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Can I permanently import a Canadian vehicle into the US?

Can I permanently import a Canadian vehicle into the US?

Old Jun 7th 2021, 11:28 pm
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Default Can I permanently import a Canadian vehicle into the US?

Want to permanently bring in a vehicle sold in Canada by the manufacturer, into the US.

I know that for vehicles built for other markets, you have to have an independent commerical importer import it and it needs to be modified to comply with EPA and DOT regulations. The only exception is importing a vehicle that is 25 years or older, in which case the US government does not require the vehicle be modified to EPA and DOT regs. Are Canadian vehicles built to the same spec as US market vehicles?
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Old Jun 8th 2021, 4:22 pm
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Default Re: Can I permanently import a Canadian vehicle into the US?

Originally Posted by Boomhauer View Post
Want to permanently bring in a vehicle sold in Canada by the manufacturer, into the US.

I know that for vehicles built for other markets, you have to have an independent commerical importer import it and it needs to be modified to comply with EPA and DOT regulations. The only exception is importing a vehicle that is 25 years or older, in which case the US government does not require the vehicle be modified to EPA and DOT regs. Are Canadian vehicles built to the same spec as US market vehicles?
Yes they are. When I lived in Montana briefly, a number of the guys I worked with would drive a few hours north and purchase their trucks in Calgary, and then would bring them back over to Montana. All they had to do was change the instrument/speedometer cluster so it didn't show KM's as the primary display.
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Old Jun 8th 2021, 4:35 pm
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Default Re: Can I permanently import a Canadian vehicle into the US?

It is possible, you will need conformation from the manufacturer of the vehicle that it complies with the EPA / DOT regs.
That being said even with the correct documentation be prepared for the process being complicated with your local DMV as they may not have done this.
As I always say just be prepared to come back another day.
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Old Jun 8th 2021, 5:41 pm
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Default Re: Can I permanently import a Canadian vehicle into the US?

Canadian and US models are pretty much the same typically. Our car for example is Canadian model Mazda 2, but if you look at all the regulatory stickers, it has all the US EPA/DOT/California emissions ones as well.

One thing you may want to look into though is warranty if a new car, the warranty may not transfer countries.

Also look to see if Canada has any export requirements you need to follow.
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Old Jun 9th 2021, 3:34 am
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Default Re: Can I permanently import a Canadian vehicle into the US?

I was looking at a Mercedes cargo van for sale in Canada but have ditched the idea for now.

While reading your posts, a thought occured to me : I want to import a special vehicle from Germany that is built on either a Mercedes Sprinter platform or a Fiat/Dodge Ducato chassis. The problem is that the 1st year of production for the Sprinter or Ducato body style is much younger than 25 years so I can not directly import it into the US. However I can import it into Canada because a vehicle need only be 15 years or older to import into Canada, from Germany. So can I import a 15 year old German vehicle into Canada then bring it over into the US?

Last edited by Boomhauer; Jun 9th 2021 at 3:43 am.
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Old Jun 9th 2021, 2:14 pm
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Default Re: Can I permanently import a Canadian vehicle into the US?

No, you will still need the document from the manufacturer to state it is in compliance with the EPA / DOT regs.
Under 25 years you would need a Registered Importer to carry out the compliance modifications.
The Canadian route has been explored numerous times by Land Rover Defender and Nissan Skyline importers to name a couple.
There are ways to get a title but there would be no documents to show the entry by US Customs.

Last edited by ottotheboar; Jun 9th 2021 at 2:18 pm.
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Old Jun 9th 2021, 2:42 pm
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Default Re: Can I permanently import a Canadian vehicle into the US?

Originally Posted by ottotheboar View Post
No, you will still need the document from the manufacturer to state it is in compliance with the EPA / DOT regs.
Under 25 years you would need a Registered Importer to carry out the compliance modifications.
The Canadian route has been explored numerous times by Land Rover Defender and Nissan Skyline importers to name a couple.
There are ways to get a title but there would be no documents to show the entry by US Customs.
Dam it !!
Is there an American law that allows for a one time excemption for special vehicles to be brought into the US? This is not a traditional passenger vehicle, it is a specialized equipment transporter that only uses the front half of a Mercedes Sprinter or Fiat / Dodge Ducato.
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Old Jun 9th 2021, 3:57 pm
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Default Re: Can I permanently import a Canadian vehicle into the US?

The grey market loophole was closed a long time ago due to the whole family being used to import several cars.
I believe the rule was one car per social security number.
Bear in mind that if you try to import a vehicle which is rejected by customs it will be seized and is no longer yours.
You can petition to have the vehicle released and shipped out of the USA in a container sealed by an agent.
With the fines and storage fees the last cost I was given was around $12,000.
If you decline to pay that it will be auctioned for export out of the USA, the Canadians bought some very cheap Land Rovers which were sold off by Customs as the owner had abandoned them.
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Old Jun 9th 2021, 4:16 pm
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Default Re: Can I permanently import a Canadian vehicle into the US?

Originally Posted by ottotheboar View Post
The grey market loophole was closed a long time ago due to the whole family being used to import several cars.
I believe the rule was one car per social security number.
Bear in mind that if you try to import a vehicle which is rejected by customs it will be seized and is no longer yours.
You can petition to have the vehicle released and shipped out of the USA in a container sealed by an agent.
With the fines and storage fees the last cost I was given was around $12,000.
If you decline to pay that it will be auctioned for export out of the USA, the Canadians bought some very cheap Land Rovers which were sold off by Customs as the owner had abandoned them.
To clarify : the grey market rule was a one-time rule that allowed for a person to bring one non-conforming vehicle into the US without it needing modification for EPA/DOT compliance ? And this rule has been voided ?

So any vehicle , even if it is a special commerical vehicle, needs to comply with DOT / EPA specs if it is under 25 years? There is no exceptions or exemptions allowed?
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Old Jun 9th 2021, 5:52 pm
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Default Re: Can I permanently import a Canadian vehicle into the US?

The grey market rule was voided at least 20 years ago.
For a special vehicle less than 25 years old I would consult an attorney who specializes in Customs Law.
All the broker does is submit the entry based on the information you provide.
You sign the HS7 form regarding the age of the vehicle.
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Old Jun 9th 2021, 8:23 pm
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Default Re: Can I permanently import a Canadian vehicle into the US?

Otto, thank you for the info.

Is there a website that is a good resource to read up on this stuff ? The government websites are sometimes vague and a but confusing at times. When I telephoned them, they were of little help.
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Old Jun 10th 2021, 8:28 pm
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Default Re: Can I permanently import a Canadian vehicle into the US?

Originally Posted by Boomhauer View Post
Otto, thank you for the info.

Is there a website that is a good resource to read up on this stuff ? The government websites are sometimes vague and a but confusing at times. When I telephoned them, they were of little help.
Try this link

https://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-impo.../importing-car
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Old Jun 11th 2021, 12:00 pm
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Default Re: Can I permanently import a Canadian vehicle into the US?

It is worth bearing in mind that the state has the final say on registration. For example it is legal to import a 1995 Land Rover Defender with a 300tdi diesel engine however it can not be registered in California without the CARB certificate costing $12 to $15,000 taking around 6 months.
There were work arounds but I am told registrations are not being renewed without the CARB certificate.
As far as websites apart from the standard CBP website some do give misleading information.
I would tread very carefully as you may end up with a van stuck on the docks accruing storage charges on a daily basis. Once a decision has been by a CBP officer to reject a vehicle is is usually an expensive and lengthy process to overturn it.
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