The 22-Step Guide to Importing From The US (Dealership)

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  • #7787
        • Full Member
        • Posts: 302

      This "How-To" has recently been modified based on my own personal experience importing a motorcycle into Alberta. This is only a guide. I will not be held responsible if the advice provided below doesn't apply to someone's particular circumstances. It's up to each individual to do their due diligence.


      The images presented below will represent what documentation is needed at each step.

      Original Certificate of Title

      Recall Clearance Letter

      Bank Draft/Transfer

      Bill of Sale

      Vehicle Import Form (Form 1)

      Vehicle Inspection Form


      1. Find out if motorcycle can be imported
      * Motorcycle Admissibility
      * If you’re still unsure, call RIV @ 1-888-848-8240 and ask

      2. Pre-Arrange Insurance
      * Find out which insurance companies will insure the motorcycle
      * Find a quote that's acceptable to you
      * Get a reference number of your quote for later

      3. Contact Dealership
      * Find out if there are any outstanding recalls on bike
      * Make sure motorcycle has 17 digit alphanumeric VIN
      * Ask dealership if they would be able to prepare the recall clearance letter as it is required at the border
      * Get confirmation that the motorcycle bears a manufacturer's valid US Statement of Compliance label
      * Confirm that they can provide you with a temporary license plate that they can affix to the motorcycle for the drive back
      * Determine if manufacturer's warranty is transferable to Canada
      * If the manufacturer's warranty is not transferable and you really want a warranty valid up here, research 3rd party options
      * Determine if dealership needs a US address to sell motorcycle
      * If they do, check to see if they'll let you use a friend or family member's address who lives in the US

      4. When Satisfied, Arrange Purchasing Details with Dealership
      * If possible, arrange to pay with a bank draft when you arrive at the dealership
      * Ask who to make to bank draft out to
      * Request that the dealership prepare the recall clearance letter that you'll need at the border on the way back up
      * Put a deposit down on the bike, usually done over the phone with a credit card (usually about USD $1,000)
      * Get the motorcycle VIN from the dealership to finalize insurance
      * Get the dealership to fax the following documentation to you and the border 3 business days before you cross back into Canada:
      a. Vehicle Export Worksheet (Vehicle Export Worksheet)
      b. Vehicle Title or Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (front and back and must be in your name).
      c. Copy of the Bill of Sale
      * Double-check faxed documents for any errors
      * You will have to supply the ORIGINALS of the documents presented above in person at the border

      5. Go to the Bank and get the Bank Draft Made

      6. Finalize Insurance Process
      * Provide insurance company with VIN, bill of sale can often be faxed to them after you return from the US
      * They should be able to issue you a temporary insurance card the same day, which is usually faxed if you can't make it to their office

      7. Call Border to Confirm Receipt of the Required Documentation the Day Before You Head Down
      * Numbers below under 'AB Border Crossings' section
      * Get confirmation number if available and/or the date they received the fax

      8. Fly, Bus, Skip, or Have your Good Buddy Drive you Down to the US Dealership
      * Don't forget to pack your passport(s)


      9. Simply Let US Customs Know That You're Going to the US to Buy a Motorcycle


      10. Pay for Motorcycle with Bank Draft at The Dealership

      11. You Should Receive The Original Certificate of Title, Bill of Sale, 2 Sets of Keys

      12. Purchase Temporary Registration at The Dealership
      * This is simply a temporary license plate valid for 4 weeks
      * Costs approximately USD $8

      13. Affix Temporary License Plate to Motorcycle & Ride Back to The Border
      * Make sure to have your temporary insurance on you at all times when riding from this point forward


      14. Report your Motorcycle, Original Certificate of Title and Recall Clearance Letter to U.S. Customs
      * Make sure you don't cross into Canada, stop on the US side, go into the U.S. Customs building and tell them you're there to export a motorcycle
      * Prepare to be a little intimidated, it's normal
      * Use reference number (if given) and/or date the title was faxed
      * Although you don't need either a reference number or fax date, the above helps expedite the process
      * U.S. Customs will stamp the original certificate of title

      15. Report your Motorcycle and Bill of Sales to Canada Customs
      * Tell them you're importing a motorcycle & you've gotten the US Customs' side paperwork done
      * They'll ask you to park and come inside
      * When inside, they'll fill out a Vehicle Import Form (Form 1) for you and you'll have to pay 5% GST on the motorcycle at this time
      * There are no duties on any motorcycle that I'm aware of

      16. Enjoy the Ride Home, You're Back in Canada!
      * The Vehicle Import Form (Form 1) must be kept with the motorcycle until it's licensed.


      17. Pay the RIV Fee Online
      * RIV Fee Online Payment Form
      * Use Form 1 you received from Canadian Customs to fill out the online RIV form
      * You'll receive an email the next day with instruction on how and where to get the motorcycle inspection done
      * Along with instructions, the Vehicle Import Form (Vehicle Import Form) will be attached to the above email that you receive
      * You'll have about 4 weeks to complete the inspection (the email will specify)

      18. Get The Federal Inspection
      * Bring Vehicle Inspection Form (received by RIV via email from Step 22) and your Form 1
      * Inspection Center will stamp Form 1 and will need to see the recall clearance letter
      * 1 Week after passing, RIV will send new Canadian Certification Label to affix to motorcycle
      * If you fail inspection, you have 45 days from crossing the border to make necessary changes and pass re-inspection

      19. Go to an AB Registry and get the Out-of-Province Inspection Form
      * Verify at the Registry whether or not you need to do this
      * I was told after that I got the Out-of-Province inspection done that it wasn't necessary thanks to a rookie Registry employee screwing up and paid $155 that I didn't have to
      * Costs $9.45 incl. taxes

      20. Get The Out-of-Province Inspection
      * To locate an AB inspection facility, go to Vehicle Inspection Station Search, check the 'Out of Province' checkbox and find your area
      * In Calgary, I highly recommend Universal Cycle, it was the cheapest price I could find at $140 + taxes (403.277.0152)
      * Bring your Out-of-Province Inspection Form
      * Once you've passed the inspection, you have 14 days to register your motorcycle

      21. Return to an AB Registry and Get The Motorcycle Registered
      * Bring in stamped Form 1
      * Bring the paperwork that you received from the Out-of-Province Inspection Facility
      * Get your license plate
      * Screw that puppy on and you're ready to roll!

      22. Enjoy your New Motorcycle


      Recall Clearance Letter

      Expained – Recall Clearance Letter Info
      Motorcycle Manufacturers' Contact Info – RIV Recall Contacts

      AB Federal Inspection Centers (Any Canadian Tire will also perform the inspection for free)

      Freedom Ford – 7050 75th Street, Edmonton, AB, T6C 4H8 (780.465.9411)
      Nicholson Chevrolet – 7205 Argyl Road, Edmonton, AB, T6C 4J2 (780.465.6471)
      Trailmobile Parts & Service – 15210 Yellowhead Trail, Edmonton, AB, T5V 1A1 (780.447.1970)
      Ranchland Ford – 1103 11th SE Box 5008, High River, AB, T1V 1M3 (403.652.2134)
      Greatwest Kenworth – 6739 67th Avenue, Red Deer, AB, T4P 1K3 (403.342.1144)
      Stampede Lexus Toyota – 3305 32nd Street NE, Calgary, AB, T1Y 5X7 (403.291.9277)

      AB Border Crossings

      Coutts, AB – Sweetgrass, MT Port of Entry
      Port Code: 3310
      Port Director: Larry Overcast
      Assistant Port Director: Sandra Owens
      General Phone: (406) 335-9610
      General Fax: (406) 335-2929
      Operational Hours: Twenty Four (24) Hours A Day, Seven Days A Week (7)

      Carway, AB – Piegan, MT Port of Entry
      Port Code: 3316
      Port Director: Scott Somerville
      General Phone: (406) 732-5572
      General Fax: (406) 732-5574
      Operational Hours: 7:00 AM-11:00 PM(Mountain), Seven Days A Week (7)

      Important Numbers

      Registrar of Imported Vehicles
      Fax: (416) 626-0366
      Mon. to Fri.: 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight (EST)
      Sat. and Sun.: 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EST)

      Canada Border Services Agency
      In Canada: 1-800-461-9999 (English) or 1-800-959-2036 (French)
      Outside Canada: (506) 636-5064 (English) or (506) 636-5067 (French)

      Transport Canada
      In Canada: 1-800-333-0371
      Outside Canada: (613) 998-8616
      Fax: (613) 998-4831

          • New Member
          • Posts: 1

        Thanks for the complete write-up.  The cycle I’m bring in from the US is manufactured in the US by Indian but it’s not in the list of approved manufacturers, however, there is an Indian dealership here in Calgary.    Indian has been around North America since 1902, on and off, what gives?  “TOMOS” is on the list but not Indian?

            • Junior Member
            • Posts: 7

          Fantastic, detailed, step-by-step.  Greatly appreciated.

          It is 5 years passed… hopefully it’s all still the same!

              • Junior Member
              • Posts: 8

            Nice guide. The biggest PITA during my import was the provincial inspection. Their measurements were incredibly strict which required a lot of replacement parts which I felt weren’t necessary. The process was pretty simple but in retrospect, the bike I imported from Washington wasn’t that much cheaper than Alberta prices.

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