Cross-border Customs

Paperwork, filing, and documentation

Here at Fidelity Auto Shipping, we have streamlined the process and integrated everything into an all in one service to make everything simple. We make the import/export process as easy as possible. 

Auto shipping to and from Canada is a bit more complex than it seems. While the US and Canada are on very good terms and are part of NAFTA, there is still quite a bit of issues to deal with when importing a car into Canada and the U.S.A. Canada has its own set of car regulations; while they mostly parallel US regulations and cars that are street legal in the US will generally be so in Canada, there are a few select that will not be able too. In addition, there are customs issues to deal with; Border agents at customs will require a copy of the the proper documents to be faxed to the border crossing three days in advance before letting it leave the country and Canadian authorities will want to make sure that any recall issues have been addressed for importation. You may also need to pay Canadian sales tax (GST or HST) on the car. Not everyone with a car hauler behind their truck can handle those issues, so choosing a veteran car shipper is vital.

There are different rules and regulations pertaining if you want to permanently import your vehicle into Canada or the USA, and temporarily import your vehicle into Canada or the USA. Please choose your shipping scenario and click the tabs accordingly to see how it works. Please also use our check list to make sure all documentation is correct and has been received. It contains information to help explain the processes and different forms needed to import/export your vehicle across border. Keep in mind most of this will be taken care of by us, so don't be overwhelmed by the wealth of information below. If you have any questions of course, just give us a call. We'll be happy to assist you in your vehicle transport process. 

Exporting from Canada to USA

  • Informal Import
  • Formal Import

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

a. Canadian vehicle that will be in the United States (US) 12 months or less.

E.g. 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.

b. US title vehicle returning to the US. (must provide copy of US title or registration)

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

  • a. This would be a non-US vehicle (Canadian) that is being brought into the US for more than one year and will be titled and registered in the US. 
  • b. A 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. 
  • c. A 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. 

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 local taxes.

Exporting from USA to Canada

  • Temporary Import
  • Permanent Entry
  • Canadian vehicle returning

Temporary Imports (Informal entries) are for vehicles where the owner is there on a temporary basis. E.g. Seasonal Resident (12 months or less), Work visa (36 months or less), Students. There are rules pertaining to selling a vehicle that has been temporarily imported. Vehicles cannot be sold or traded in Canada. They must return to US to change ownership or go through a formal Import process and re-enter Canada. Fidelity Auto Shipping can also help you with this process. Fees will apply. Temporary Imported vehicles can be temporarily registered in Canada so insurance can be acquired within the province it resides in.

Permanent entry is required for all vehicles permanently entering Canada. Depending on who is importing the vehicle, formal clearance may be required before the vehicle can cross the border or Fidelity Auto Shipping can arrange delivery to a bonded warehouse for self-clearance. Payment of GST/Duty is required along with RIV on vehicle 15 years old and newer. Depending on the nature of the move, exemptions may apply which will reduce the amount of GST/Duty paid.

For more information, you can go to Canada's RIV (Registrar of Imported Vehicles) website:

Returning Canadian vehicle(s) can be brought into Canada two different manners on a commercial carrier. 


The following types of entries must go IN-BOND to bonded warehouse to be self-cleared:

    • Any personal items in a Canadian vehicle returning to Canada
    • Any Canadian going back to Canada temporary with US vehicle
    • Canadian moving back to Canada with US vehicle to qualify for $10,000 value exemption
    • Any person going in under WORK-VISA
    • Immigrant moving to Canada to qualify for GST/Duty exemption

Formal Entry

This is for a vehicle that can be cleared at the border and delivered to a Canadian address. No personal items can be in the vehicle.

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