With summer coming to a close, perhaps you are preparing to make your annual journey to the warmer southern states in the U.S. for the winter. However, take note that the Covid-19 Pandemic has changed the process of bringing your vehicle with you.
In the past, Canadian’s have benefited from a 6-month standing U.S. travelers Visa, built on the strength and location of the Canada/U.S. relationship. They have been exempt from a formal travel visa process. As such, many Canadians have acquired a property in the U.S which they travel to for 6 months out of the year before returning to Canada. Many of these travelers drive their personal vehicles, loaded with the household items they need, through the land border to their home away from home.
With the closure of land borders to nonessential traffic, you can no longer drive down to your seasonal rentals or properties. Instead, you may fly there. So what is a traveler to do with their Canadian vehicle?
With the help of a carrier and a customs broker, you can still get your vehicle to your U.S. destination. Below we will go over this process along with a few helpful tips to make it go as smoothly as possible.
Step 1: Hire A Carrier
First, you will want to make sure you can secure a carrier to bring your vehicle South.
Tip: Book early! Due to Covid and the subsequent demand to ship vehicles across the border by Carrier, there is a high rate of demand and a lower rate of supply. Our advice is to book your carrier well ahead of needing the vehicle in the U.S. At the time of this writing, in some cases, it can take months to get your vehicle picked up in Canada and shipped South.
Not only will you want to ensure your carrier is available, additionally you will want to ensure they have adequate insurance coverage for the value of your vehicle. In most cases, a carrier’s basic insurance coverage will cover the cost of damage, however, if you are shipping a vehicle with a very high value, you will want to take the extra step of securing additional insurance coverage.
Tip: Ensure you arrive in the U.S. before your vehicle. The import form required to temporarily import your vehicle into the U.S. must include your flight details and show an arrival date that precedes the vehicle delivery date.
Step 2: Temporarily Import Your Vehicle Into The U.S.
Next, you will import your vehicle into the U.S. on a temporary basis.
Here Are The Temporary Import Steps To Bringing Your Canadian Vehicles Into The U.S.:
For these clearances, you will need to:
- Source a transport carrier to ship your vehicle south (more on this below)
- Fill out a CF 3299 customs form
- Supply the form to your chosen carrier
- Provide your carrier a copy of your passport or travel visa (if applicable)
The carrier will manifest the load and head on down to the delivery.
What If My Vehicle Is New?
It is important to note that if you have owned your vehicle for less than a year there is a chance that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may require a formal Customs entry, thus a formal export from Canada. This also means that your vehicle would need to then be registered in the U.S. in the destination state. If this happens, please be aware that when you return to Canada you will have to formally export your vehicle back to Canada and it will have to be re-registered.