How to Import a Canadian Vehicle to the United States

Importing | Exporting | Vehicle Shipping | Auto Insurance

Importing a Canadian vehicle to the United States can be a complicated process and requires you to follow a set of rules and regulations. You can do it yourself or hire a professional importing and transportation service. We have provided a detailed step-by-step guide below that will walk you through this process.

How to Import a Canadian Vehicle to the United States

STEP 1 – Check Eligibility Requirements

You will need to make sure that your car is eligible for importation into the United States. This includes checking for any safety recalls, making sure the car complies with US safety and emissions standards, and obtaining any necessary import permits. Locate your vehicle’s emissions label and contact your manufacturer here:

How to Find the Vehicle Emissions Label

List of Manufacturer Representatives

STEP 2 – Obtain the Necessary Documents

You will need to gather several documents that are required to import a vehicle from Canada into the United States. These documents include:

Proof of Ownership
This can be a bill of sale, registration certificate, or certificate of title from the Canadian province or territory where the vehicle was purchased. Must include the VIN and your name as owner.

US Customs and Border Protection Form 7501
This form is used to declare the vehicle for entry into the United States and to pay any applicable duties and taxes.
Download CBP Form 7501

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Form 3520-1
This form is used to certify that the vehicle meets the EPA’s emission standards for import into the United States.
Download EPA Standard Form 3520-1

Department of Transportation (DOT) Form HS-7
This form is used to certify that the vehicle meets the DOT’s safety standards for import into the United States.
Download Form HS-7

Certificate of Compliance – Recall Letter
Manufacturer’s letter stating your car meets all applicable standards by FMVSS
Search Recalls for Your Vehicle
Manufacturer Contact Information

STEP 3 – Before You Leave

Get all your documents in order before attempting to cross the border. Have your car thoroughly cleaned, sprayed, and steamed as is required by the U.S Department of Agriculture. It’s a good idea to call the U.S Customs and Border Protection office at the Port of Entry where you plan to enter ahead of time to let them know you are coming.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Port of Entry Contacts

STEP 4 – How to Enter the United States

You can import a vehicle by visiting a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Port of Entry yourself or arrange for the car to be professionally transported and imported. Here are your options:


Import the vehicle yourself by visiting a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Port of Entry at a land border crossing, or Port of Entry within the United States. Search locations here:

Find a Port of Entry

Professional Service

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In most cases, you are required to import your vehicle at a US Port of Entry located at land border crossings. If you already have the vehicle in the United States with you, you can attempt to complete the import at a local Port of Entry. This is up to the discretion of the officer on duty. In some cases, they may require you to return the vehicle to a land border crossing to complete the import.

STEP 5 – At the Border

When you arrive at the border, you will need to clear customs by presenting the necessary documents and paying any applicable import duties, taxes, and other fees to the US government. During that time, the customs officials will take time to inspect your car and match it up with your paperwork. Once the papers are stamped, and fees paid, your vehicle will be officially imported. Expect to be there for at least thirty minutes.

STEP 6 – Acquire Auto Insurance

After the car has been imported and cleared customs, you will need to insure the vehicle immediately. We provide U.S. Home and Auto Insurance specifically for Canadians. This can be arranged ahead of time so you have nothing to worry about. You will need to acquire insurance before you can register the vehicle. Simply submit a quote request below, and one of our agents will take care of everything you need.

U.S. Auto Insurance

U.S. Home Insurance

Home & Auto Bundle

We work with top-rated U.S. insurance providers serving Canadians

STEP 7 – Title and Registration

The next step is to register the vehicle to acquire your title and plates. This will require you to provide proof of ownership, all stamped import forms, and proof of insurance as provided by Canada to USA. Each state has different requirements so you may have a couple more steps such as emissions tests and inspections. Contact the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in the state where you will be registering the vehicle to find out what they require. Locate and contact your local DMV here:

Contact the DMV in Your State