How to Import Cars From Germany to Canada

by Michael Remmert
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o' canada image by Kathryn Palmer from

Importing cars from Germany or any other country than the United States into Canada is very difficult. Cars allowed into Canada from all countries other than the U.S. must be at least 15 years old. Buses from countries other than the U.S. are only allowed into Canada if they were manufactured before 1971. Foreign citizens may bring newer cars into Canada if they plan to use them temporarily, such as for a vacation. Special rules apply to Canadian citizens bringing a car that was originally manufactured in Canada back home with them after temporary use of the vehicle overseas.

Step 1

Check your vehicle´s age. If your car is not older than 15 years counting back from the day of arrival at a Canadian port of entry, you cannot import the vehicle into Canada from Germany. However, foreigners may bring vehicles manufactured less than 15 years ago from Germany into Canada with them if they stay in Canada for a temporary visit, such as a work assignment, vacation or a family visit. The foreigner does not have to be a German citizen to bring the car from Germany to Canada for that temporary stay. The automobile can only remain in Canada as long as the owner is permitted to stay. It has to be exported on the day the owner´s visa expires, at the latest. No car from Germany is permitted to remain in Canada for more than 36 months. While in Canada, cars from Germany permitted to enter Canada temporarily cannot be sold or disposed of in any way. Canadian citizens returning to Canada may bring their vehicles into Canada if the car was originally manufactured in Canada and kept in Germany temporarily.

Step 2

Determine if the vehicle you plan to bring from Germany into Canada bears a statement of compliance label from the original manufacturer proving that the car is designed, tested and certified to meet the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards or the United States Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Such cars can usually be found in areas where Canadian or American Forces are stationed in Germany. If you purchased a used car equipped with such a label and the car was built in the same calender year you are planning to ship it from Germany to Canada, you may import the vehicle into Canada and circumvent the 15-year-age rule. The same applies for vehicles with such a label if you received it as a gift from a friend or relative no later than one year after manufacture. You may then bring the vehicle from Germany into Canada, if you can prove by way of a certified document signed by both parties that the vehicle was indeed given to the owner as a gift.

Step 3

Pay import duty and taxes if your vehicle is allowed into Canada. If your port of entry lies in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or Newfoundland and Labrador, a five percent General Sales Tax (GST) is payable on the vehicle vendor´s value as documented by the original bill of sales. If the imported car was a gift and no original bill of sales is available, its value will be estimated by Canadian Customs. Cars with air-conditioning are subject to an excise tax of 100 Canadian Dollars. If the car´s average weighted fuel consumption exceeds 13 liters per 100 kilometers, it is subject to an additional excise tax or Green Levy of 1,000 Canadian Dollars.

Step 4

Clean the car and its undercarriage thoroughly before importing your car into Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) checks for soil, sand, earth, plant residue or animal excrement attached to the body of your car and will not let you pass import inspection until of the above has been entirely washed-off.

Step 5

Fill out Vehicle Import Form 1 together with the Canadian Border Services Agency. The stamped and signed document is necessary when registering the imported car in Canada.

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