View Full Version : Importing vehicles from the U.S.! Usefull info !

02-06-2009, 09:53 PM
Twice in the past 2 years I have been bent over by U.S. Customs when bringing in a car and a dirt bike .

here is a short accurate description on how it works if you buy something in the U.S. and bring it back to Canada.

First you must get a copy of the title of the vehicle you are buying to the U.S Customs office at the Queenston/ Lewiston bridge at Niagara falls at least 3 business days before you show up at the border with your new toy.
The office is only open Monday -Friday 9 AM - 4 PM and the weekend does not count as days for processing. You may NOT fax it to them ( used to be able to , but they'd change it and then refuse your vehicle )

Then you come to the border with the vehicle and the original title and the Us Customs guy looks up the title that they were supposed to enter 3 days earlier and if you're really lucky it's there and they will stamp your title and away you go to the Canadian side.

ORRRRRR... the title copy didn't quite make it into their system or it mysteriously disappeared and they tell you to find a place for the car to live for the next 3 days while they do it again ( you have no recourse ) -NONE !

This happened for the second time in 2 years to me last month with a dirt bike I bought my daughter.

Only this time after having to coming back 3 days later to pick it up from a body shop down the road ( Thanks Jose's Collision! ) the canadian customs guy said that they don't send back buyers with unstamped titles to the U.S. anymore. I was determined to test this happy news and did so this week when I bought a quad and didn't bother with the formality of checking in with the crack team of defenders so they could lose my title then make me pay to have it stored . Well, it seems that Canada customs is indeed done with the U.S. program, at least for off road vehicles, but I think we're still on the hook for street vehicles.

For our american members coming up here to buy a Canadian vehicle , the worst you'll get is a happy wave from Can Customs as you cross the bridge, and they will look after you 24/7 , without the automatic cavity search.

So I hope this clears up how easy it is to import into Canada from the U.S.

I think it's a subtle way of US Customs telling us " GET A BROKER, WE CAN"T BE BOTHERED WITH YOU " .

02-07-2009, 10:21 AM

02-07-2009, 05:15 PM
i hate when people blow this whole process out of proportion.

After you fax the title, call and say "Hey, did you guys get the title i faxed?"

They said, "yeah, we did"

When i went to US customs to show them the car (While exporting, not importing), they didn't even LOOK at the car. They had me move it closer to their WINDOW so they could look at it from ~250 meters away.

Since my car was +15 years old, the customs guys gave me Form 1 right away, no RIV bullshit.

They DIDN'T tell me that i could go ahead and get an ownership right away with my form 1, but i figured that out eventually.

02-07-2009, 05:24 PM
I picked up my EVO from Texas. Faxed the title to the Queenston/Lewiston office when I was down there. Immediately phoned to ask them if they received it. Then 24 hrs before I crossed, I called them again to make sure we were all set to go and gave them my ETA. When I arrived at the office, I was in and out in no more than 10 minutes.

BTW, if you drew Rhodes at that office, he would have taken care of you. I'm thinking you got someone else?

Forgot to mention, they didn't even come out even see if there was a car.

02-07-2009, 06:36 PM
When it works it is a simple process, i admit, but apparantly faxing is not an option anymore and they are prone to mistakes. your points on double checking is a great idea , and also GET the US side to date stamp a copy of your title when you drop them for them to be checked. RIV does stink but there is no way around it. They even charge RIV on off road vehicles which makes no sense at all.