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I am curious what is required of me to import my car into the US. I own the car and actually purchased it in the US 10 years ago and will be reimporting it back into the US. Also, does anyone know specifically for North Carolina if I will need to do a smog/emission test before or after I import the car. Lastly, will I be able to drive the car over the border with my current Canadian, Ontario plates and Insurance? Any clarification about the documents I will need would be greatly appreciated.

 

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I can't answer all your questions but I'll try.

 

You'll need to contact the manufacturer of your car for a letter of conformity I believe it's called (just tell them you want to import the car to the U.S.), and they'll send you one. You'll also need proof of ownership such as a bill of sale and that there are no liens on the car.

 

Yes, you can use your Ontario plates and I believe you have up to 1 year to get them changed to local plates, however you need to check with your insurance if they're okay with this as well (some may limit you to insurance for 30 days) — I recommend you get local plates and insurance the moment you get your local license. Smog and/or emissions are generally based on whichever county you'll be living in, not the state itself — or at least this has been my experience in GA.

 

You also have up to a year to actually import the car, so you could technically legally drive it for a year as a Canadian unimported car, too.

Edited by zilchfox

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5 minutes ago, zilchfox said:

You'll need to contact the manufacturer of your car for a letter of conformity I believe it's called (just tell them you want to import the car to the U.S.), and they'll send you one.

That's probably not necessary in this case. OP stated that the car was purchased in the US - presumably that means it has both EPA and FMVSS labels - if so, it's already documented as being compliant - no need for a letter.

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With regards to the compliance letter would I need to contact Toyota USA or Canada. I know some have stated in the forum that it may not be necessary as the car did formerly conform to all US safety and emission standards which I agree with. I would like to have the letter handy just in case I need it at the border. 

 

Also

 

1 hour ago, zilchfox said:

You also have up to a year to actually import the car, so you could technically legally drive it for a year as a Canadian unimported car, too.

 

When I am at the border would I just tell them I will be importing at a later date and they would be fine with this? This would allow me to drive the car while I wait to get my local license. Finally, once I am ready to import would I have to take it back to a port of entry to do so?

 

Thank you all for the clarification.

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2 hours ago, 2jzgtemkiv said:

When I am at the border would I just tell them I will be importing at a later date and they would be fine with this? This would allow me to drive the car while I wait to get my local license. Finally, once I am ready to import would I have to take it back to a port of entry to do so?

 

The answer is in the link that I sent. There are a lot of forms to fill in and duties you have to pay.

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4 hours ago, 2jzgtemkiv said:

With regards to the compliance letter would I need to contact Toyota USA or Canada. I know some have stated in the forum that it may not be necessary as the car did formerly conform to all US safety and emission standards which I agree with. I would like to have the letter handy just in case I need it at the border. 

You can try Toyota Canada. I followed the instructions in this post to get my letter last year. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Coco8 said:

 

The answer is in the link that I sent. There are a lot of forms to fill in and duties you have to pay.

There's no duty to be paid on US or (most) Canadian made vehicles. I didn't have to pay when importing mine last year.

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Hi 2jzgtemkiv,

 

I just went through this process. Toyota may be different, but I had to call a local Ford dealer and pay to get a compliance letter. Hopefully you can just call Toyota; all the manufacturers seem to work differently.

 

When I imported my car, all I needed was to show that letter, know the country the car was made in, and the VIN. CBP provided the form. Their website says you need to fill in a few other forms, but it wasn't actually necessary. The form they provide takes <5min to fill out as long as you have the VIN handy.

 

I didn't need to show a bill of sale at any point in the process.


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I contacted Toyota Canada and they informed me that because the car was built for the US market I will not need a compliance letter. They then directed me to Toyota Motor Sales in the US. They are going to send me a letter stating the car has no outstanding recalls on it. That along with a copy of the US title it seems should be all that is necessary to re import the car. Thank you to everyone for their help and I will try and update the experience and any other useful info once the car is imported back into the US.

Edited by 2jzgtemkiv

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That's good news.  Good luck.


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For anyone reading this forum regarding importing a vehicle into the usa i wanted to share my story.

I purchased a BRAND NEW eco friendly Hyundai top of the line sante fe 2017 ultimate sport in january 

Since it was a 2017 the canadian hyundai dealership told me it was identical to the usa model and i would not have any issues importing the car. Little did they know!!!!

I received the compliance letter from hyundai and the vehicle was good for everything except tpms which is tire pressure monitoring system (tells you when your tires are low.

This was something that hyundai national hyundai canada or hyundai usa could not install!!!! 

We fought about this for 2.5 weeks as i originally purchased the vehicle with the intention of importing and bought it under false intentions are the two models do differ! 

Long story short i spoke to NHTSA and they said tpms is mandatory the vehicle can not even be brought in for personal use (as i read that some people get their cars in and drive them than import them for personal use) well apparently that is not allowed or the case at all.(the tpms rule is for 2008 cars and newer)

The tpms also has to be oem installed identical to the usa version with photos etc.    Since that was no installable i had to try to sell this vehicle. 

We all know that once a vehicle is registered it is no longer new and drops value very quickly. The dealership tried to offer me a 13000 dollar loss. I told them i would come to terms losing 8 k but not 13 as the suv only had 4600 km on it. After two weeks of battling with them as there was nothing else they can do they finally settled for 40k

The vehicle sells over 50k new but since it was registered they can no longer give 0% financing so for them it wasnt worth buying the suv back.

I just wanted everyone to be very weary and know your facts before importing vehicles. This isnt just for new cars ..be prepared get a compliance letter asap to be sure you can take your vehicle to usa! 

I dont want anyone to go through the stress i did.

Alot of domestic vehicles have tpms and this is not an issue but nondomestic vehicles are not made with tpms any longer for canada as our weather creates low pressure in tires and the sensors constantly go off. Also the sensors need to be replaced with tire change or reset so it was a nusisance and they just decided not to add them anymore.


 

 

 

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56 minutes ago, Marzena & Stephen said:

I purchased a BRAND NEW eco friendly Hyundai top of the line sante fe 2017 ultimate sport in january 

Since it was a 2017 the canadian hyundai dealership told me it was identical to the usa model and i would not have any issues importing the car. Little did they know!!!!

Little did they care - car salesmen will say almost anything to get a sale!

 

56 minutes ago, Marzena & Stephen said:

I received the compliance letter from hyundai and the vehicle was good for everything except tpms which is tire pressure monitoring system (tells you when your tires are low.

This was something that hyundai national hyundai canada or hyundai usa could not install!!!! 

We fought about this for 2.5 weeks as i originally purchased the vehicle with the intention of importing and bought it under false intentions are the two models do differ! 

Long story short i spoke to NHTSA and they said tpms is mandatory the vehicle can not even be brought in for personal use (as i read that some people get their cars in and drive them than import them for personal use) well apparently that is not allowed or the case at all.(the tpms rule is for 2008 cars and newer)

The tpms also has to be oem installed identical to the usa version with photos etc.    Since that was no installable i had to try to sell this vehicle. 

Yup, unfortunately, TPMS is the big difference in Canadian and US requirements when it comes to moving south of the border.

 

56 minutes ago, Marzena & Stephen said:

We all know that once a vehicle is registered it is no longer new and drops value very quickly. The dealership tried to offer me a 13000 dollar loss. I told them i would come to terms losing 8 k but not 13 as the suv only had 4600 km on it. After two weeks of battling with them as there was nothing else they can do they finally settled for 40k

The vehicle sells over 50k new but since it was registered they can no longer give 0% financing so for them it wasnt worth buying the suv back.

That really sucks, but without proof they said it was identical to the US model, there's not a lot more you can do (except campaign for harmonisation of standards and warn people about it, none of which helps you now, though).

 

56 minutes ago, Marzena & Stephen said:

I just wanted everyone to be very weary and know your facts before importing vehicles. This isnt just for new cars ..be prepared get a compliance letter asap to be sure you can take your vehicle to usa! 

I dont want anyone to go through the stress i did.

If you're looking to buy a new vehicle and moving south, I'd recommend pushing the dealer to supply that compliance letter before committing to purchase - some manufacturers seem very reluctant - a salesman with a healthy commission coming his way should be able to get one for you - if not, that's the time to consider a different manufacturer.

 

56 minutes ago, Marzena & Stephen said:

Alot of domestic vehicles have tpms and this is not an issue but nondomestic vehicles are not made with tpms any longer for canada as our weather creates low pressure in tires and the sensors constantly go off.

Hah! It's not just the Canadian weather - even here in the deep south, a drop of 15-20°C can lower the pressure enough to trip the sensors.

 

56 minutes ago, Marzena & Stephen said:

Also the sensors need to be replaced with tire change or reset so it was a nusisance and they just decided not to add them anymore.

I'm more inclined to believe the tire change excuse - someone somewhere weighed up the cost/benefit of TPMS vs winter tires and decided that cheaply/easily being able to swap tires twice a year beats the additional cost associated with TPMS. 

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On 25/10/2017 at 11:30 PM, Marzena & Stephen said:

I received the compliance letter from hyundai

I forgot to ask earlier, could you share details as to how you got the letter? It helps others if you've got a phone number or email address and what you need to provide them.

 

And I realised my previous post sounded a bit harsh - I didn't mean it that way - it's a real shame it cost you so much over something as silly as tire pressure monitoring.

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