Purchasing a car or vehicle in the states? You might think that is as simple as purchasing an auto in Canada and then transporting or shipping it back from the United States up north.
It’s not that simple – no matter what the man at the grocery chicken counter said. Sure there is NAFTA – the North American Free Trade Zone agreement that is supposed to enhance commerce and make it easy to buy and ship goods within the North American Free Trading zone of the United States, Canada and Mexico. However you will soon find out that there is a raft of extra rules, regulations and provisions that you will have to satisfy before you can import your car into Canada.
Your vehicle will have to follow, adhere and pass the rules and regulations of the Canadian Department of Transport ‘s “Registrar of Imported Motor Vehicles”, have 72 hours advance notice of export given to the U.S. customs service , have its Canadian import paperwork documented , passed and have its mandatory fees , federal GST General Sales Taxes paid. At that point, depending on your geography and location of province pay the Provincial Sales tax or that may come later. The car will have to pass inspection at a local inspection station in your Canadian province or territory and necessary modifications done, at your expense of course. All that being done, your property is now available for the standard vehicle registration and auto insurance product purchases.
That being said there is one major component that is often not incorporated into the practical logistics. How do you pay for your vehicle? In the simplest cases you just ascertain the amount and have a bank draft made and certified for you to carry personally.
A word of note – in the states a bank draft is referred to as a ‘cashier’s check”. You may run into practical problems of terminology with either side saying that they do not accept the financial vehicle of the other institution, not knowing the specific descriptive terms of the other side. Be sure of that the terminology that you use in your written or oral request is the same as the side that you are asking. Otherwise you may meet a stone wall and be refused up front.
In other cases it just as simple as a standard bank transfers. You arrange for your bank, or perhaps the foreign currency department of a larger bank in the group or your credit union to send a bank transfer to the car dealer, or in the case of an individual into his bank account. The banking systems of North America, as well as most of the world use a well established system of codes for funds to be transferred from one account to another. If you are unsure ask. Be specific and precise. If you are dealing with a large sum, which is the case for most new and newer vehicles the banking staff should gladly assist you. It is in their benefit for mistakes not to happen.
However life and the purchase and payment of your car may not be that easy at all. The dealer may be bound under marketing rules, in their agreement with their manufacturer and distributors, not to sell a Canadian or even a non-state, out of area buyer any cars or vehicles in any manner. This may seem strange as you are within the NAFTA free trade zone, the vehicle may even have been made and in Canada. Further, the car is a totally legal product, you have done your homework that the car can be cleared and imported into Canada. On top of that it’s your money and all you want to do is to simply proceed with a simple and legal commercial transaction that is done all the time, and indeed is the basis of the North American economy, way of life and even culture.
What can be done in such a situation? If the bank itself has an American division, then the option may be to have the funds transferred there. A cashier check can be purchased and completed at that point in the American banking office and system.
Of course have everything verified and documented and have proper identification and credentials with your person. Another option is traveler’s checks. One major word of note and caution. At this point the very strict rules are, by the American border authorities, that anyone entering the States and carrying more than $ 10,000 in cash or negotiable instruments (that includes traveler’s checks) must declare these. If not your risk seizure of your funds. This is a standard practice of declaring the funds. There is nothing illegal in carrying the funds. Declare the funds. The funds will be counted in your presence by the U.S. customs officer and the amount verified. One other major point that is often not known is that you also have to declare the funds on your way out of Canada. Although the American rule is well publicized and notice given prominently with notices and placards at the customs office, the Canadian rule seems to be seldom known or publicized. Regardless – take the time to complete this routine process as well.
Following these rules and procedures you should find that you are both able to purchase, pay for, transport or ship and then import your new or newer used vehicle back into Canada successfully from the United States.