Canada to US Vehicle Transport Frequently Asked Questions

There are two ways to import a vehicle into the US:

1. Temporary Import:

This is referred to as a 3299 ENTRY and includes the following:

  • Canadian vehicle that will be in the United States (US) 12 months or less.
  • US title vehicle returning to the US. (must provide copy of US title or registration)

Examples of Canadian vehicles that are snowbirds, less than 1 year work visa or students. These vehicles cannot be titled, sold or traded in the US. They must return to Canada to change ownership.

2. Formal Import:

This is referred to as a Formal Entry or a 7501 Entry and includes the following:

  • Canadian vehicle that is being brought into the US for more than one year and will be titled and registered in the US.
  • US vehicle that was imported into Canada and the US title was surrendered as part of the formal import process in Canada. Vehicle will be re-titled and registered in the US.
  • US titled vehicle that changed ownership in Canada and the new owner is importing the vehicle back into the US. (must provide copy of US title)

Import Requirements:

To import a vehicle into the US, it must be compliant to USDOT (US Department of Transportation) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) standards. Regardless of the year of the vehicle, USDOT Form HS-7 and EPA Form 3520 must be completed and filed upon entry along with the applicable entry paperwork and forms required for a commercial entry and by a commercial carrier when crossing the border.

Border Clearing Process:

When clearing a vehicle at the border, US Customs now x-rays all vehicles prior to entry. If there is anything suspicious in the x-ray, the vehicle(s) is unloaded and searched. This process takes 1-4 hours if all goes well, up to 8-10 hours if there are problems. This is all prior to the driver handing in the clearance paperwork to US Customs.

Once past pre-clearance, the paperwork is handed to the US Customs Agents for inspection. Fines up to $1000 can be given to the carrier/driver for not having the correct paperwork at this point. If all paperwork is good, the Agent takes the paperwork, i.e., 3299, HS-7, 3520, proforma, signed manifests, etc. and is processed through the US Customs clearance system. None of this paperwork is given back to the driver to put in the vehicle.

3299 Entry:

There will be no 3299 paperwork in your vehicle and you will not receive any paperwork from US Customs.

Formal Entry:

It will take up to four (4) weeks for US Customs to process FORM 7501. The completed form will be mailed to the importer’s address. If you change addresses different than on your customs paperwork before receiving FORM 7501, please contact your broker as soon as possible and provide your new delivery address. Note: US Customs will not research inquiries prior to three (3) weeks upon date of crossing the border.

Registering:

You will not be able to title and register your vehicle with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) until you have received FORM 7501.

Once you receive FORM 7501, bring the 7501, Canadian title, bill-of-sale (if applicable) to the DMV. Importer will be responsible for title, registration fees and applicable taxes.