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Process to import a vehicle from Canada to the US

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Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Canada
Timeline

Process to import a vehicle on a K-1 Visa to the US

Also describes how to register a vehicle in NY state and tips on applying for your SSN.

Get Compliance Letter from Vehicle Manufacturer – ensure it says meets DOT and EPA standards for the US, if it doesn’t it must mention how to get it to meet it and you must do it. Whatever the letter mentions must be changed. I told Toyota it was going to cost a lot to change the Odometer, but they say this is part of their standard letter so it had to be changed. PS NO ONE CHECKS! :)

Bring Car to Compliance before importing. I didn’t and while they can do a temporary importation until it meets standards, I’m not sure you could register it and you’d still have to bring it to compliance in the states where you might not know a body/repair shop and where you might have to pay extra to get parts to fit your imported vehicle as they only carry US parts. It was expensive and a lot of trouble importing while it did not meet the compliance letter issues. I would not attempt that again that way. We were delayed 4.5 hours at the border crossing and then the importation was invalid and I had to have Albany port do it over again. DO NOT CROSS AT LAURIER WASHINGTON and if you do check when OFFICER MANSON is working and don't cross at that time!

Get receipts for Compliance Issues

• Specify compliance Issue specifically, not just part number

• Have each receipt signed and dated by the owner of the shop doing alterations

Cross the border with the Visa, Compliancy Letters, Receipts, Insurance and Registration

Be prepared to have the border officer check the VIN to the papers

You need to have the following papers to register your vehicle in your new US state:

• CBP Form 7501 – following fields filled out as follows (referencing field number) if you are importing it yourself

o 1 – INFORMAL

o 2 – 11

o 3 – SAME AS ENTRY DATE

o 4 – ENTRY DATE – the day you fill out the entry summary

o 6 – Port Code where you are filling out the form at and importing the car (1002 is Albany, NY)

o 10 – Car’s country of origin so for Toyota it’s JAPAN even if you bring it in from Canada

o 11 – This is the date you crossed the border even if it’s different from the date you fill this out

o 14 – Exporting Country, this is the country it comes from

o 20 – The port of entry the car originally crossed in from

o 23 and 23 – They had me put my SSN but if you didn’t have one yet I don’t know

o 25 – Your name and address. I put my married and maiden name so all documentation can be cross referenced

o 26 – SAME

o 27 – 1

o 29 – Year, Make and Model, VIN then HT505:9801:0.1063 (I don’t know what this is, it was the same for both my vehicles).

Note for 29: I also had written “The vehicle originally entered at the US Port of Laurier, WA on date by the individual filling out this CBPF 7501” since the car was driven across and it never left again so was imported at Albany NY. PS NEVER IMPORT A CAR ACROSS LAURIER, WA AND WATCH OUT FOR OFFICER MANSON.

o 32 – US Value

o 33 – FREE

o 34 – 0.00 (All fee and money 0, don’t fill out the CBP portion)

• EPA Form 3520-1 – You can only get this if your letter says it meets EPA standards for US

o Port Code

o Entry Date

o 3 – CF

o 4 – VIN

o 9 – Your name if you are importing

o 10 – Your name since you are the owner

o 11 – Probably your home address unless storing elsewhere

o Mine was code B – unmodified but you will have to select your code or maybe the border guard will do it

• HS-7 Importation of Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Equipment Subject o Motor Vehcle Safety, Bumper and Theft Protection Standards

o 2B – Due to manufactures confirmation letter that your vehicle meets DOT standards or maybe something else if it doesn’t… I’m glad both of mine did.

To register your vehicle in NY state

Note: I was able to get a vehicle insured in NY even though it was registered in BC Canada but they wanted me to ensure I got my SSN and NY DL within 1 month from the date of insurance. Luckily I didn’t get pulled over, what would the police have made of it, confusing!

1. Get your SSN – be sure you get it 14 days before your I-94 expires! If you don’t you have to wait for your AOS or EAD is complete. I had an issue with this. They tried to validate my new name with my maiden name which was registered with Homeland Security and couldn't. There is a part of the online form for checking this and they didn't check it. Apparently it is off the screen and they have to scroll to the right. Best thing, apply for SSN in maiden name and then have it changed later. No trouble that way!

2. Get your State Drivers License (can’t get one without a SSN)

3. Bring your out of country registration, Your previous transfer information, Border documents as above, SSCard, NY Drivers License and fill out the following forms:

a. MV-82 Vehicle Registration/Title Application

i. Section 1. Choose REGISTER

ii. Section 2 – Your information

iii. Section 4 – Vehicle Information

iv. Section 5 – Only if your name changed when you got married here

v. Section 7 – Sign

vi. The rest is filled out by the DMV

b. DTF-803 – Claim for Sales and Use Tax Excemption

i. Fill out new owner as you

ii. Fill out Previous Owner information from your previous transfer documents when you last bought the vehicle

iii. Check 1a – Nonresident of New York State

iv. Was NOT purchased in NY State

v. Fill out the state or province and country where it was purchased

vi. City and state where you voted for last 3 years

vii. Other questions, easy to fill out

viii. Date motor vehicle first used in New York state (this will be the registration date even if it wasn’t and you drove it before)

c. They will give you a registration card to adhere to your window inside lower left and a temporary safety inspection certificate to ‘tape to the left of the registration card. They also give you plates. This entire process cost me $110. (can cost more or less depending on the type of vehicle you import).

d. They may ask you to turn in your registration card, they did not realize that the form was the registration and there was no card. I did not turn in the old plates, they did not ask, you should mail them back to your other country insurance co and if you are eligible for a refund you will have to do that to get your refund. I kept mine.

4. 10 days after registration you must get a safety inspection. This certificate replaces the temporary one that DMV gave you.

5. Then cry because they charge you every 2 years to register your vehicle even if you don’t change anything and you must get safely inspections every year!

Your new insurance company may want a copy of your previous insurance, a drivers extract from your previous country, and an insurance report for the past 5 to 10 years. Good to get before you leave the country. I forgot but was able to call ICBC and they were good about getting me both these items, and of course I had the insurance and registration in my car.

Sorry for the wrap etc, word documents don't paste very well in here.

Hope this helps someone.


John and Becky - Permanent Resident since December 7, 2009!!!

K-1 Visa – I-129 - Vermont Service Center -Consulate: Vancouver, BC, Canada

2009-01-16 - I-129F Sent

2009-01-20 - I-129F NOA1

2009-04-24 - I-129F NOA2

2009-04-28 - NVC Received

2009-04-29 - NVC Left

2009-04-30 - Recieved NOA2 in mail!

2009-05-01 - Consulate Received

2009-05-02 - Received letter from NVC

2009-05-11 - Packet 3 Received and Sent - Interview Appointment Date Confirmed

2009-05-13 - Medical

2009-05-15 - Packet 4 Received and Interview Date - Approved!!!!!

2009-06-16 - Visa Received

2009-06-19 - POE Laurier, Wa

2009-07-04 - Married!

Adjustment of Status - CIS office: Albany, NY

2009-07-29 - Date Filed

2009-07-31 - NOA Date

2009-08-12 - RFE(s)

2009-09-01 - Bio. Appt.

2009-11-05 - AOS Transfer

2009-12-08 - Approved!!!!!

2009-12-14 - Greencard Received!!!!!

Lifting of Conditions - I-751 - Vermont

2011-09-15 - Date Filed

2011-09-15 - NOA Date

2011-10-18 - Bio. Appt

2012-07-12 - Approved!

2012-07-21 - Green Card Received!!!!! Now for Naturalization!

Naturalization - I-400

2013-03-25 - N-400 Package sent to Lewisville,TX

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Canada
Timeline

So..... in other words just sell my car and buy a new one over there? I have a Chevy Optra (they are not made in the US yet) and was going to bring it because I have one year of payments left on it. Honestly though if it's that much trouble I'm probably better to just sell it and take my losses right? Getting this Visa, getting married and a new pace is quite a bit already haha.


See profile for our K-1 Visa/AOS story from 2010-2011Apparently we love USCIS/NVC so much we left and are doing it again! This time giving IR-1 a whirl. Rock on immigrators.

07/09/2014 sent in IR-1 packet to Chicago Lockbox

07/16/2014 NOA1

07/17/2014 check cashed by USCIS

10/01/2014 found out we are expecting baby #2 June 2015!

12/15/2014 NOA2

12/30/2014 Case received by NVC

03/23/2015 Received Case and Inv # from NVC after many calls and bogus excuses.

03/24/2015 AOS payment accepted by NVC

04/09/2015 IV payment finally accepted by NVC after the set the wrong fee and took weeks to correct it.

*many more delays thanks to the agency processing my fingers prints to the RCMP and the post office losing our mail*

05/20/2015 Packet sent to NVC via UPS, eta May 28.

06/16/2015 Baby #2 due - homebirth in Scottsdale, AZ

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Canada
Timeline

Also, I have an international drivers license, good until Oct 2010, will I be able to use that in the states until I can get my SSN/States License?


See profile for our K-1 Visa/AOS story from 2010-2011Apparently we love USCIS/NVC so much we left and are doing it again! This time giving IR-1 a whirl. Rock on immigrators.

07/09/2014 sent in IR-1 packet to Chicago Lockbox

07/16/2014 NOA1

07/17/2014 check cashed by USCIS

10/01/2014 found out we are expecting baby #2 June 2015!

12/15/2014 NOA2

12/30/2014 Case received by NVC

03/23/2015 Received Case and Inv # from NVC after many calls and bogus excuses.

03/24/2015 AOS payment accepted by NVC

04/09/2015 IV payment finally accepted by NVC after the set the wrong fee and took weeks to correct it.

*many more delays thanks to the agency processing my fingers prints to the RCMP and the post office losing our mail*

05/20/2015 Packet sent to NVC via UPS, eta May 28.

06/16/2015 Baby #2 due - homebirth in Scottsdale, AZ

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Canada
Timeline

Also, I have an international drivers license, good until Oct 2010, will I be able to use that in the states until I can get my SSN/States License?

Many states honor Canadian driver licenses as acceptable for driving in the US. Some states also will allow you to exchange your Canadian license for a license in your state without needing to take new driver exams.

From your profile and previous postings, I'm guessing you have an Ontario license and are moving to New York? NYS will allow you to drive as a visitor with your Ontario license with no problem, however, NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law says if you are becoming a resident of the state, you must apply for a NYS driver license within 30 days of arrival. As long as your Ontario license has been valid for more than 6 months, you can exchange it for a NYS license with an application form, vision test, show of ID and SSN card and application and license fees; you shouldn't need to take a new road test. nysdmv.com will have further details.

(Short answer to your question: Yes. :))

Edited by Pauley

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*** If you add me on Twitter or Facebook from here, let me know who you are so I don't ignore/block you out-of-hand 'cause I don't recognize you! :)

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Canada
Timeline

Many states honor Canadian driver licenses as acceptable for driving in the US. Some states also will allow you to exchange your Canadian license for a license in your state without needing to take new driver exams.

From your profile and previous postings, I'm guessing you have an Ontario license and are moving to New York? NYS will allow you to drive as a visitor with your Ontario license with no problem, however, NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law says if you are becoming a resident of the state, you must apply for a NYS driver license within 30 days of arrival. As long as your Ontario license has been valid for more than 6 months, you can exchange it for a NYS license with an application form, vision test, show of ID and SSN card and application and license fees; you shouldn't need to take a new road test. nysdmv.com will have further details.

(Short answer to your question: Yes. :))

Hey! Yes we will be living in NY but only because my fiance is in the military, so it won't be for more than a year. I have a good driving record, but I did get one minor ticket in NYS once, just a $80 with no points lost, I should be alright to transfer it over to NYS I think.

Thanks for the advice!


See profile for our K-1 Visa/AOS story from 2010-2011Apparently we love USCIS/NVC so much we left and are doing it again! This time giving IR-1 a whirl. Rock on immigrators.

07/09/2014 sent in IR-1 packet to Chicago Lockbox

07/16/2014 NOA1

07/17/2014 check cashed by USCIS

10/01/2014 found out we are expecting baby #2 June 2015!

12/15/2014 NOA2

12/30/2014 Case received by NVC

03/23/2015 Received Case and Inv # from NVC after many calls and bogus excuses.

03/24/2015 AOS payment accepted by NVC

04/09/2015 IV payment finally accepted by NVC after the set the wrong fee and took weeks to correct it.

*many more delays thanks to the agency processing my fingers prints to the RCMP and the post office losing our mail*

05/20/2015 Packet sent to NVC via UPS, eta May 28.

06/16/2015 Baby #2 due - homebirth in Scottsdale, AZ

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Canada
Timeline

Hey! Yes we will be living in NY but only because my fiance is in the military, so it won't be for more than a year.

From the links I provided earlier:

Section 250 (5) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law defines the term "resident." The law defines a resident as a person who lives in NYS with the intent to make NYS a "fixed and permanent" place to live. To live in a house, a home, an apartment, a room or other similar place in NYS for 90 days is considered "presumptive evidence" that you are a resident of NYS. A police officer can use this evidence as the reason to issue a traffic ticket if you drive in NYS without a driver license or vehicle registration issued by NYS.

It also notes that students from out of state are typically exempt from the residency and license/registration requirements, but makes no statement about people in the military or their families. On the surface, given only what's listed on the web site, I'd still say you'd need to get a NYS license within 30 days of moving to Fort Drum, but I'd consider calling NYSDMV and asking about your specific situation.


Pauley on Twitter

Pauley on Facebook

Wedding photos on Flickr

*** If you add me on Twitter or Facebook from here, let me know who you are so I don't ignore/block you out-of-hand 'cause I don't recognize you! :)

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Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Canada
Timeline

Regarding the wehicle, I'm glad I brought mine, I have a lot invested, but yes, selling is better and buy here.

Regarding the drivers license, I didn't get mine until a month after my permanent residency card was sent. I could not get a SSN until then because of applying in my married, not maiden name and so could not get a drivers anyway.

I never got pulled over and I drove a lot. They must of thought I was a visitor and hey, my permanent address/drivers etc was still in BC so I could get away with it I thought.

Also, I interpretted the law to be I was able to keep my BC drivers until 30 days after becoming a permanent resident. The insurance on my car actually ran out before I could get a drivers, and I was able to insur with a company here as long as I promised to get a SSN in 45 days and this was without a green card and a BC drivers and registration. Very easy to insur them here in NY and no test for drivers, just apply.

Good luck!

(So glad to be done!!!!! Just the 2 year reapplication left! and citizenship if I decide)


John and Becky - Permanent Resident since December 7, 2009!!!

K-1 Visa – I-129 - Vermont Service Center -Consulate: Vancouver, BC, Canada

2009-01-16 - I-129F Sent

2009-01-20 - I-129F NOA1

2009-04-24 - I-129F NOA2

2009-04-28 - NVC Received

2009-04-29 - NVC Left

2009-04-30 - Recieved NOA2 in mail!

2009-05-01 - Consulate Received

2009-05-02 - Received letter from NVC

2009-05-11 - Packet 3 Received and Sent - Interview Appointment Date Confirmed

2009-05-13 - Medical

2009-05-15 - Packet 4 Received and Interview Date - Approved!!!!!

2009-06-16 - Visa Received

2009-06-19 - POE Laurier, Wa

2009-07-04 - Married!

Adjustment of Status - CIS office: Albany, NY

2009-07-29 - Date Filed

2009-07-31 - NOA Date

2009-08-12 - RFE(s)

2009-09-01 - Bio. Appt.

2009-11-05 - AOS Transfer

2009-12-08 - Approved!!!!!

2009-12-14 - Greencard Received!!!!!

Lifting of Conditions - I-751 - Vermont

2011-09-15 - Date Filed

2011-09-15 - NOA Date

2011-10-18 - Bio. Appt

2012-07-12 - Approved!

2012-07-21 - Green Card Received!!!!! Now for Naturalization!

Naturalization - I-400

2013-03-25 - N-400 Package sent to Lewisville,TX

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Just wanted to add, the SSN seems to be a hot topic of debate and discussion, and like most things in this process, it all depends. I personally would recommend getting your SSN in your married name, NOT maiden name, and not having to worry about changing it later. I had absolutely no problems getting my SSN in my married name. I did so about 4 weeks after POE I think, and brought my marriage certificate with me.

You are right though, that you need to get it well before the I-94 expires!

Also, for anyone else who comes across this, make sure you check your own state's information regarding obtaining a driver's license. It very likely will be different. For some reason that process is something with methods that vary widely from state to state.

Thanks for the info re: the registration and import of vehicles. I have a car in Canada still that my parents are now using since I moved. We've discussed them driving it down here for me to be able to have again, but I'm not sure it's worth it! lol Just out of curiousity, what kind of car did you have? I'm wondering how hard it is to meet these compliance regulations...


For details visit My Timeline or Profile

ROC Timeline:
May 23, 2012 - Mailed I-751
January 7, 2013 - RFE Received
March 26, 2013 - RFE Response Sent
April 11, 2013 - ROC APPROVED

June 8th, 2013 - 10 yr GC Received (FINALLY)

AOS Timeline:
March 23, 2010 - Mailed I-485 (AOS), I-131 (AP), I-765 (EAD)
June 7, 2010 - AP received
June 12, 2010 - EAD received
August 27, 2010 - 2 yr Green Card Received!


K-1 Timeline:
April 22, 2009 - I-129F Sent
November 20, 2009 - Interview in Montreal - Approved!
January 3, 2010 - POE (Ambassador Bridge)
January 20, 2010 - Wedding

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Canada
Timeline

This sounds really crazy lol. All I did was get a compliance letter go to the border hand them the letter they did all the paper work and I signed some papers and done imported for free. At the DMV I gave them the papers the border guys gave me and they copyed them asked me to sign some things, payed a fee and done. Got my plates same day etc.


-------------------------------------------- as1cE-a0g410010MjgybHN8MDA5Njk4c3xNYXJyaWVkIGZvcg.gif

Your I-129f was approved in 5 days from your NOA1 date.

Your interview took 67 days from your I-129F NOA1 date.

AOS was approved in 2 months and 8 days without interview.

ROC was approved in 3 months and 2 days without interview.

I am a Citizen of the United States of America. 04/16/13

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My car was manufactured in Mexico and I had no problems importing it...


12/31/2009 - Marriage

07/21/2010 - AOS approved

08/04/2010 - Green Card received (and it's actually green!)

05/30/2012 - Sent ROC packet to VSC

06/08/2012 - Received NOA1 for ROC (Dated 06/04/2012)

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Canada
Timeline

OK so I went to the dealership and no one knew what a 'Compliance' letter was and just told me I didn't need it, which I corrected them that I do. Then I finally spoke with this one man who knew what he was talking about. He gave me a print out but it doesn't look like a compliance letter. It does not state "DOT and EPA" anywhere, it just has all my vehicle information. He said it meets the US standards but I don't see anywhere on this form that it states anything useful for customs. He then said I need to go to the Ministry of Transportation to get another letter from them. Does this sound right?

My step sister was supposed to buy my car but at the last minute decided not to so now I get the added joy of importing it.


See profile for our K-1 Visa/AOS story from 2010-2011Apparently we love USCIS/NVC so much we left and are doing it again! This time giving IR-1 a whirl. Rock on immigrators.

07/09/2014 sent in IR-1 packet to Chicago Lockbox

07/16/2014 NOA1

07/17/2014 check cashed by USCIS

10/01/2014 found out we are expecting baby #2 June 2015!

12/15/2014 NOA2

12/30/2014 Case received by NVC

03/23/2015 Received Case and Inv # from NVC after many calls and bogus excuses.

03/24/2015 AOS payment accepted by NVC

04/09/2015 IV payment finally accepted by NVC after the set the wrong fee and took weeks to correct it.

*many more delays thanks to the agency processing my fingers prints to the RCMP and the post office losing our mail*

05/20/2015 Packet sent to NVC via UPS, eta May 28.

06/16/2015 Baby #2 due - homebirth in Scottsdale, AZ

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Canada
Timeline

after much googling I found out how to do it... my car is a GM and so I had to call the US Customer Relations Department for all GM makes @ 1-888-467-6853. The cost to receive a compliance letter is $100.70. Do not go to your dealership where you purchased it because the form the give apparently is not valid.


See profile for our K-1 Visa/AOS story from 2010-2011Apparently we love USCIS/NVC so much we left and are doing it again! This time giving IR-1 a whirl. Rock on immigrators.

07/09/2014 sent in IR-1 packet to Chicago Lockbox

07/16/2014 NOA1

07/17/2014 check cashed by USCIS

10/01/2014 found out we are expecting baby #2 June 2015!

12/15/2014 NOA2

12/30/2014 Case received by NVC

03/23/2015 Received Case and Inv # from NVC after many calls and bogus excuses.

03/24/2015 AOS payment accepted by NVC

04/09/2015 IV payment finally accepted by NVC after the set the wrong fee and took weeks to correct it.

*many more delays thanks to the agency processing my fingers prints to the RCMP and the post office losing our mail*

05/20/2015 Packet sent to NVC via UPS, eta May 28.

06/16/2015 Baby #2 due - homebirth in Scottsdale, AZ

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