Importing a USDM car to Canada.

This Wiki page was extracted from this thread and the content was originally created by Prime member 95EagleAWD in late 2007. RIV rules change over time and although attempts have been made to update this information over time, it is the responsibility of the reader to double-check any advice before purchasing and importing a car

The best resource for importing a vehicle from the US into Canada is the Registrar of Imported Vehicles at Not all vehicles are able to be imported and some that can be imported won’t make sense financially due to the cost of changes that will be required before you can pass the requirements. However, in general, all Clear Title NSXs since 1991 are eligible but take care to make sure that the car you’re importing doesn’t have a Salvage, Rebuilt, or Non-repairable title or you will have additional issues. Check the RIV site for details.
This is what you need

  • Title – Make sure the owner has signed the back of it, signifying it’s sold.
  • Bill of Sale – You really should have one that has both signatures in ink. Try to avoid situations where your bill of sale is faxed between the seller and you as only one signature will be in ink and customs won’t like that.
  • Insurance – Take your bill of sale to your insurance company and insure the car before you get it. That way you can drive it home, or if anything happens to it, it’s covered. If you won’t be getting the bill of sale until you inspect it in the US, then you may have to do this with your insurance company before you leave or at least pre-arrange it before you go so that you can activate it with a phone call.
  • Recall Clearance Letter – This is a letter from Acura stating that all recalls have been done. You’ll need one for the federal inspection if your car is less than 15 years old. If it’s older, then there is reportedly no need. Originally you could get these from Acura Canada but over time, the preferred approach has been to get the current owner or the dealer to make the request through Acura U.S. There are many stories about people having no problem getting these and also dealers refusing to give them out, so make sure you check this out. Prime user hondacuraplanet (who resides in NY state) has volunteered to help users obtain this letter.

Things that should be on the car

  • Manufacturer’s cargo capacity lab – This is simply the doorjam stickers that state date of manufacture, VIN, weights, etc.
  • VIN – Make sure the 17-digit VIN is on the dash.
  • Speedometer – All NSXs manufactured for North America have speedometers with both Imperial (MI/hr) and Metric (KM/hr) indicators on the dial so no modifications should be required.

Getting Back Through Customs into Canada
A general rule of thumb is to be organized. Have your paperwork organized when you get to the border. You don’t want to be fumbling around. If you hand them what they want when they ask for it, they likely won’t ask additional questions.

  • US Customs – US Customs requires that you present your vehicle title documents, registration and sales receipts at least AT LEAST 72 HOURS IN ADVANCE and that you also stop at US customs and present the car and documents before crossing the border into Canada. This is well documented on the RIV site. If you don’t produce the documents in advance, they can make you wait at the border till 72 hours has passed. They will ask the value of what you’re exporting, so you better know what’s written on the bill of sale. They will stamp the title as EXPORTED and you’re on your way to the Canadian side. Note also that there is a range of experiences around whether a fax of the documents is acceptable or whether they require the originals to be couriered to them so the best advice is to check with the border crossing that you intend you use for clarification. Also make sure to ask about their hours of operation and, in the case of multiple crossings in the same area, which ones can be used when exporting vehicles.
  • Canadian Customs – When you get there, they will ask you if you’re bringing anything across. Tell them you’re importing the car. Again, they’ll ask you the value. So make sure you know it. Again, they’ll tell you to park it and come inside. Show them the bill of sale and title. They will check the bill of sale versus blue book or other sources, so if it’s unrealistic, you may want to have other supporting documentation. In any case, you may want a copy of the money wire from the bank (they will ask for this or an original copy of however you transfered the funds).

Then it’s time to open the wallet. The first thing they’ll do is to convert the US sale price to Canadian dollars. Then, since all NSXs in North America are built outside of North America, you’ll have to pay 6.1% duty. You’ll also have to pay GST (or perhaps HST depending on the Province) on everything. If the car is not 15 years old yet, then you’ll pay approx $206 for the RIV fee. If it has Air Conditioning, you’ll be charged another $100. PST (if applicable) typically doesn’t get charged until later after the car has passed federal (RIV) and provincial inspections and you are registering it provincially.
Things to do Once Back in Canada
You have 45 days to do this next part or the government takes your car away.
Early NSXs didn’t originally have Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) and you had to add them along with a requirement to have a child safety seat anchor. You didn’t actually have to install the anchor, just prove that you bought one and have it in the car. However, with the 15 year rule, only 1996 and newer have to pass the RIV inspection and DRLs were already standard equipment on 1996s so you only need the child anchor. Note that in order to pass inspection, airbag equipped vehicles (such as the NSX) need to prove that they are functioning. Reportedly this is done by watching for the SRS light to come on and then go off. Note also that for cars imported into Quebec, French airbag maintenance stickers may be required .. check the RIV site.
When you passed through Canadian Customs and paid the RIV fee, a form was sent to RIV and roughly 10 days after you import your car , you will get form 2 in the mail which will be the Federal Inspection sheet. RIV has contracted with Canadian Tire and a number of other independent center to do the Federal inspection. Check the RIV site for inspection locations in your Province. The inspection used to be included in the RIV fee you paid when you imported it. Note that you may need a temporary day permit to drive your car to the inspection location. Once the inspection is complete, they will apply new official stickers to your door jamb and for all intents and purposes, you’re now done with the import process. However, you will likely still need to have a Provincial safety inspection done before you can plate your vehicle. This can usually be done at the local Acura dealer or your favorite inspection center. It will likely include chargeable checks such as four wheel alignment.
Enjoy your Canadian car!!