Vehicles Returning to Canada

Vehicles Returning to Canada

If you are returning to Canada to live, you may want to take your vehicle with you. The process can be fairly simple...or fairly complex...depending upon the status of the vehicle.

Mexican Plated Vehicles

A Mexican Plated Vehicle must be imported into Canada when you return, even if it was originally your Canadian vehicle that you took to Mexico. In order to be Mexican plated, you must have imported it into Mexico and obtained a Mexican title. Unfortunately, it now is considered a foreign vehicle.

Canada Customs will allow a returning Canadian to bring in almost any vehicle provided they have been a non-resident for a full year. Transport Canada's Registrar of Imported Vehicles program (RIV) may apply. This is to ensure that imported vehicles meet Canadian safety standards such as daytime running lights, for example. The RIV program does not apply provided you can prove that the vehicle was purchased by you in Canada and no modifications have been made. A lift kit on a truck is considered a modification, for example.

To check on your vehicles status, you should call the RIV phone line at 1-416-626-6812.

Taxes usually do not apply on vehicles brought into Canada by returning Canadians who have been gone for a year, but taxes are collected on RV's.

Canadian Plated Vehicles

Obviously, if you still have your Canadian provincial licence plates, then your ownership will be Canadian even if the plates are expired.

If your plates are expired, you need to obtain a Temporary Trip Permit from your provincial automobile licensing authority. With that, you should be able to obtain insurance coverage in your province. TioCorp can provide insurance to drive in the USA and Canada if you are having difficulties. Contact us for insurance.

With Canadian plates, there is no special importation paperwork. You simply arrive with the Temporary Trip Permit and your vehicles Canadian title or ownership.

  • For more information on importing a USA plated vehicle into Canada, go to Canada's Registrar of Imported Vehicles website - Importing a Vehicle
  • For information on importing a vehicle from any other country into Canada, go to the Transport Canada website.

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