export cars from Canada

export cars from Canada

An in-depth look at the process, requirements, and regulations for exporting a car from Canada to the USA.


Exporting a car from Canada to the USA may seem like a daunting process, but with the right information and guidance, it can be done smoothly and efficiently. Whether you are an individual looking to sell your car or a business involved in the automotive industry, understanding the safety and emission compliance, driver’s license requirements, auto insurance policies, and vehicle registration process is crucial. This comprehensive guide will walk you through each step, ensuring a hassle-free experience. Let’s dive in!

Safety and Emissions Compliance

Before exporting a car from Canada to the USA, it is essential to ensure that the vehicle is compliant with safety and emission requirements. For vehicles under 25 years old, compliance with the U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) is necessary. Check for the FMVSS certificate, usually located under the hood or inside the car door. If the certificate is present, the vehicle can be transported to the USA without any issues. However, if the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS) label is found instead, a letter from the original manufacturer stating compliance with FMVSS standards is required. A list of manufacturers can be found on theEPA website.

Additionally, vehicles must meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emission standards. Look for a label under the car’s hood or engine compartment that states “Vehicle Emission Control Information” and contains the certification. If the label is present, the vehicle is EPA emission compliant. However, Canadian vehicles may not have this label, in which case, contacting the manufacturer for a letter of compliance is necessary. If the vehicle lacks FMVSS, CMVSS, and EPA labels, an exemption letter from the EPA may be required before importing the vehicle.

Driver’s License Requirements

The rules regarding the use of Canadian licenses in the USA may vary, so it is important to check with the state of residence for specific requirements. If applying for a driver’s license or identification card, certain documents such as a passport for photo identification, Canadian driver’s license, and a utility bill with the U.S. address and name may be needed. Fees and additional requirements, such as an eye scan and proof of entry into the USA, may apply. It is advisable to have the passport stamped by a U.S. officer upon entry to establish the date.

Auto Insurance Policy

When exporting a car from Canada to the USA, it is crucial to have proper auto insurance coverage. Canadian auto insurance policies do not typically cover vehicles in the USA, so finding an auto insurance company that provides coverage for international travel is necessary. To obtain insurance, provide details of Canadian ownership and a copy of the Canadian driver record.

Vehicle Registration

Once the car shipping process is complete, registering the vehicle in the USA is the final step to make it an official U.S. resident. To register the vehicle, it must be inspected at a car registration office authorized to verify vehicles for foreigners. Bring all the required paperwork checked at the border, including the odometer reading and vehicle serial number. A one-time fee is payable, and new plates will be issued upon successful registration.

Interpretation and Application of 19 CFR Part 192

To ensure compliance with U.S. regulations when exporting self-propelled vehicles, it is important to understand the definitions and requirements outlined in 19 CFR Part 192. This section provides definitions for terms such as “certified,” “copy,” “export,” “self-propelled vehicle,” “ultimate purchaser,” and “used.” It also explains the documentary status and structure of the regulations.


  • Certified: Refers to a document issued by an authorized government authority, confirming it is an authentic copy of the original.
  • Copy: Refers to a duplicate or photocopy of an original document.
  • Export: Refers to the transportation of merchandise out of the U.S. for entry into a foreign country’s commerce.
  • Self-Propelled Vehicle: Includes automobiles, trucks, tractors, buses, motorcycles, motorhomes, agricultural machinery, construction equipment, and other land-based vehicles.
  • Ultimate Purchaser: The first person, other than a dealer purchasing for resale, who purchases a self-propelled vehicle.
  • Used: Refers to a self-propelled vehicle where equitable or legal title has been transferred by a manufacturer, distributor, or dealer to an ultimate purchaser.

Requirements for Exportation

Exporting a used self-propelled vehicle from the U.S. requires compliance with several requirements outlined in 19 CFR Part 192. These requirements include:

  1. Basic requirements: The exporter must present the vehicle and all required documentation, including the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or Product Identification Number (PIN), to Customs at the port of exportation. Exceptions apply for vehicles entered under specific procedures or personal exemptions.
  2. Documentation required: The specific documentation required depends on whether the vehicle has a U.S. title, foreign title, or no title. For U.S.-titled vehicles, the exporter must provide the original Certificate of Title or a Certified Copy, along with two complete copies. For foreign-titled vehicles, the exporter must provide the original document proving ownership, along with two complete copies.
  3. When presented: The timing of presenting the vehicle and documentation to Customs depends on the mode of transport. For vehicles exported by vessel or aircraft, the documentation and vehicle must be presented at least 72 hours prior to export. For vehicles exported by rail, highway, or under their own power, the documentation must be submitted at least 72 hours prior, and the vehicle must be presented at the time of exportation.
  4. Where presented: Port Directors establish specific locations for exporters to present documentation and vehicles for inspection. These locations and their operating hours are publicized by Customs.
  5. Authentication of documentation: Customs verifies the authenticity of the submitted documents. In most cases, the original documents are returned to the exporter, but in some cases, authenticated copies serve as evidence of compliance.

HST on Vehicles Sold for Export Out of Canada

When selling a vehicle for export from Canada, different rules apply depending on whether the purchaser is a consumer or a business.

Vehicles Sold to a Consumer for Export

If a consumer takes delivery of the vehicle in Canada, the dealer must charge HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) and remit it to the appropriate authorities. Even if proof of export is obtained later, the HST must still be collected and remitted.

Vehicles Sold to a Business for Export

No HST is payable if the vehicle is sold to a business for export and the following conditions are met:

  • The purchaser does not use the vehicle in Canada before exporting it.
  • The vehicle is not modified by the purchaser before export.
  • The dealer has documentation to prove the export, such as a bill of lading showing the foreign destination.

If the vehicle is shipped by rail or truck to a Canadian port and then exported by ship, the dealer must obtain the bill of lading directly from the overseas shipper to provide proof of export.

Vehicles Sold to Business or Consumer and Delivered Outside of Canada

If a vehicle is purchased for export, either by a Canadian or foreign purchaser, and the vehicle is not taken delivery of in Canada, the purchase is HST exempt if:

  • The dealer delivers the vehicle to a common carrier (shipper) and obtains a bill of lading showing the foreign destination.
  • The vehicle is delivered directly by the dealer to the United States, and the dealer keeps an embossed copy of the U.S. Entry Summary (Form 7501) or other valid U.S. Customs entry documentation.

It is important to ensure proper documentation is obtained to establish the exemption from HST.

U.S. Vehicle Export Requirements

When exporting a vehicle from Canada to the USA, it is essential to comply with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) regulations. These requirements include the Automated Export System (AES), CBP notification, and physical presentation of the vehicle to CBP.

Automated Export System (AES)

To electronically file the vehicle export information, select and authorize a U.S. agent or authorized entity, such as AutoExports.us, a freight forwarder, or a broker, to submit the information on your behalf. The vehicle must be on U.S. soil for this process. The authorized agent will provide an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) as proof of filing in the Automated Export System.

CBP Notification

At least four business days before the export date, the exporter must provide CBP with notification of the export of a self-propelled vehicle. This notification includes proof of ownership, such as a certificate of title or bill of sale, and the U.S. Customs Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) containing the unique ITN number.

Stop at the CBP Export Office

As per the instructions provided by the U.S. export office, the vehicle must be physically presented to U.S. Customs on the export date. It is important to follow the specific requirements of the designated export office.


Exporting a car from Canada to the USA involves several steps and compliance with various regulations. From ensuring safety and emissions compliance to obtaining the necessary documentation and presenting the vehicle to customs, each aspect of the process requires attention to detail. By following this comprehensive guide and staying informed about the specific requirements of both countries, you can successfully export your car without any complications. Remember to consult with the appropriate authorities and seek professional guidance if needed. Safe travels!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal or professional advice. Readers should consult with relevant authorities and professionals for specific guidance regarding their individual circumstances.

Cargoux Shipping Inc.

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Cargoux Shipping Inc.

Tel. 905-829-4224
Fax 905-829-5112

Mailing Address:
2916 South Sheridian Way unit #200
Oakville, Ontario
L6J 7J8, Canada

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