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Tips to Prepare Your Car for Cross Border Shipping Between Canada and the U.S.

Shipping a vehicle between Canada and the U.S. is a multi-step process that requires careful preparation. Here are some helpful tips to help you get ready for the big move.

Prepare the Vehicle

It’s important to correctly prepare your vehicle for shipping to ensure the transportation process is as smooth and safe as possible. Here’s an overview of some crucial steps:

• Clean the vehicle inside and out

• Remove all personal belongings

• Top up the engine oil and all other fluids

• Ensure the fuel tank is at least half full

• Check the tire pressure and ensure the battery is charged

• Disable or remove any toll tags, parking passes or electronic devices

• Disable the car alarm system

• Secure or remove loose accessories

• Document the vehicle's condition by taking detailed photographs

Hansen’s has a detailed list to help you get your car ready for shipping.  

Temporarily Importing a Vehicle from Canada to the U.S.

Canadian visitors can temporarily import a vehicle to the U.S., duty-free, for up to one year. This option is ideal for snowbirds who want to bring their vehicles with them for the duration of their stay. The vehicle must be registered in Canada at the time of entry, must not be sold while it’s in the U.S. and must be exported back to Canada when the year is up.

Canadian vehicles that are temporarily taken into the U.S. for private use don’t need to complete Form 1 or pay duties to re-enter Canada. To do so, the vehicle owner must prove that the vehicle was certified by the original manufacturer, was purchased or registered in Canada before their departure and that it didn’t undergo substantial modifications or alterations while abroad.

Temporarily Importing a Vehicle from the U.S. to Canada

U.S. visitors who plan to temporarily bring their vehicle to Canada and stay in the country for more than three months must complete Form 1 to temporarily import and license their vehicle.

U.S. vehicles that are temporarily taken into Canada for private use can be returned to the U.S. duty-free without going through the entire import process. To do so, the vehicle owner must prove to CBP that the car was previously owned and registered in the United States. This proof can include a state-issued registration card or a CBP certificate of registration completed and verified by a CBP officer before departure from the United States.

Permanently Importing a Vehicle from Canada to the U.S.

Generally, if you’re permanently importing a private vehicle from Canada to the U.S., you must have and/or complete the following forms:

• The Department of Transportation (DOT) Vehicle Declaration Form (HS-7).

• The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Vehicle Declaration Form 3520-1.

• The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Form 7501. For CBP clearance, you must provide the shipper's or carrier's original bill of lading (BoL), the bill of sale, foreign registration, proof of insurance and any other documents covering the vehicle, like the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO).

Permanently Importing a Vehicle from the U.S. to Canada

If the vehicle you plan to import was manufactured for sale in the U.S. and is less than 15 years old, you must determine if it qualifies for importation under Transport Canada’s Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) program.

Normally, if you’re permanently importing a vehicle from the U.S. to Canada, you must complete the following paperwork:

• Submit an Internal Transit Number (ITN) confirmation at least 72 hours before the move, including the vehicle title documents and original bill of sale or invoice.

• Submit an Electronic Export Information (EEI) form through the Automated Export System (AES).

• Complete the Vehicle Import Form, also known as Form 1.

Hansen’s works closely with the customer’s Customs Broker on all permanent moves.  

Cross border shipments require careful preparation and attention to detail. Contact your nearest Hansen’s office so we can guide you through the process.

Fast and Reliable Cross Border Car Shipping Services

Hansen’s has the expertise and infrastructure to ship vehicles between Canada and the U.S. Our knowledgeable staff can help you complete the necessary paperwork to ensure your car makes it across the border as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Contact us today to learn more about our car shipping services from Canada to the U.S. or request a quote.