Bringing a Canadian Car over to the USA

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sakuraNew Member
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:53 pm

Re: Bringing a Canadian Car over to the USA

Post Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:59 pm

Thanks again for your reply. Yah, I just realized that Florida charges 6% tax when registering my vehicle. Too bad, I probably should've sold my car before I left!
moving2theUSNew Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:15 am

Re: Bringing a Canadian Car over to the USA

Post Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:15 pm

Hi guys,

this whole car issue is turning out to be a nightmare....

My husband and I are moving to the US on Tuesday (yes, this week coming up!) we are planning on driving our Canadian car (which we are currently financing - not leasing) into the US (Atlanta, in specific).

we plan on going into the US with our canadian plates, & importing the car within the first 2-3 weeks we are there.
My questions are:
1. In terms of the financing - we thought as long as we continue to make the payments on time every month, we would be fine... now we are getting conflicting info that we may need to get another bank in the US to finance our loan... anyone know anything about this and how this works? would we need to refinance for sure?
2. the whole issue of staying in the US on our canadian plates for a year which is supposedly the doable and would save the hassle with the bank, doesnt even apply if the state wont allow us to stay there anyway past a certain time without registering correct??
3. the car is in my name - i am on an H4 so i wont have a SSN. Should we transfer it to my husband's name who will have a H1B, before we leave canada? would that make things any easier?

Thanks a million for your help guys... this forum is truly helpful!
AllisterNew Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:40 am

Re: Bringing a Canadian Car over to the USA

Post Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:50 pm

Not quite sure if this has been covered here. I went on a planned vacation to the US for 6 weeks. During that time, I married a US Citizen and now I plan on staying in the US and have filed my AOS paperwork. I originally drove over the border. I now have my car here and my Canadian plates expire in two months. Should I anticipate any problems importing my vehicle now if I go to a POE airport. Would it be easier if my wife purchased the car off me and plated and insured it in my name? Do I need a State Drivers licence and what do I need to get one?
elvenicNew Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:23 am

Re: Bringing a Canadian Car over to the USA

Post Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:30 pm

After reading this thread I'm still confused a bit. My situation as as follows: I am going to enter California on TN visa soon (I already have a job offer from employer in California), and I'm considering just driving my car from Canada to California when I enter the US. Is TN status considered to be a 'resident' or 'visitor' in California regarding car registration? Is my understanding correct that if I am a 'visitor' in California, I do not need (for 1 year) to get California plates and California Driver License? And if I am considered a 'resident' in California, I will have to formally import a car and get California plates/driver license within (I think) 20 days?

BTW, I have just checked, the car has both stickers - Federal Safety Standards (FMVSS?) and Federal EPA (Pollution) Standards, so for importing I will not need to have a manufacturer's letter, right?
Posts: 164
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:07 am
Location: San Diego, California

Re: Bringing a Canadian Car over to the USA

Post Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:20 pm

Yes, bringing a car over the boarder can be a nightmare.

The easiest scenario is if you own the car.
1. If you own the car for over a year, you will be exempt from paying an import duty on it.
2. If you own the car for less than a year, but the car was made in Canada, then you will be exempt from paying an import duty.
3. If the state you are living in requires the car to meet emission standards (example: California), then you should be able to contact the Canadian manufacturer and obtain documentation of the emission ratings for your vehicle. Most vehicles meet US emission standards.
4. You can drive over with Canadian plates, contact your insurance company to ensure you will be insured. Usually they will give you a time limit to get US insurance.
5. The DMV has a 30 day limit for you to register your car -- this is pretty hard to do when you are so busy settling in. They simply ask you if you have been in the state for longer than 30 days -- how you answer is up to you.
6. You will need to get a new driver's license as well and don't be surprised but you most likely will need to take the driver exam (in car and paper exam). Study the Driver's handbook -- there are some differences in the traffic rules.

Now, if you do not own the gets should read your lease or finance agreement. Contacting the lender is another option. In most cases, you either will need to buy the car, return it or sell it.

Good luck!

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krievNew Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:58 pm

Re: Bringing a Canadian Car over to the USA

Post Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:05 pm

Im leaving for San Francisco on the 29th of this month, i have a new job and i just bought a car to bring with me (2009 Ford Escape).

I already checked with my insurance and they told me they won't cover me past 30days in the US since i will be living there.

So what would be my exact procedure to get my vehicle imported,insured and registered? What documents would i require so i don't spend 12hours at customs? I will be driving to California.

Also, what will a US Insurance ask as far as documentation to insure me?

I've been reading on the California DMV website but i'm very new to all of this and it's a bit overwhelming.
dangNew Member
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:31 am

Re: Bringing a Canadian Car over to the USA

Post Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:35 am

Amazingly, after 11 pages of messages, I still haven't quite seen the answer to my situation.

I'm Canadian, and live, work and file taxes in Canada.
However, we bought a property in Nevada, and I would like to "leave" one of my cars there. I will actually only be down there maybe 30 days total over a year.

Question is what do I need to do with my car?

I sense the answer may be plate it in Nevada, but that requires insurance, insurance requires a (Nevada) drivers license, and a drivers license requires residency, which I won't have right?



Just to add to this, I note Nevada Statute 483.141 (Resident Defined) states:
"The term does not include a person who is an actual tourist, an out-of-state student, a foreign exchange student, a border state employee or a seasonal resident." (Bolding is mine).

I assume I would be considered a seasonal resident, so am not a resident. I therefore cannot get a Nevada drivers license, which may be a challenge for getting insurance. Further, Nevada plates are (oddly) issued to people (or businesses), not vehicles. Since I'm not going to be classed as a resident, I don't think I'm going to be able to register a vehicle (though technically I haven't found anything that says that yet.)
reddyNew Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:11 pm

Re: Bringing a Canadian Car over to the USA

Post Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:42 pm

I am on TN visa and I I didn't import my car when I cross the border.
In order to import my car, do I need to cross the border? Or any other way to import my car.
Any sort of help is appreciated.
darkaceNew Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:31 am

Re: Bringing a Canadian Car over to the USA

Post Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:10 am

I have a similar scenario in which my father in Canada is giving me his car (made in Germany 2002 model) but I live in USA (Atlanta, GA) as a permanent resident. Will I need to pay any duty or taxes on the car? The car title and ownership will be transferred to me before I drive it down to USA. This will be my second car I had brought from Canada to USA. First time was my own car many years ago. Please advise. Thanks in advance.
reddyNew Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:11 pm

Re: Bringing a Canadian Car over to the USA

Post Sat Jan 08, 2011 7:58 am


Any one help me, I would like to import my toyota corola into usa I got letter from toyota canada and they are specifing That the odometer installed on the vachile registers in kilometers as required by canadian motor vechile standards and may not satisfy the law of the state in which you wish you to relocate.

Can you I import my car into VA?

Thanks in advance.

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