Maybe you've found the car of your dreams in the United States, but you live in Canada and need to import your new vehicle. Perhaps you've moved to Canada, and need to bring your current vehicle with you. It's not as simple as driving the car across the border and getting new license plates, but in many cases it can be done without too much trouble, if you know what you are doing. Here is what you need to know in order to import, insure and register your car in Canada.
Be sure your car can be imported
Canada is very strict about the types of vehicles that it allows to be imported. Certain environmental and safety standards must be met, so you have to be sure that your vehicle is one that is approved to be imported. In order to be certain your car meets these standards and guidelines, use the Registrar of Imported Vehicles checklist to help determine its suitability.
Gather your documentation to register your car
Once your vehicle is in Canada, you'll need to register it in the province you'll be living. In order to do this, you must have certain documents ready to prove you own the car and can legally drive it in Canada.
- A valid Canadian driver's license shows that you've passed your driving test and can legally operate the vehicle.
- Your vehicle ownership papers show that you are the legal owner of the car.
- A vehicle import form is needed for any vehicles that have been imported from outside of Canada. You should also present the old registration certificate as well.
- Proof of insurance is required to register a car in Canada before you can legally drive it.
If you need help with finding the right insurance coverage for your vehicle, the Insurance Bureau of Canada can offer advice on choosing the best type of coverage for your needs.
Take your documents to your local license registry
Each province has its own license registry to process vehicle registrations. If you move from one province to another, you may need to register the vehicle in the new province that you move to. Take your documents to the registry office, and be prepared to pay registration fees. Many offices accept credit or debit card payments, and some accept cash payments as well. Click for more info or Contact your local office to confirm the amount of the fees and accepted payments before you go to help avoid any surprises at the registration desk.
If you are importing a car, you'll probably need a license plate for the vehicle. Upon registration of the car, you'll receive a license plate, license plate sticker and a vehicle permit from your local license registry. The sticker must be fixed to the license plate, which must be placed on your vehicle before you can legally drive it. The vehicle permit should be kept with you when you drive. It contains information about the vehicle and the owner, including:
- The VIN (vehicle identification number)
- The make and model of the vehicle
- Vehicle owner's name and address
- The plate number and part of the license plate sticker
If you are pulled over by the police, you must produce this permit to prove that you are the legal owner of the vehicle. You must renew the license plate stickers before they expire, generally after one or two years, depending on the province and type of registration.
The process of registering an automobile in Canada isn't too dissimilar to the process used in the United States, and although importing a car complicates the process slightly, it's not impossible to bring your vehicle with you when you relocate to Canada. Be sure to check with the province that you'll be moving to so you can plan ahead and have everything ready when it's time to register your car. That way, you'll have a much smoother transition when you begin driving legally in Canada.