sky Harbour ?
    Really appreciate what you have done here.
  • gmiddgmidd Member Posts: 4
    Well I did finally did get through customs. I did a lot of research on websites. There is a notation on the EPA website that all 1997 Chryslers are approved for import. Since the 1997 Roadtreck I have is a Dodge that qualified me. It was a major discussion at the border but I had a previous discussion with a woman in the border import office in Buffalo who agreed with me that I don't need the letter because of that. I had the border officer call her and they let me through, reluctantly.
  • medlowamedlowa Member Posts: 7
    Got it done......thanks again for your very helpful post
  • joeyfmxjoeyfmx Member Posts: 7
    Did customs make a copy of the compliance letter or just look at it ,or take it? Is hs-7 the only form you needed to fill out? What exactly did they do at customs? thanks!
  • joeyfmxjoeyfmx Member Posts: 7
    Did they already know your vin or did you have to fill that out on the hs-7 form? What did you tell them before you came so they were ready for you, and do you by chance have the phone # for customs in the airport?
  • joeyfmxjoeyfmx Member Posts: 7
    Did customs make a copy of the compliance letter or just look at it ,or take it? Is hs-7 the only form you needed to fill out? What exactly did they do at customs? thanks!

    Did they already know your vin or did you have to fill that out on the hs-7 form? What did you tell them before you came so they were ready for you, and do you by chance have the phone # for customs in the airport?
  • importkiaimportkia Member Posts: 2
    I am a US citizen living in Canada. I bought a 2010 Kia Soul from a dealer new about one year ago while living in Canada. I am now moving, next week or so, back to the US and am struggling to make sure I can drive the car into Canada and "import" it to stay with me in my new residence in the US.
    Kia provided a letter stating the car complies with all US EPA standards, but will not provide a letter of conformance or compliance in regards to US safety standards. Nobody can seem to tell me what is non-conforming or what modifications would be required (if any) to make it conform.
  • gmiddgmidd Member Posts: 4
    I don't know what to say about this. Mine had a sticker on the door stating compliance with US saftey standards. But if it helps all that the border officers cared about was EPA. They never even looked at saftey.
    Good Luck!
  • medlowamedlowa Member Posts: 7
    I imported a Chevy Camaro. GM supplied a letter compliance for safety but not the epa.
    So we had it tested in AZ and it passed. we took this certificate along with the gm letter of compliance to the customs in Phoenix and filed out the paper work there.
    It only took around 5 minutes and we were done, they did not keep any docs.
  • berlawberlaw Member Posts: 1
    I purchased my ssr truck in US & now want to sell it . If I sell it back into the US what do I have to go through at the boarder US customs ???? I do have the original Title from the original owner could I just drive threw and hand over the truck and original Title in US ???
  • pamaramapamarama Member Posts: 1
    Felt I needed to post about my experience here, as I just went through this process today, with a 1999 Honda Civic, importing from Canada to the USA. I'm a Canadian citizen but permanent resident of the US for the past 8 years. I had a lot of anxiety about it, but it turned out to be a simple process As other posters mentioned, you do not need the HS-7. What you need is a letter on original letterhead from the manufacturer (in my case, American Honda, if importing a Honda manufactured in Canada into the USA). Do this in advance, as it took a few weeks to get this letter from them. I crossed the Windsor-Detroit border today with a temporary 10-day plate on the car I obtained in Ontario when the title was transferred to me (at a cost of $15). The customs officer asked me for the vehicle registration/title before even asking for my ID (a greencard, in my case), and when I planned to import the car. I said, "". I didn't realize there was an option?? Anyway, he sent me inside to fill out a form "CBP 7501" - "Entry Summary". They asked for the vehicle registration, my ID again, and gave me an explanatory form to help me fill out the form correctly. They inspected the car, had a big discussion about one ambigous line in the letter from US Honda stating the car was "non-compliant" re: instrument panel differences. (i.e. km/hr vs mph on the odometer), went out to inspect the car again, and then issued me 2 copies of the stamped, approved 7501, one for me and one for Secretary of State so I can register the car here in Mich. They were extremely courteous and helpful. As long as you have a letter from the manufacturer stating the vehicle complies with US standards, you will be ok. Make sure you have a temp plate on the car and insurance. Do your homework! Many late-model cars are importable into the USA. Expect to spend a half hour or so at customs going through the process, but they will help you through it.

    Oh, and another good thing...I was charged ZERO duty on it at the border. I asked the Customs Officer what I should write under the "value" section on the form, as the car was used and a gift to me from my dad. He guesstimated $2000, but wrote $0 in the value for duty section, so I was charged no duty. He said if I had been importing a brand new Ferrari, I'd be assessed duty, but not for an older car like the Honda.

    When I register the car at the Secretary of State office on Tues., they will likely charge state tax on the assessed value of $2000. I'm ok with that! :-)

    Glad to see this forum here. The process of importing cars can be a bit mystifying. Just do your homework! The info is available online or with a phonecall or two. Just make sure you have your ducks in a row when you show up at Customs. They will help you with the paperwork.

    Cheers! E-mail me if I can help in any way. I can relate to the confusion on this...took me months to sort it all out, but in the end, it was a process, but a smooth one.
  • us_cross_hondaus_cross_honda Member Posts: 1
    It is going to happen to me as well.
    I am crossing US Border at Detriot -Windsor from Canada with my Canadian Honda Civic.
    I have a recall clearance letter from Canadian Honda Manufacture, and waiting for a compilance letter from US Honda Manufacture.

    I don't have time to wait the compilance letter from US Honda Manufacture.
    I am wondering if I cross the border without this letter or not.

    Do you have any experience?


  • ataurataur Member Posts: 1
    I am Canadian citizen and working us on TN Visa. I would like to import my car Hyundai Sentafe to US. I got Compliance letter from Hyundai Canada with CMVSS standard. What else I need?
  • singhnsinghn Member Posts: 1
    I have been driving my GMC Envoy that I bought in canada three years ago. Its canadian plates have expired. The car is already in US. I want to register it in WA, USA. How can I get letter of compliance to US standards?
  • abrayabray Member Posts: 1
    What can anyone tell me about importing this car into the US? EPA, DOT, etc compliance etc. Thanks
  • robr2robr2 Member Posts: 8,805
    It's more than 25 years old so it shouldn't be a problem.

    Start here: vehicles-%2F-cars-for-personal-use
  • nitlsunitlsu Member Posts: 7
    I have a 2005 Honda Civic that I imported from Canada to US a few years back. I did the necessary paperwork and it's registered in TX right now. Presently I am looking at selling the thing...can I do so? The speedometer and more importantly the odometer are in KMs (at least the speedometer has both units listed...not the odo though). Do I need a new odometer? Can someone who has done this whole selling process before give me some suggestions?
  • tracetobatracetoba Member Posts: 1
    I recently became a permenent resident in the US living in Texas. I am working on importing my 2007 Honda Civic. The car is already in the US. When I originally drove into the US it was as a visitor so nobody inspected my car or anything for import. Now I want to be able to register and insure the car in Texas. I already have the compliance letter. I have been told I now have to take my car to a place called Wallace Labs, in Houston for testing and such, and pay $3400 to Wallace Labs before I can register the car in TX. Does anybody know if this is correct?
  • rathahonnirathahonni Member Posts: 1
    After trying to obtain a letter of compliance from General Motors of Canada,i was informed that they no longer issue these letters. So be advised,should u desire to register a Canadian General Motors car in the U.S.,I was forced to consult a broker that knows all the ins and outs of this process,the cost for me was 350. dollars. But lucky for me ,i am located near the Canadian Border as is the broker which made the process much easier. Money well spent for me.
  • ram39ram39 Member Posts: 1
    i bought a car from canada and i have the title and bill of sale and also i worked an getting the manufacturing letter and i have it now. My question is will the sos in us Mi give me a temporary liscense plate to go get the car from canada ?
  • jamjetjamjet Member Posts: 1
    Do I need a letter of compliance to bring a U.S. made vehicle purchased in Canada to bring back into the U.S?
    The car, a 1970 Dodge Challenger was originally purchased in the U.S and brought into now it is being purchased in Canada and being returned to the U.S.

    How do I do the registration? Can the registration be transferred without going to DMV in Canada?
    If so and I planning on driving it across the border into Detroit to be shipped to Arizona...what do I do about registration and license?

    What is the process I have to go through to cross the border?
    Thank you for the help
  • arlo2arlo2 Member Posts: 1
    edited April 2012
    Here's a scenario to ponder: Friends drive to US from Canada 15 years ago in an 85 VW double cab truck on a brief visit. When down here, the engine blows up. As the vehicle can't be driven and had other issues, he sells it to a Volkswagen buff not far away and mailed the title and a bill of sale a couple weeks later. The truck was parked in a barn and its still there to this day, 15 years later. Never fixed up. It's in need of some rust repair, and the engine needs replacement before it can be driven. Here's the question: how does one take this through US customs after 15 years?? Of course, the engine has to be replaced first, and the gas tank cleaned, but afterward can't be driven as it has no license plates or US title. Can anything be done to put this cool old truck back on the road again? How can this old truck legally be titled and put into use again here in the USA?
  • schnizzleschnizzle Member Posts: 2

    I am also trying to import my Hyundai Tucson in to the U.S., did you ever manage to bring it in to the U.S. successfully? I have the Hyundai Canada letter with CMVSS standards, did you have to obtain anything else?

  • schnizzleschnizzle Member Posts: 2
    Hello, I'm trying to import my Canadian Manufactured 2009 Hyundai Tuscon into the U.S. I have the letter from Hyundai Canada CMVSS indicating that it meets all CANADIAN requirements and has not had any recalls. Is this sufficient for the people at the border crossing or will I need other documents? You mentioned you obtained a document from American Honda, would I need to do the same with my Hyundai (obtain a letter from Hyundai in the U.S.) ?

    thanks for your help.
  • jonmarjonmar Member Posts: 1
    Do you still have the brokers name that you used? I have the same problem as you did.

  • drinkthisdrinkthis Member Posts: 3
    edited May 2012
    I am in the process of doing the same thing. Vehicle manufactured and originally titled/registered in US for many years. Was imported to Canada and then offered for sale. I (US citizen) bought it on ebay and now need to import back to US at the Ambassador Bridge near Detroit. I called US customs there twice and received two answers:
    Answer #1: Obtain a letter addressed to me from the vehicle mfr (Toyota) stating compliance with EPA emission regulations. This person was a bit nasty and even said something that was untrue: That the vehicle could receive an EPA emission test at a Toyota dealership in Ontario.
    Answer #2: If the vehicle has two stickers, one from DOT (on door pillar) and one from EPA (on underside of hood), then no problem to re-import. This person was fairly friendly but somewhat authoritative in their tone and asked me intrusive questions. He also said he was too busy when I asked for more info.

    I called another POE in Maine and they confirmed that answer #2 was correct. Except in the case where the EPA sticker was not present, then I would need the letter. This person was very friendly and down to earth and seemed sincerely helpful. He also said that this is the current regulation but to check with the specific POE to see if they any other (unnecessary) requirements.

    I've decided to at least try to get #1 satisfied, because you never know who will be waiting at that POE and what kind of info or attitude they have.
  • fsantafefsantafe Member Posts: 1
    I am the same issue in California for my SantaFe, I appreciate if you give me some insights, i brought the car from Canada and I can't get the letter of compliance from Hyundai USA nor from Canadian one! did you get the car registered already and how?
  • babacolebabacole Member Posts: 1
    Any luck with the process? I have the same issue and looking for some guidance in getting my SantaFe into the United States and can't get the letter of compliance from Hyundai USA or Canada. Please help.
  • ls11jls11j Member Posts: 1
    Hi drinkthis,

    Any luck with getting the Compliance Letter from Toyota Canada?
    They just simply refused to provide me that letter and telling me since a few month ago they stopped providing that letter due to their policy changes.
    Please let us know how your process went?

  • jolie4jolie4 Member Posts: 3
    Regarding the bringing of a original US car that had been imported to Canada back to the US, we just had to do this for a move to FL. I'm not sure that the rules are the same for your state, but because the car was built in the US for the US market, it already complies to US standards - you just have to have the appropriate party in your state verify it. For FL I just had to take the car down to the local FL DOT office that handles the "verification" and get a form filled out. They looked for/at the sticker on the driver door pillar and verified that "yes, it was a US vehicle". The fact that a CDN sticker was also there (from when we moved/imported the car to Canada 10 yrs ago) did not matter. Then I took that verification letter to the Dept of Motor Vehicles with the registration from Canada and registered the car in FL.

    The first answer that you received regarding Customs would be for importing a Canadian vehicle to the US (we have to do THAT, too). You shouldn't have to "import" your vehicle, however, because it is a US vehicle.

    I don't know anything about the EPA stuff, but that seems like it would be for the Canadian built car that you are importing. The car met EPA standards when it was manufactured in the US, so unless something has been done to change it's exhaust, etc., it would still meet the EPA standards for that make, model, year. You shouldn't have to bring it up to current standards...

    just my 2 cents...

    Another aside: when we went to cancel the auto insurance in Canada (BC in this case) we were penalized because I only had a COPY of the original registration. I was supposed to keep the original and FL was supposed to get a copy. I was lucky I asked for a copy at all - the guy in FL was just going to take the original and let me go on my merry way.

    Hope some of this is helpful.
  • jolie4jolie4 Member Posts: 3
    Short follow-up (I promise!). Found the following on the US customs website:

    "Re-Importing A Previously Exported Vehicle
    A vehicle taken from the United States for non-commercial, private use may be returned duty free by proving to U.S. Customs that it was previously owned and registered in the United States. This proof may be a state-issued registration card for the automobile or a bill of sale for the car from a U.S. dealer. Repairs or accessories acquired abroad for your vehicle must be declared on your return and may be subject to duty."

    Here's the link:
  • jolie4jolie4 Member Posts: 3
    The letter of compliance has to come from the US division of the manufacturer, NOT the Canadian one. The US division has to verify that the Canadian car meets the US Dept of Trans & EPA requirements.
  • flapjack007flapjack007 Member Posts: 4
    Toyota Canada absolutely refused to provide me with a compliance letter. I had to go through a registered importer (RI) in order to properly import my car in to the usa. Hyundai Canada refused as well.
  • flapjack007flapjack007 Member Posts: 4
    You will have to go through a registered importer to import your Canadian vehicle if the manufacturer wont state compliance with DOT and EPA. The importer will ensure the vehicle complies with the requirements that the Canadian manufacturer will unfortunately not do in a letter.
  • andy168andy168 Member Posts: 1
    Hi All

    I bought my car in US when I was living there, After 2 years I moved to Canada and now moving agian back to US. What I understood from discussion that according to state( New Hampshire for me) , I need to go to DOT & DMV for registering car in US. Do I have to do any formalities at the US border? If yes, do all port of entries do that ( I will be going from Toronto to Boston side via Buffalo).Any help is appreciated!
    Also my Canadian registration has my old address(does not match to my recent address in Canada) , do I need to get new registration before I import?

    Thanks in advance!
  • flapjack007flapjack007 Member Posts: 4
    CBP will want to see a previous in state registration in order to not charge you duty on the vehicle.

    CBP will get you to fill out two forms basically attesting that your vehicle complies with EPA and DOT standards. They will confirm that your vehicle complies by looking at EPA sticker (likely under your hood) and the DOT plate in your drivers door.

    Good luck
  • wassermewasserme Member Posts: 3
    I paid the Qebec sales tax on a used car purchased a few months ago in Montreal that I imported to the US; I was told it would be refunded to me. Then I finally got a letter (3 months after filing the paper-work) that refused it. Does anyone know what the law is about here?

  • jazzydrummerjazzydrummer Member Posts: 1
    Hi! I'm buying a used 2003 GMC suv from a NY dealer. The problem is that there is no title, (because it's a Canadian vehicle) that was apparently bought in an auction. I found out that I need to get it cleared through US Customs, along with a bill of sale, insurance and inspection. I was worried that it may not pass an inspection (being a Canadian vehicle) and I'd be stuck not being able to register it ...until I read your post! Can you tell me the name of your broker? Thanks!
  • powerbosspowerboss Member Posts: 1

    I just want to follow-up on your posting.

    Your posting was very informative.

    I bought a Range Rover in Texas, designed for the U.S. market and I exported it to Canada.

    I want to bring the car back with me to Florida and sell it in the U.S. and buy something else.

    When I exported the vehicle to Canada, I had to supply U.S. Customs with the Title Paperwork from Texas and they made sure that there were no liens on the vehicle.

    Without the Stamp from U.S. Customs, I could not bring the vehicle into Canada.

    Do I need to get anything from Canada Customs aka Canada Border Services in order to sell my vehicle in the U.S?

    This vehicle although it's made in the UK meets all the U.S. Standards. :)
  • macpuffmacpuff Member Posts: 1
    edited January 2013
    So my situation is this: I have a friend who lives in Minnesota, who is in the market for a new (used) car. I have the option of purchasing a really good car for a great price here, and the plan was for me to drive the car down and transfer ownership to her, and then fly back after visiting.

    I've been looking for information and I'm getting conflicting reports about what needs to be done.

    I know the car needs to comply with EPA standards and the there is some paperwork to be done at the border, but there are some things I'm not sure of.

    1. Do I need the letter from the OEM's USA Division if the car has the sticker saying it complies with EPA guidelines?

    2. Do I need to go through a registered import broker, even with the sticker or letter from the OEM? The fees for brokers are around $500 from what I gather, add that into the cost of my plane ticket back and it makes the original savings considerably less.

    3. Is there anything else I need to know before attempting this?

    Would appreciate any insight into this issue.
  • flapjack007flapjack007 Member Posts: 4
    I used Stonewell to import 2 vehicles from Canada to the USA they were great to work with.
  • medlowamedlowa Member Posts: 7
    I did it myself.
    Got the letter from the manufacturer (Chevrolet) cost approx $25.00
    Got a EPA test done, cost approx $9.00
    went to phoenix sky harbor Airport Port Authority, filled in some papers approx 5 minutes.
    Went to the registry, registered all done in a day.

    good luck
  • wassermewasserme Member Posts: 3
    Thanks! We ended up doing it but found the canadian VW was no help at all--they totally refused to give us a letter; but US VW had no problem with it at all. Any success getting out of Canadian sales taxes? We were told we would get it back and then when we applied they said "that's only for Canadian residents"
  • theproman23theproman23 Member Posts: 3
    I purchased my infiniti in Michigan and registered in NY where I reside in 2010. Shortly after that I moved to Vancouver BC for a 2 year assignment and while there I had to register my car with the CIBC. They made me surrender my title and gave me the impression that they would return it upon my departure but I found out that it wasn't true when I repatriated back to the US in 2012. I was told that the BC registration should serve as my proof of ownership and I also have an official letter from the CIBC stating that the registration is to serve as my title.

    I filed for a title when I returned to the US and shortly after received a letter from the NYS DMV stating that they need other paperwork besides the ones I gave them (Copy of my original title, BC registration/title, letter from CIBC). They also asked for various customs forms.

    I called the company that drove the tralier back with all my goods and my car and they're claiming that they never received any customs paper work and customs is claiming that they gave all the paper work to the driver.

    Now I've been driving around in a car for almost a year with no title and someone suggested that I can drive over the border, I live in Buffalo, and clear my car through customs and turn that in to the DMV. I was wondering if some can shed light on what's involved here as from all I am reading customs is looking for an original title or proof of ownership from the foreign DMV. My BC registration is with NYS DMV so should I try and get it back so that I can reclear my car?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated as this whole thing has turned in to a big mess.
  • ralphkamralphkam Member Posts: 1
    Hi Medlowa,

    I would GREATLY APPRECIATE some clarification on your easy registration.

    1) You registered the car in the States without needing to import it? - or was what you did the importation process?
    2) You didn't need to go all the way back to the "other side" of a POE?
    3) Was Visa an issue ? -or you're American ?

    My Situation:
    My car is made in Alabama to both US and Canadian standards (2011 Hynundai Sonatta), I'm in California, and I've been here for more than a year already with my ONtario plates on a TN visa. My sticker is expiring soon, and I'm STUCK - wondering if I'll have to take it back to Ontario.


  • mirandajeannemirandajeanne Member Posts: 1
    How do I register a car in the US that was imported from Canada but was never cleared? I bought a 2002 Toyota Celica from a woman that brought it here from Canada problem is I don't have any of the EPA forms or anything and the title and everything is in here name. She isn't answering my call anymore and will not return any of my calls! I have the signed title and everything but I read somewhere that my car could be seized because of this?? Is there anything I can do to register it and how much will it cost? I only bought is for 2500 if that helps. I live in NY but she is in CT some where. Please any help would be appreciated!
  • wassermewasserme Member Posts: 3
    I think you're a bit screwed here; no state will allow you to register it but she illegally imported it and sold it. You may need to take her to small claims or contact border patrol and have them go after her. They take this stuff very very seriously (and small claims is really annoying) so I would get in touch with US border patrol.
  • desert_eagledesert_eagle Member Posts: 1
    Hi I need to do the very same thing as Medlowa. Need to import a chevy camaro from Canada to the US and need the safety compliance letter. Anyone have a number to call or a web address to go to for this? I have had someone look into it for me and was told the cost would be $300 instead of the $25 like medlowa said it would be. Any help guys?
  • medlowamedlowa Member Posts: 7
    Call General Motors in Canada, you should be able get that from the internet.
    An you should the letter of compliance for around $25
    Hope it works out
  • rbeutelrbeutel Member Posts: 2

    Toyota offers the Highlander Hybrid only in the luxury Limited model in the US. In Canada the LE and the XLE are offered, which I need for the 2nd bench seat and cloth upholstery. I also do not need all the digital "infotainment" gadgetry and crash avoidance devices. Toyota USA refuses to certify the Canadian model as compliant with US EPA and safety standards because "we do not authorized, recommend, or support the exportation of Toyota vehicles outside the region for which they are manufactured".

    Has anyone a workaround? Do the emisssions and safety labels on new Canadian vehicles typically state"Complies with Canadian and United States standards" or words to that effect?

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