Registrar of imported vehicles: clearing a US car imported in Canada

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Publié par Eplaque - 2 min de lecture ⏳

Le 20/01/2023

The regulation of imported vehicles in Canada has become stricter since the beginning of the century. The Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) is a government office responsible for ensuring that imported vehicles made originally for the U.S. market meet Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS).

Registrar of imported vehicles: definition

Canada aims to protect its citizens from hazardous vehicles and provide a safe and efficient transportation system. In 2000, it introduced the “Registrar of Imported Vehicles » or RIV to control cars coming to the Canadian market from the USA.

How does the registrar of imported vehicles work?

All vehicles entering Canada must pass an inspection by a qualified registering agent or authorized inspection station before they can be registered in the provincial or territorial taxing authority. This process helps to ensure that safety mechanisms, emissions regulations and other standards are met prior to registration. To become an approved registering agent or station, the provider must have passed competency tests administered by Transport Canada or the RIV. This is necessary because standards are stricter in Canada.

Once compliant with CMVSS, imported vehicles may obtain proof of compliance issued by RIV and Temporary Operating Permits (TOPs). It is issued by the provincial/territorial vehicle licensing bodies. These documents allow temporary interstate movement as vehicles await registration in their respective jurisdictions. TOPs also grant modifications such as :

  • Side mirrors
  • Lighting package upgrades
  • Other safety requirements needed for road use

How to pass a US import car?

The RIV inspects all personal vehicles that enter Canada for private personal use, based on its Vehicle Import Form 1B60 application form. Once applications are received and processed, the registrar will inspect the vehicle for any mechanical issues (some kind of MOT). This check includes:

  • Brakes
  • Suspension components
  • Overall condition of the parts involved in road use
  • Etc.

Once it’s done, they will send a file number associated with it out for registration at either an established dealer or individual importer who is fully licensed under provincial regulations.

Businesses importing commercial goods into Canada must first register with International Registration Plan Alliance (IRPA). It serves as an exemption code allowing roadworthy goods to travel throughout North America without customs interference through land-border crossing protocols known as IRP agreements between member countries. Goods being imported under IRPA guidelines usually require only minimal inspection upon entry into Canada. This happens at designated ports of entry. This step done, goods can be registered with local transportation authorities. Or released into circulation throughout the country upon providing appropriate licensing documents.

Registrar of imported cars requirements

In summary, importing vehicles into Canada requires to comply with the registrar of imported vehicles rules :

  • Compliance with CMVSS standards
  • Proof of compliance issued by RIV
  • Temporary Operational Permits issued provincially/territorially
  • Inspections conducted based on application forms
  • Evidence from IRPA if applicable for commercial shipments

Importers should also be aware that not all provinces accept foreign proofs of ownership or registrations which may delay further processing until specific documentation is obtained.

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