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On your next trip to Canada if you wish to bring your car along then you may think about all the import implications and car insurance. You must have active insurance with a mandatory coverage level to drive on the roads even if you are a visitor. There are options to drive or get car insurance as a temporary Canadian resident. In Canada, you must get third-party liability coverage for at least $200000 in all provinces except for Quebec where you must carry $50000. When you import a car to Canada you have to comply with Motor Vehicle Safety rules and register the vehicle.  As per Transport Canada, non-resident Canadians may be exempted from this rule for 3 months of their stay as per the provincial regulations. But they cannot gift or sell the car and keep the vehicle in Canada more than the visa expiry.

Can Non-Residents Drive In Canada?

If you wish to drive in Canada as a temporary resident you will need a valid driver’s license at all times. When you are a temporary resident with a valid license from another country then as per the province you may drive for a short while; mostly 3 or 6 months. After this period you may have to get a Canadian license if you wish to drive. You may obtain an IDP or International Driving Permit from your home country with a translation in English and French. As per the Canadian province, you may attempt and pass the knowledge and road tests to get a Canadian license.

Who Can Get Car Insurance In Canada?

In Canada, it is necessary to have car insurance if you wish to register and drive a vehicle on the roads. You may get car insurance by providing the following information.

  • Give details of your valid Canadian driver license
  • Provide your complete address (not post box), legal name, and driving record if any
  • Vehicle information such as its model, make, registration number, mileage, etc.
  • Past and current insurance history
  • Official letter to prove previous insurance claims history to get a no claims discount.

Can A Non- Canadian Resident Get Car Insurance?

Even before you may register your vehicle and get your license plates or temporary permit you must purchase car insurance. Most car insurers are wary of international license holders and may either charge exorbitantly or deny coverage. It is not an impossible task to get insurance with a foreign driver’s license. In case you go to a different province then you may need a non-resident inter-provincial liability insurance card. This will ensure that you have adequate insurance when you travel across Canada.

The most common option for a non-resident is to get short-term car insurance. This will be valid for at least 6 months and not a year as per the usual policy term. If your visit is shorter than 6 months then you may have no option but to cancel the midterm and absorb the cancellation fees.

Can Non-Canadian Resident Get Temporary Vehicle Permit?

A car insurance policy term is for a year and certain insurance companies may provide a short-term policy for 6 months as per the province. In BC, you may get a TOP or Temporary Operation Permit that is valid for up to fifteen days. Most provinces may have options to get short-term insurance coverage as a visitor. You may check with the provincial transportation bodies about specific rules on temporary vehicle permits.

Can Non-Residents Import a Vehicle To Canada?

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To import a vehicle into Canada, you may have to comply with CMVSS or Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. These include vehicles on the road, off-road, snowmobiles, motorcycles, and all-terrain categories that are regulated. If your vehicle is more than 15 years old they may get an exemption or if it is a bus with a manufacturing date prior to 1971. However, you may import these exempted vehicles to Canada only after meeting border entry regulations as per CBSA.

Can You Import A Modified Vehicle Into Canada?

If your vehicle has a certain design or branding that deems it non-regulated then CBSA officials may deny entry to Canada for such a vehicle. For example, if you do not have a recall clearance letter from the manufacturer for a previously salvaged vehicle then that could be a problem. You may not import a vehicle into Canada without a letter proving recall clearance. If you try to falsify documents then it is a criminal offense to import a vehicle that is non-compliant with the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

When you buy a modified vehicle and plan to import it to Canada then you have to be extra cautious with its paperwork. You must obtain a letter from the manufacturer or dealer to prove that the vehicle complies with Canadian safety standards. If you do not have this letter you may not import that modified vehicle into Canada. After modification, the original factory certification is no longer valid. Even if a vehicle registered in Canada got modifications across the border in the U.S. then it may not get permission for import back into Canada without certification that it complies with safety standards.

Types Of Vehicles That May Not Gain Entry To Canada

The types of vehicle that have the below modifications may not gain entry into Canada:

  • a motorcycle that you modify into a trike,
  • cargo van that you modify into a camper
  • when you add a lift kit to the suspension of the vehicle
  • to modify a vehicle to adapt with access for disabled
  • increasing the length of a vehicle
  • if you fit your car with a different body kit.

After you successfully import your vehicle you may give your import paperwork to the licensing authority in your province. Importing a vehicle into Canada does not mean that you automatically get registration and insurance for that vehicle. Certain provinces may not allow you to register right-hand drive-styled vehicles or even some salvage vehicles. It is best to contact the province that you are visiting to check their regulations to import a vehicle.

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