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Shipping A Car From Canada To The USA: What You Need To Know

Saturday, Feb 3, 2024 by Professional Car Carriers
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We love snowbirds—people who move from Canada to the United States for a season or two to avoid the bitter cold. When you’re a snowbird shipping your car from Canada to the States, there are a few things you need to know.

This guide will help your vehicle make its way over the Canada-U.S. border. It’s written for people who are importing their vehicles from Canada to the U.S. for less than a year. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in! 

Cross-Border Documentation

In order to ship your vehicle to the United States, you’ll need to secure a number of different documents. These documents show U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that you’re importing the car temporarily, that you’re the legal owner of the vehicle, and more. The documents you may need include:

Proof of Ownership: Photocopy your vehicle registration and give it to the shipping company so that they can show Customs that you actually own the car.

Identification: By photocopying your driver’s licence and passport, border agents will be able to confirm that you’re the vehicle’s rightful owner (along with Proof of Ownership).

Proof of Insurance: This shows that the vehicle is insured for the time it will be in the USA. Having insurance that will last during your entire stay is best and can simplify things for the car shipping company at the border.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Form 3299: You’re required to fill out this U.S. Customs form for the temporary importation of unaccompanied items (including vehicles).

Department of Transportation Form HS-7: Generally, on this form, you’ll need to tick off Box 5 and fill in the relevant information, which tells the Department of Transportation that you’re only temporarily importing the vehicle (though if your vehicle meets all safety and emission standards and other requirements, you can fill out the rest).

EPA Form 3520-1: The Environmental Protection Agency requires imported vehicles to meet certain emission standards. Many Canadian vehicles already meet these standards, and all vehicles can be imported for up to 1 year with a signed letter from the EPA. 

Car shipping contract: The shipping company will usually have a copy of this contract; it tells CBP that the car shipping company is legally allowed to be in possession of your vehicle for the purposes of cross-border shipping.

Shipping Your Car From Canada to the USA in 4 Steps

  1. Verifying Eligibility

Ensure that you’re eligible to ship your car using the above forms. Contact the DoT, the EPA, and Customs with any questions you may have. You should also ensure that you have a valid passport and that you’re allowed to enter the United States.

  1. Obtaining Required Documentation

Fill in all of the documents listed above, as well as any mentioned by your car shipping company. This will expedite the process at the border. Obtain any letters that you might need from relevant agencies like the EPA. 

  1. Pre-shipment Vehicle Cleaning

You need to thoroughly clean the outside of your car before shipping it. Any dirt on the car can make it inadmissible, based on Department of Agriculture regulations to avoid the importation of foreign soil (and foreign pests). Visit a car wash and have your vehicle professionally cleaned before importing your car from Canada. 

  1. Clearing Your Vehicle of Belongings

Any belongings in your vehicle are subject to the rules and regulations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Remove all personal belongings from your vehicle before you ship your car from Canada to the U.S. Your vehicle’s interior should be spotless; nothing in the glove box, nothing under the seat. 

Cross Border Shipping With Professional Car Carriers

We help snowbirds import their vehicles to the U.S.—and export them back to Canada when their time in the States is through. For professional snowbird car shipping, trust Professional Car Carriers. 

If you are interested in shipping your vehicle, you can get an instant quote today!

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