Canada Border Services Agency, June 4th, 2021

It has come to our attention that Canadian residents crossing into Canada have expressed confusion over the process for temporarily importing a vehicle that is registered and licensed in the United States (US) (i.e. US-plated vehicles). We would like to take this opportunity to provide further clarity regarding the current temporary importation of vehicle processes that are available to your members and how they will be applied at the border.

There are currently no restrictions that prevent Canadian residents from returning to Canada in a US-plated vehicle. However, depending on the temporary importation process used, the duty and tax implications, the timeframe on how long the vehicle can remain in Canada, and what the vehicle can be used for in Canada will differ.

There are two ways a resident of Canada can temporarily import a vehicle that is licensed and registered in the United States, which are:

  1. Chapter 87 of the Customs Tariff and in accordance with section 11.1 (h) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations(MVSR); or,
  2. Temporary importation under Tariff item No. 9802.

For vehicles that are imported temporarily using section 11.1 (h) of the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations, the client will be required to pay applicable duties and taxes at the time of import, which are non-refundable at the time of export. In addition, the client is required to have residence in Canada, a Canadian driver’s license, a pre-approved Transport Canada Temporary Vehicle Import System (TVIS) form, a completed Vehicle Import Form – Form 1 or a RIV e-Form 1, and supporting documentation to demonstrate valid ownership of the vehicle (e.g. licensing document or bill of sale). Vehicles being imported via Transport Canada’s MVSR 11.1(h) allowances must be Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) certified and registered/licensed in the U.S.  The vehicle can be used in Canada and must be exported within the allowable timeframe as indicated by Transport Canada on the TVIS form. For additional information concerning Transport Canada’s requirements, you can refer to memorandum D19-12-1, Importation of Vehicles.

In order for a resident of Canada to temporarily import a vehicle that is licensed and registered in the United States under Tariff Item No. 9802.00.00, they must meet any and all conditions of the Temporary Importation of Conveyances by Residents of Canada Regulations, particularly subsections 3(a), (c), (e) and (g). Temporary vehicle importations under this tariff are exempt from paying duties and taxes and must be exported within the allowable timeframe (i.e. within 30 days). While in Canada, the vehicle is to be used solely for the transportation of a resident and accompanying persons from the point of arrival in Canada directly to a specified destination in Canada and from the specified destination to a destination outside Canada.

After the maximum 30 day timeframe has expired, the Canadian resident must either export the vehicle from Canada (proof of exportation is required) or permanently import the vehicle into Canada (if admissible as per D19-12-1, Importation of Vehicles). Vehicles that are permanently imported into Canada require the payment of duties and taxes, registration in the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) program and will need to pass a Federal car inspection.

Only in exceptional circumstances, as specified in the Temporary Importation of Conveyances by Residents of Canada RegulationsTemporary Importation of Conveyances by Residents of Canada Regulations, can the 30 day time limit be extended. It should also be noted that if a CBSA officer is not satisfied that the vehicle will be exported within the prescribed timelines, they have the authority under the Customs Act to refuse the temporary importation.

Travellers wishing to temporarily import their vehicle into Canada after February 12, 2021, may no longer claim travel restrictions due to COVID-19 as an emergency or unforeseen circumstance to avoid paying duties and taxes on their vehicle.

We would like to remind returning Canadians that they must follow testing and quarantine requirements to keep everyone safe. These measures are necessary for mitigating potential public health risks and reducing the incidence of foreign travel-related COVID-19 cases.

More information can be found here:

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Yours sincerely,
Canada Border Services Agency

Within Canada and the United States