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bringing a car to US from Canada

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I brought an antique American made car in from Ontario about 20 years ago. Had to fill out a couple forms at the border. There was no fee. I heard that imported cars are treated differently. After I applied for the title in a normal fashion, the state sent all the papers back and said to resubmit with the customs importation documents. Received a title after that.

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I purchased and brought a car, a '67 Fiat Giardniera, over from Toronto to Ohio a few years ago. It was a bit tense at the border. The agents weren't friendly to me at all and had me trying to fill out these papers that were obviously intended for large scale, organized, and regular transportation of many cars. After making it clear that this was just a one-time hobbyist with the car in the back of a pickup truck, they grudgingly  relented. About 3 hours of frustration at the border, but got it home. I then took all the paperwork to my local Bureau of Motor vehicles to get an Ohio title and plates and they never even asked for any of the importation junk. All they did was check that the VIN was the same on the Canadian title as on the car - just as if I brought it in from another state.

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I sold my 1961 Fleetwood to a chap in California.  As part of the agreement, I would deliver the car to his shipping agent in Boston from my home in New Brunswick, Canada.


He ended up hiring a customs broker to process the transaction.  I showed up at the border with my car on the trailer, presented the paperwork to the border officials that the customs broker provided, and after waiting for them to check my shipment, I was on my way with zero hassles in about 15 minutes.  The customs broker had an office local to the border crossing (in fact, you can see the border crossing from their front door).  I'd suggest looking up the broker nearest to your point of entry back into the US and using that broker - not one of the online outfits.


If the border agents see a broker processed the transaction, they get a better feel for it and usually make it fairly easy for you.  Best money you'll spend.


Oh, and yes, you'll need a passport.

Edited by danleblanc (see edit history)
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