These instructions are based on my
experience importing a bike into B.C. from Washington State. Washington
state uses separate ownership (title) certificate and registration forms
which may be
different from other states. In B.C., ICBC is our insurer and our ICBC
insurance agents can process both the insurance and the registration
paperwork. The rest of the detail is based on federal requirements in
Read information at Registrar Of Imported Vehicles (RIV)
web site - http://www.riv.ca/
The most recent bike that I imported was a 2003 Yamaha FJR. It has
an electronic odometer which ( on U.S. bikes only ) can be switched
between miles and kilometers. (Press the button down for 2 seconds).
The speedometer reads in both although the MPH is more prominent. As
a result, I did not check on whether a conversion would be necessary
for non-electronic odometers as it was not necessary for the FJR.
Check to see that the vehicle will be allowed to be
imported to Canada. It appears that there is virtually no
restrictions on motorcycles.
On purchase of vehicle:
Vendor to sign front of the Vehicle Certificate of Ownership
(the separate reg'n. form remains with vendor)
Vendor to sign rear of Vehicle Certificate of
Ownership – this is now given to the purchaser
Prepare a Bill of Sale. This should address the
date, VIN, vehicle description, and have vendor sign. This is not a
form that you will find anywhere in particular; just make it up
yourself. See the sample at the bottom of this page.
Print a copy of the ad or other pertinent
information for the vehicle in the event that Canada Customs
challenges you on the value you are using on the Bill of Sale.
Vehicle must remain in Washington until U.S. Customs
completes its export checks.
Once you have made your purchase.
Contact the manufacturer ( Fax and phone numbers are
on the Registrar of Imported Vehicles web site). Give them the
vehicle’s VIN and request a Recall Clearance
Alternatively, the RIV will
accept a printout from an authorized dealer ( not a reseller )
showing the recall status of the vehicle. You cannot do
this without the VIN. Expect to pay a fee to the dealer for this
service. In August 2012 a Washington State Honda dealer provided the
printout for about $40 and printed it immediately and without
advance notice. OR
Ask the vendor to obtain the recall clearance letter
ahead of time. This would actually be a wise move for anyone buying
or selling any vehicle.
You might even consider doing this step before
completing your purchase. If you find that there are recalls
outstanding, it may alter your purchase decision.
U.S. Customs – initial contact
Phone U.S. Customs vehicle export office at the
Blaine truck crossing 1-360-332-2632 and request that a vehicle
export package be faxed to you ( recorded message). Or email a request for the export package
This number is
for the Peace Arch crossing south of Vancouver. If you are in
another location, you should contact the nearest crossing office.
Otherwise, presumably, your paperwork will end up at the wrong
crossing and won't be there when you try to import your bike.
The Information Packet that they email to you
will contain a list of local businesses who will store your vehicle
until the export documents are ready.
Complete the questionnaire and fax the
questionnaire, a copy of Bill of Sale, and copy of the Certificate
of Ownership (Title) to them or hand deliver them to U.S. Customs at
the commercial crossing. ( In August 2012 they had a Vehicle Export
counter to take your forms to.) They require 72 hours to complete their
Retrieving the vehicle – U.S. Customs
After 72 hours, contact U.S. Customs to make sure
that the documents have been processed and they are ready for
pickup. Do not attempt to retrieve the vehicle without knowing for
sure that these documents are ready. In August 2012 we were unable
to obtain email of telephone confirmation that the bike was cleared
for export. We went to the Export counter on the way south to check
and was advised then that it was cleared. ( The customs clerk made
it sound like we did not need to check in advance. ) Only then did
we retrieve the bike and head back to U.S. and Canada Customs.
Contact an ICBC agent about insurance for the day
you intend to move the vehicle. About $35
Note the restricted hours of operations of U.S.
Customs for vehicle exports. Monday - Friday, 8:00AM to 3:30PM. Closed on
statutory holidays. If holidays fall on a weekend, they may be
closed Friday or Monday
Take the vehicle to U.S. Customs (Commercial
Crossing south of Vancouver only) and present them with the original
Certificate of Ownership and Bill of Sale. Copies are not
accepted at this stage. They may inspect the
vehicle. They will stamp the Certificate of Ownership.
There are no fees payable to U.S. Customs.
Retrieving the vehicle – Canada Customs
Present Canada Customs with the Vehicle Certificate of
Ownership (Title) and Bill of Sale.
They will complete Vehicle Import Form1. Be sure
that they write down your email address in the box if you wish to be
notified by email. Keep
this with the vehicle until licenced in Canada.
Pay the GST on the purchase price at the Canada
Customs cashier. ( For HST provinces, it will only be the GST - the
Federal portion of the tax.)
RIV now has an office right across Zero Avenue from
Canada Customs. You can leave the bike at Customs and walk across
the street and about 200 Feet east; watch for the RIV blue
RIV will check the Title Certificate and Recall
Clearance documents. They will then process the Form 1 and you will
pay the RIV fee of $195.00 + HST (August 2012). OR
You may go to the RIV web site and input for Form 1
number and they will process it online and return the Form 2 within
an hour or two. If you do this online, it would appear that you fax
or email the Recall Clearance to RIV. This could be a black hole of
bureaucracy in terms of potential for delay and would be a distant
second choice for me.
Upon arrival at home, go to the RIV website, click
on "Track Your Case". Provide the VIN and Form 1 info as
requested and print out the Form 2. When I arrived home, I had two
emails waiting for me from RIV - a receipt for the fee and
notification that my Form 2 was ready to be printed.
After arriving home
Complete the necessary modifications within 45 days.
Keep all receipts as they will be required at the inspection along
with Form 1 and Form 2, and the Recall Clearance Letter
Make an appointment at any Canadian Tire
for the Federal inspection ( no Provincial inspection on bikes) along with the above documents.
The inspection takes about 5 minutes. This inspection is generally
about having a metric speedometer ( but not odometer ), lighting,
reflectors and that it complies with U.S. Federal Safety Standards.
Pay a $10 tire disposal fee ( September 2012 ). Canadian Tire will
fax the completed Form 2 to RIV.
Upon completion of the inspection, Form 1 will be
stamped. This must be presented when registering the vehicle in
Within 7 days of the inspection, RIV will send a new
Canadian Certification label which is to be affixed to the vehicle.
In BC, take your bike and all of the above
documentation to an ICBC insurance agent who will check the bike's
serial number and prepare all of the documents to register and
insure the bike. In other provinces, presumably you must present the
bike to your local motor vehicle office for this.
Warranty issues: my FJR had the remains of the
extended warranty. It is not valid in Canada. Presumably the basis
warranty is also not valid in Canada. I never tried to make a warranty
claim by taking the bike to a dealer in the U.S. Presumably this is done
to deter importation. On the other hand, the Canadian Nissan dealer
offered to transfer my U.S. warranty when I took it in for the first