Friday, November 30, 2007

Obtaining A Letter Of Admissibility For A BMW Import From The US

Dear Readers:

To receive the Letter of Admissibility for your BMW import you must telephone your local dealer (the one that will inspect the vehicle for you) and provide them with this information:


The dealership will take this information over the phone and charge you $350.00 by credit card. They will then submit the request to BMW Canada who will issue the Letter of Admissibility.

You will need to present this letter to the CBSA agents, so please ensure that you have it prior to crossing the border.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Importing A Car Through The Blaine Border Crossing: New Information For Importers

Submitted by a UCanImport Subscriber


Note the following changes:

1. You can no longer pay the RIV fee at the border at Blaine.

2. They [CBSA] charge(s) you GST, and in my case duty, at the time of of import so you pay the current exchange rate. They would not take into consideration the actual amount I had paid for the car even though I had my exchange receipt and wire transfer documents. The exchange rate was down a $0.07 from when I exchanged my money. (UCanImport says, this is a new policy for the border, and it may not be relevant for every crossing. Please try to use your foreign exchange receipt if the rate is better. Maybe CBSA will accept it at other border crossings).

3. The fax on the American side is not a reliable way to get your documents to that office. The officer told me the fax machine "goes all night and day". Better to drop the copies off on in person, if possible. (UCanImport suggests scanning the documents and sending them by e-mail to as an alternate option.)

4. You can send in your [Recall] Clearance letters and documents [to RIV] in advance of receiving your "form one" so the car will pre-cleared when you do pay your fee and fax in the title and form one. (UCanImport says, Great tip! If your importation requires a Letter of Admissibility, send that in advance together with the Recall Clearance Letter and any other documents that you have obtained, such as Title and/or Bill of Sale.)

5. They [RIV] want the title faxed in with the form one now. (UCanImport says, this is a new requirement, so please add the Title to the list of documents to be submitted with Form 1).


UCanImport is grateful for these submissions and thanks all Subscribers for their valuable input.

Visit our Resources Section for a listing of Border Crossings and document requirements.

Importing a Car from the US: Please Print And Notorize The RIV List

Dear Subscribers:

Please note that in the last few weeks, Transport Canada and RIV have been amending their admissible listings almost on a daily basis. Some prudent folks, who have ended up being caught in the "immobilizer net" (see blog items) actually saved the RIV lists for the dates in question.

To give yourself an extra measure of confidence please print off the current RIV listing that shows your vehicle as Admissible and have it notarized.

To see how the lists have been changing see

Take a moment to sign their petition and to offer your support.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Importing A Car?: Canada Customs Is Offering Free Seminars

Dear Readers:

Now you can register online for a free seminar hosted by CBSA to learn the process of importing a car from the US.

"There will be importing seminars for the Canadian public who are interested in learning the process of importing cars into Canada and we're providing them at no charge," CBSA trade compliance officer Alan Barrados said. See complete article at

CBSA will advise you to " check the Transport Canada list online before heading south to shop."

Recall Clearance Letter Update: BMW Imports From US To Canada

Submitted by UCanImport Subscriber:

I have run into a major road block. BMW Canada is telling me that once the modifications and inspection has been completed at a BMW retailer, that it will take 15 to 20 business days to receive a recall clearance letter. Obviously I can't insure my vehicle until I have that letter, and by the sound of it, my new BMW will have to sit in my garage for 3 or 4 weeks before I can drive it.As you can imagine, I'm a little upset.

They are claiming that the recall letter must be signed by several high ranking BMW Canada executives, and that they will not make an exception for anyone in Canada. I sounds like B.S. to me!!

I'll let you know how things turn out.

UCanImport says:

The problem with BMW is that they aren't happy nor supportive of importers. All these requirements have come up just in the last week. Please see the additions to RIV's site at These suddenly important requirements are totally baseless and cause redundancy of effort on several parts.

What's interesting is how this policy has been implemented shortly after BMW announced cash rebates on Canadian purchases. Give Canadians a cash rebate and throw up all kinds of deterrents to shopping in the US. It reeks of bad marketing and a knee jerk reaction to the swelling tide of Canadians rushing to the US for a much better deal on their BMW.

I'm sorry you've been thrown into this predicament. Had BMW been honouring their previous, completely satisfactory and expedient protocol of issuing internal dealer printouts through their US dealerships, a lot of importers would be a whole lot happier today. This is a money grab and paper shuffle motivated by fear and loss of sales.

And now we have even more proof that Transport Canada and RIV are kowtowing to the auto manufacturers whims. Tomorrow BMW may decide that you can't import a red vehicle without getting a stamp of approval...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Cars Without Borders: Making Sense Of Transport Canada's Stance

Dear Readers:

In recent weeks we have witnessed an unprecedented volleying of responsibility between Transport Canada, RIV and the auto manufacturers. The issue in question has been the anti-theft device (the immobilizer) standard that was planned for introduction on 2008 vehicle models.

With five years to prepare for the introduction of the new policy, to say that this situation has been mismanaged is an understatement. More that 3,000 people, have been caught in the "net".

The net spans from September 1, 2007 to November 1, 2007, a full 60 days where Transport Canada overlooked its responsibility to roll out the policy and market it accurately and proactively to potential importers. Now, instead of heading the pleas of these same folks to honour its website information and its employees' well meaning but downright misguided assurances, Transport Canada has chosen to not only uphold this policy, but to enforce it retroactively!

A new website has emerged to support those caught in the borderless confines of the importing process. Appropriately named Cars Without Borders, the website has been built and is being supported by volunteers and advocates who are seeking justice from a government who has turned a blind eye to these 3000 importers.

We as Canadians who are exercising our right to import vehicles under the NAFTA agreement, have a choice. Sit back and let the bureaucrats who aren't forced to hold their newly acquired vehicles in limbo run amok with our dollars and their double-speak OR speak up for those who are in the unfairly caught in the midst of this debacle and have tens of thousands of dollars to lose.

There is a democratic process in this Country and we urge you to exercise your rights. Visit Cars Without Borders and let them know how you can help.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Importing a BMW from the US: US Dealerships Not Allowed To Issue Internal Dealer Printout

Dear Readers:

In an effort to make it even more costly to import a BMW from the US, BMW has issued an edict to its dealers NOT to print off an Internal Dealer Printout, which until now was a suitable and acceptable alternative to a Recall Clearance Letter.

Here is how the Recall Clearance Process will work when you contact BMW or the US Dealer:

Submitted by UCanImport Subscriber:

All North American BMW dealers have been notified that they can not release printouts of vehicle history reports to owners. Even the computer systems used by the dealers in the USA and Canada have been modified to flash a large warning in RED to this effect when a dealer pulls up a internal dealer history report for printing. RIV told me I could go this route instead of a recall letter, but BMW must have caught on.

BMW for whatever reason has instigated a new policy effective Nov. 26, 2007. Not only do they now require a $500 two-hour Canadian dealer VIN inspection before issuing a recall clearance letter, but as of the 26th, they require $350 for a letter of admissibility, before they will do a recall letter, and as of the 26th, a BMW dealer is the only one that can do the daytime runnung headlights (otherwise no recall letter). This adds about $1100 to the cost of importing compared to the Toyota that I brought in a few months ago. If you want to contact BMW Canada, they will confirm all of this.
There you go folks, Free Trade has just become a little bit more expensive and time-consuming!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

BMW Recall Clearance Letter: Latest Costs

Submitted by a UCanImport Subscriber:
Comments welcome.


I just bought a new 2007 BMW motorbike in the US. BMW Canada sent out a directive that the US dealer could not give me a internal print out of the safety recall. When I phoned BMW Canada Not only did I have to pay the $500.00 consolation prize to their Toronto dealer, they wanted me to take it for inspection. I asked what are they inspecting. They said Vin# and check to see if bike safe. What a crock. They would not take the word of the Us dealer on correct Vin #. I said it was also checked by US customs, Canadian Customs and Canadian Tire. As for safety issue there was no recalls on it, and it is a new bike. I live an 8 hr drive from Toronto (Sault Ste Marie).

After much talking they decided I did not have to bring in down. They are all heart. Anyway, they should have lowered their prices in the first place. We Canadians are getting ripped off. I saved $6000.00 before expenses. I will never deal with BMW Canada again.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Importing An Audi From The US: Request A Recall Clearance Letter

Note that Audi will only issue the letter when you are back in Canada with your car and have sent them a fax of the Title.

Follow these steps:

1. Telephone Audi at 1-800-822-AUDI (2834) Option #3 and let them know that you have completed the importation.
2. They will issue you a File Number which you will then use on your cover letter.
3. Send the cover letter and copy of Title to Audi at 1-248-754-6521.
4. Ask Audi to send a copy to you by email and the hard copy by snail mail.

Importing A Porsche From The U.S. Into Canada: Obtaining Recall Clearance Letter

To obtain a Recall Clearance Letter for a Porsche purchase in the U.S. please follow these steps:

1. Make sure you have proof of ownership of the vehicle i.e. Title, Purchase Order or a Bill of Sale.
2. Draft a cover letter using the Sample Letter in the UCanImport guide.
3. Fax the cover letter and proof of ownership to Porsche US at 1-800-322-2436
4. It will take up to 2 weeks to receive the Recall Clearance Letter, but they will advise you in advance if there are any recalls outstanding. If your Porsche has a recall, it will have to be completed in the US prior to importation.

To reach a customer service representative at Porsche US, telephone 1-800-767-7243 and don't select any options; simply wait on the line and a representative will answer your call.

Transport Canada and the Immobilizer Debacle

Dear Readers:

Please share your experiences with us.

Here's one from a recent importer submitted November 21, 2007.

Transport Canada Boondogle

Here are the details of our experience in trying to import a 2008 Escalade.

1. Oct. 27 paid $500 deposit for the purchase of Escalade

2. Oct. 29 went to Canada Custom and got (online rating report).
BSO agent 11464 detailing exactly how I should go about this process, and precisely what my cost at the border will be.

3. Oct. 29 additionally called GM Canada (1888 467 6853) regarding the recall clearance letter. I was told the fee would be going up to $250, and additionally the Recall Letter is required after you have imported, at the time of inspection. So in my case there was no rush.

4. Based on RIV list as it existed on Oct.28, custom verification with agent #11464 on Oct 29 and recall clearance agency discussion on October 29 a wire transfer of US $57,000 was made to the Cadilac dealer who agreed to ship the truck to Seattle for delivery on or about November 12.
Everything was thereby finalized as such.

5.Browsing the Net on a fine Sunday afternoon Nov 4 I was shocked to see a changed RIV list of admissability. When I called RIV just as they opened at 4 am pacific time I was put at ease by the agent (Owen) saying since you have a bill of sales October 30th, you are OK, as long as Canada customs is OK. At 4:45 am pacific time, I was at the canada customs Huntingdon, BC, custom agents #19457 and agent #10402 gave me a form 1 and explained the process and assured me I have no problem.

5. At this time the pick up of the truck that was put on hold Sunday night November 4 was now given a go ahead, and custom agents were made aware of this.

6. November 13 as I drove in through the same Huntington border with my new truck, I was told rules have just changed again, and was shown a memo of Novermber 13 by agent BSO # 10582, and #11244. I was given a fax # and told if RIV could ok then we are OK.

7. November 13 5 pm pacific time I spoke to (Chase) RIV WHO assured me that this can be cleared up as soon as I can fax my bill of sale.

8. November 14 I called twice since no fax from RIV had been received, and spoke to agent Chase, his words "no problem no problem, letter of clearance on its way". Later at 2pm pacific time Stephane the manager through another agent adviced me "based on documentation submitted they can not provide a letter of clearance". when asked what other documents
they may need they had no answer to that question, but implied that Transport Canada will do a press release this week.

9. I feel I have been poked in the eye by RIV, Canada Customs, GM Canada by feeding me nothing but false assurances.

10. At the end of the day all my due diligence and following process got me in this hole.

11. Based on 2008 Escalade MSRP in Canada $90,000. My US cost is $60,000, do the math!!!!!!!

12. This is bureaucracy "passing the buck" at its best. GM Canada is laughing all the way to the bank. God Save this Country.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Importing a 2008 Model Vehicle: CMVSS114 is here to stay

Dear Readers:

After repeated calls to RIV we understand that CMVSS114 (the immobilizer policy) is here to stay. This news comes as a surprise and a shock to us at UCanImport and we suggest that you contact your MP if you have purchased a vehicle and have a Bill of Sale dated earlier than November 1, 2007.

Below is a sample letter that was obtained and supplied by a UCanImport Subscriber. This letter was generously supplied by an extremely frustrated and out-of-pocket importer.
It was delivered to his MP who in turn delivered it to Minister Cannon.

November 15, 2007

Hon Lawrence Cannon
Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
House of Commons
Ottawa, ONK1AOA6

Delivered by Hand

Dear Minister,

I am writing to you regarding a situation that has been brought to my attention by a constituent who has encountered difficulty during the importation of a vehicle he purchased in the United States. A copy of his letter is enclosed.

As you will read in his letter, Mr. ***** purchased a vehicle in the United States on November 5, 2007 with the intent of importing it into Canada. He had first confirmed that same day that the vehicle was considered “admissible” by Transport Canada. He sent the necessary documentation to the border and waited the required 3 days. On November 9th, he checked to ensure his vehicle was still admissible to Canada and found that it was now considered inadmissible.

Is there a mechanism in place that would allow Mr. ***** to import his vehicle into Canada considering that his vehicle was not on the inadmissible list on the day he purchased it and he went to great lengths to ensure he was complying with government regulations?

If there is no mechanism in place that reasonably addresses Mr. ****’s bureaucratic predicament, I request that you have one put in place. It could be as simple as a vehicle is considered “admissible” to Canada if it was not on the “inadmissible” list the day before the date of purchase. Another option could be that a vehicle is “admissible” if it is imported within 30 days of being added to the “inadmissible” list.

I appreciate your attention to this matter.



Encl. 1


Importing a Honda CRV from the US into Canada: Comments from UCanImport Subscriber

Submitted by UCanImport Subscriber:

" I am bit puzzled to hear that Honda is not letting CRV 2008 models to be imported from U.S.A. As per the NAFTA Free Trade agreement the trade barriers are lifted between U.S.A., Canada and Mexico. Then why is it Honda has put restrictions on Imports of 2008 CRV vehicles. If Honda is doing that, then they are violating Free Trade Agreement, hence the violators must procecuted. I have spoken to my M.P. about this and has asked him to question this in the parliament. I have spoken to Honda Canada and they say that they have no restrictions whatsoever on impotation of any Honda vehicles. I think it is the Dealers have put this restrictions on the imports from U.S.A."

Response by UCanImport:

You may consider sending this letter to your MP and expressing your frustration with the Honda and Toyota ban on new automobiles as well as the surprise immobilizer policy.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Importing an Audi from the US into Canada: Modification update

A recent importer of a 2000 AUDI A6 2.7T QUATTRO AWD from the US into Canada has learned that 2003 and earlier Audi models may require rewiring to activate the daytime running lights.

Daytime running lights are a required modifications for all imported vehicles and can usually be completed easily by Canadian Tire or a dealership. However in the case of Audi's of a certain year or earlier, this task may take a few hours and cost you more than you had thought - and it may only be performed by an Audi dealership.

Get the VIN and call for a quote before you import if you want to avoid unwanted surprises.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Buying your next vehicle in the US: "Free Market is not So Free for Consumers"

The question that many importers are asking at the moment is why, despite NAFTA, the only group to reap the rewards from the free trade policy has been the corporations who manufacture and sell automobiles. Why are consumers facing roadblocks every time they try to take advantage of the reciprocal free trade arrangement between the US and Canada.

The Montreal Gazette explores this question further in light of the immobilizer policy that is preventing Canadians from completing their importation from the US.

To read the article, click Free Market is not So Free for Consumers

"The pros & cons of buying a car in the U.S": MSN Finance article mentions UCanImport

The pros & cons of buying a car in the U.S., an online article written by Mr. Gordon Powers and posted today on MSN Finance mentions the UCanImport guide and it's step-by-step process to help Canadians import a car from the U.S.

A long-time mutual fund company executive, Mr. Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm that counts some of Canada's largest financial institutions among its clients. Gordon was the personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning at Ottawa’s Algonquin College, and is currently a columnist for Investment Executive, Canada’s national newspaper for financial advisors.

Mr. Powers references a recent importation by a UCanImport subscriber whose case study - a purchase of an Infiniti G37 from New York State - is available on the website for other Canadians contemplating their next vehicle purchase in the US.

To read the full article visit:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Importing a Car from the USA? Daytime Running Lights Kit Available Through Canadian Tire

Submitted by: UCanImport subsciber

For $24.99 you can purchase a universal kit from Canadian Tire that allows you to do the job yourself. Note: It will NOT work on cars with concealed headlights.

Visit Canadian Tire, using this link, enter your postal code (if requested) and you'll be taken right to the universal kit.

We appreciate hearing from you - did the universal daylight running lights kit work for your import?

Thank you to our subscribers who keep us up-to-date on their experiences. You make this job so much fun!

Importing an Acura MDX from the USA into Canada - RIV Exemption Possibility

Submitted from a UCanImport subscriber from another blog site:

" Just got off the phone with my US dealer who has a stack of 2008 vehicles destined to Canada. He had a 2008 Sienna successfully go over to Canada, even though it was on "the list" as being non-admissible. The Sienna owner had purchased his vehicle pre-November 1st (when the list was released). He had RIV write up an "exception" letter and he was off to the races!"

"I must now contact RIV tomorrow with proof of sale (Oct 10th), which was made prior to the RIV Nov 6th list for my 2008 Tacoma, and they should give me an "exception" letter, as a precedence has now been set!!! I'll let everyone know how I do with this new angle. Cheers!"

UCanImport says: if you have a Bill of Sale dated earlier than October 31st, use this precedence to get your vehicle. RIV cannot make one exception and not honour any others. Based on the public outcry to this new immobilizer standard, we suspect RIV has an exception letter on file for folks who demand it. Call RIV at 1-888-848-8240 and get this letter.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Importing a 2008 Model Vehicle from the US into Canada - New RIV Admissibility List

If you are considering importing a 2008 Multipurpose Passenger Vehicle (MPV), Passenger Car, Truck or Three-Wheel Vehicle, you must read RIV updates to admissibility at

If the vehicle you are considering is listed as inadmissible it's because it doesn't comply with the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standard amendment 114 for Locking and Immobilization Systems and that the vehicle is not equipped with an immobilizer that meets CMVSS 114.

For more information visit RIV or review the admissibility list on their website.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

RCMP Database of Stolen Vehicles: Free Searches Available

The RCMP maintains a searchable database of 185,000 stolen vehicles, updated daily. All you do is insert the VIN number to see if your vehicle is in the database and could possibly be reported as stolen. Particularly important if purchasing from a private seller in either Canada or the US.

This is an important precautionary step for would be importers of vehicles in addition to a CarProof or CarFax report.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Importing a Truck from the U.S. into Canada: Case Study for Nissan Titan LE Importation

A subscriber to UCanImport has successfully completed the importation of a 2005 Nissan Titan LE Pickup Truck and has provided the following case study for would-be importers of trucks from the US.

The step-by-step guide is applicable to both cars and trucks and, in this case, saved the importer about $14,000.00.

Importing an Infiniti G37 from the US into Canada: Case Study from UCanImport Subscriber

Importing an Infiniti G37 from New York State into Quebec is easy to do as described in a new case study listed on the UCanImport web site at

Please note that certain US border crossings will require that you submit original Title to them 72 hours in advance - instead of photocopies. For those of our subscribers that reside in Ontario and Quebec, please note that this includes the Champlain and Alexandria Bridge crossings from New York State.