CDNS importing U.S. bikes?

Discussion in 'Canada' started by MCP, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. MCP

    MCP Been here awhile

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    With the CDN dollar getting stronger I'm wanting to buy a used GS in the U.S, from here in B.C.

    I've got most of the info I need from U.S & CDN gov sites, plus I've read posts from people bringing cars into Canada.

    Seems straight forward if you follow the steps, just wondering if anyone out there has done it?

    Any problems?

    Thanks
    #1
  2. vanveen

    vanveen Been here awhile

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    working at the border I see people who do this all the time, no problems at all with european bikes, just pay duty and tax at border, another $200 to a inspection facility to ensure it complies with canadian motor vehicle laws, change over the miles to kilometers and your away, don't know how good our dollar is going to get against the U.S. one but you might do well
    #2
  3. Fred

    Fred Banned

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    Commuter Boy speaks the truth. I know a few people who've imported bikes and depending on how old the bike is and what brand it is you can import it easily or left holding the bag. A BMW should not be any problem....................except, that you have to give US Customs at least 3 days notice that you are exporting a bike from America. Yes, you read that correctly.

    There's a form to fill out that's available at US Customs which will require the serial no, proof of purchase etc. You fill it out, submit it and then contact the toll free number on the form and it will tell you wether the bike is cleared for export or not, within 3 days. If you do not do this, if you ever take the bike across to the USA and they run the VIN on it and it shows this hasn't been done, you lose the bike.........period.

    I don't care what people say about working at the border...bla bla bla. I've worked with Customs documentation and it changes all the time. This is what's currently in effect.

    Have you been on the Registrar of Imported Vehicles site?
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  4. Fred

    Fred Banned

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    btw, this is utter and complete bullshit. It's very irresponsible for people to post false info.

    If the bike you want to import is NOT on the Registrar of Imported Vehicles list, it is NOT admissable into Canada......period!!!! btw, this info is what Customs Brokers are in business for. You just got it for free.

    Go ahead Vanveen, try to import a bike that's not on the list. You'll lose the bike and pay a fine.
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  5. MCP

    MCP Been here awhile

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    Hey Fred,

    thanks for the info, but you didn't tell me anything I didn't already know.

    I have the rules & regs, just wanted to know if anyone out there had already done it.

    You don't need a broker to do this, thats for sure.
    #5
  6. Canucker

    Canucker Looking to escape...

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    I've done it twice... with an 1150GS and 1200GS... both used... both bought privately in the U.S. and imported into Canada. I even rode the 1150GS back to Canada. As you've said, as long as you have your ducks in a row, it's a fairly straightforward process. A couple of minor watch-outs:

    1. Avoid, if possible, buying a bike that's being financed (ie. the title is not free and clear). The 1150GS I bought was being financed through BMW and it was a real hassle getting title clearance, transfering funds, etc. All doable, just a pain-in-the-you-know-what. My 1200GS had a clear title and it's much more straightforward.

    2. Make sure you fax your paperwork to the border crossing at least 72hrs in advance, as they request. This is sometimes tricky, because it requires faxing a copy of the title, which you don't necessarily have access to (especially as it related to point #1). I tried to "shortcut" this step with only 48hrs notice, and they almost turned me back.

    3. Don't forget to clear BOTH U.S. Customs when leaving the States with the bike, as well as (obviously) Canadian Customs.

    Good luck. :thumb PM me if you want any more info.

    Mike
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  7. Cagiva900gc

    Cagiva900gc Adventurer

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    Hey Guys

    I brought in a Cagiva Elefant today from the USA, to Canada, and everything went well, all paperwork in order, get to the Cdn Customs, pay the GST on the value of the bike, $1500US, paid about $120CDn.

    As I get to the final checkpoint at the door, the officer takes all my paperwork again, and comes back after a few minutes and starts giving me the third degree about underdeclaring the value of the bike.

    I happen to mention at some stage that I had the bike shipped from Colorado, and then I picked it up in Buffalo, to bring it to Toronto.

    Eventually after calling the seller, and confirming that I did declare the correct value, the next thing he said, what about the shipping, I should have included it. At that stage I am thinking, let me just shut up and get out of there, before the guy wants me to pay tax on the gas in my car, and the burger I had for lunch.

    So in the end I paid another $100Cdn, GST and PST on the shipping!!!

    Does this sound right to any of you?

    The bike was not shipped into Canada, as far as I am concerned it is the same as If I drove to Colorado, spent $600 on Hotels and gas to go fetch the bike, and then they ask me to pay tax on the $600 expenses I incurred to get it.

    It would have been pointless to argue with the guy, no one has ever won an argument with a Customs officer. No wonder Toronto is overflowing with guns, the guys at the border have their priorities all wrong, they just want to produce income, they are not concerned about national security.

    This is where I have to say the US officials, much tougher than the Cdn, but at least they are doing the proper job.


    I would like to get your feedback on this tax issue, was I really supposed to pay tax on the shipping from Colorado to Buffalo?
    #7
  8. kdude

    kdude Happy to be here !

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    I've done the calculations on a couple of bikes that are exact copies of cdn. bikes except for the od and the speedo.... Not worth the trouble ! Go ahead do your homework and calculate a 15% exchange, plus the gov't import and documentation fees then the inspection, change the odo and speetdo and then add the GST and what do you save PEANUTS... futhermore you will have ISSUES with WARRANTY cause the Cdn. importer (say yamama or other brands) wont want to honor a US biike with cdn. plates or they will give you a major hassle..... At the end of the day your wasting your time and energy , just my .02$ on the subject.

    Furthermore the Cdn. Gov. isn't stupid and they want to protect the cdn. importers of branded products. They make it so that your not going to save a hella of lot unless you get a really amazing deal like something below cost.
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  9. Gusgus

    Gusgus Banned

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    They stiffed you for the funds. No way around it, they saw an opportunity to make some extra money, and slammed it to ya.

    Toronto sounds like my kind of town.....
    #9
  10. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer

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    Hi Fred,
    Could you tell me if bikes [vehicles] 15 yrs old and older which are not on the Registrar of Motor Vehicles list are admissable into Canada?
    Also, could you tell me if the Registrar of Motor Vehicles list is for vehicles entering Canada, from the USA only?
    I'm interested in a couple of machines in England, already with odometer in kilometers, Italian machines, 29 yrs old.
    Ciao, Steve G.
    #10
  11. Fred

    Fred Banned

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    I just imported a 1990 XT600 with 12,000 original miles about 6 weeks ago and no problemo allthough the Canada Customs officer must have been bored. He even asked where I got the US funds from! I just happened to have the receipt from the White Rock currency exchange on me:clap That shut em up..ha ha!!

    Because the bike was manufactured (according to the VIN sticker on the bike) more than 15 years ago, I paid GST only on the $900 US I paid for the bike. No entry fee, or any other crap. I don't even have to get it mechanically inspected. I can even leave the mph speedo on it. The thing runs great btw! Really nice guy who sold it to me also! Show up with every piece of paperwork you can get and it goes smoothly. Luckily a friend in Blaine Wa let me store the bike at his garage for the 4 days it took US Customs to clear the bike. That's the 2nd over 15 year old bike I've imported.

    A friend imported a Triumph Sprint last year from California and he made the fatal mistake of undervaluing it. I think the fine was somewhere between $300-$500 and now his name is red flagged by Canada Customs:lol3 He's very lucky as they could've confiscated the bike but like most gov't agencies, they prefer the cash money of the fine which also means less paperwork than confiscating it.

    Importing bikes from Europe is a whole different scenario that I'm not familiar with. As far as I know, if the bike has not been offered for sale in North America from the manufacturer when it first hit markets elsewhere, you're out of luck. I could be wrong but that's the way I understand it to be. Plus, Canada Customs can order the bike be shipped out of the country by any date they want, you pay a daily fine while it's still here and if you don't meet their deadline, they can confiscate it and crush it.

    I believe if you are moving to Canada from GB or Europe you can bring your own bike(s) with you but you have get a mechanical inspection. Now that sounds straight forward, but as I understand it, with cars at least, they even use a different type of window glass in Euro cars that is not DOT approved over here. I've heard this about the lenses on lights on bikes also. So if you get an anal mechanic inspecting it, you lose.

    For Euro bikes, whatever their age, I'd consult a Customs Broker or just go to Canada Customs and ask them. The Customs Broker would probably give you a more straightforward answer though and it would be worth the money spent not to have a hassle.

    On an older bike, there could be a way around it by dismantling the bike and shipping it in pieces, then calling it a "U-built". Something like a custom chopper company calls their bikes. This is just a shot in the dark by me though.

    I see you're in Surrey Steve. I've been told by a guy in the "biz" to use the Canadian Tire shop in South Surrey/White Rock to get the bike inspected. Apparently no problems with them.:evil

    RIV is for importing bikes from the USA only. For some reason KTM is not on there..........damn!
    #11
  12. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Cagiva dude,

    you've been had by those Canada Customs asswipes. You should not have to pay the tax on shipping within the US. Hell, shipping from Canada to the US (or anywhere outside canada) is GST exempt. Think about it, when you go to the post office, or use UPS, if it's within Canada, you pay GST, if it's going out, you don't. You can appeal it, but it's a hassle.

    A friend of mine and I went to Pittsburgh to look at a '96 RT. My friend liked it and left a deposit. The seller faxed the title etc. to the US Customs office, 72 hours in advance, where my friend was going to be crossing. He had paid the $182 for Cdn Tire to "inspect" the bike, had a note from BMW NA saying there were no outstanding recalls on the bike, and then my friend rode the bike, paid the tax to Canada Customs and then registered the bike in Ontario.

    He did NOT have to change the speedometer to Km's. It was painless and he saved himself some money too.
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  13. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    p.s. Just don't cross on the weekend. Make sure you cross on a weekday. That's what Customs Canada had told him, he can cross on the weekend, but the guys who knows how this thing plays out work Monday to Friday, the weekend shift tends to have part-timers.
    #13
  14. Steve G.

    Steve G. Long timer

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    Interesting stuff Fred.
    First off I can confirm that the Canadian Tire in White Rock is quite easy to deal with. Recently a buddy of mine who lives in South Surrey found a way [not sure yet, but the door may have been closed after this one] to import a new MV Brutale in as a Husquvarna Brutale!! He said the Canadian Tire walk about was a joke, kind of like "lets see, it has wheels, tires, engine, lights looks good!'
    Regarding the importation of bikes never sent to North America, but 15 yrs old, or more. I go to a Laverda Rally in Nakusp every year, and last summer a fellow who goes there shows up with an Alberta registered and plated Hesketh V1000!! I'll assume that this guy had to deal with the same stuff as someone from B.C. except that an Albertan would not have to pay any provincial sales tax.
    What you say is true in a way with regard to importation of cars, with the glass. I've been in the glass business for 30yrs, and know that previous to 1975, cars in Europe were available with solid tempered windshields, which under the right kind of impact, tempered glass breaks only one way, completely, falling in on the driver. Visitors to England/Spain will have seen these 'windscreen stops' along the motorways just for these dramatic occurances. These vehicles were retrofitted with now world mandated laminated glass. It would be an extremely rare thing to see tempered windscreens in England these days, never mind North America. I've seen but one, an early importation [before things got strict] Spanish registered German made Ford Capri RS, '70 model.
    With regard to under-valueing the bike, what if you had genuinely gotten a great deal, and could prove it? Did your friend really undervalue declare it obviously different from recognized value?
    Ciao, Steve G.
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  15. Cagiva900gc

    Cagiva900gc Adventurer

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    Guys

    If the bike is more than 15 years old, as far as I have been able to establish online and also on the phone with Min of Transport, it is not subject to the whole RIV.ca plan. Even from europe is not a problem, as long as it is older than 15.

    Regarding the weekdays issue, it is the USA side CBP.gov that only work weekdays, 8-4pm at Lewiston NY anyway. They just put a stamp on the Title document. By the way, on the US side the did not even look at the bill of sale, did not need copies of the Title or anything. As long as you fax it to them 72 hrs in advance, smooth sailing that side.

    And one more thing, if the bike is not admissable for some reason, importing parts for it is also not allowed, so it is not possible to build your own 2000 model Cagiva as an example.

    One thing that I have not been able to figure out is the custom built bikes, I suppose if it isn't on the list it ain't coming to Canada.
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  16. Fred

    Fred Banned

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    Just to add to gadget boy's reply, on the west coast at least, you have to stop at US Customs to have the exportation approved. (the forms that you previously faxed to US Customs). That HAS to be done during weekday business hours which if I remember correctly are 08:30-16:00. Also has to be done at the Pacific border crossing (the truck crossing).
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  17. Fred

    Fred Banned

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    Yup. If it is not on the list, it's verboten. Re undervaluing: The snotty Canuck Customs guy that processed my paperwork for the XT600 didnt believe I paid $900 for it. I showed him the seller's phone number in Washington on the bill of sale and his reply was,"I don't phone people". His loss as far as I'm concerned because I had more than the required info and the seller had a motocross crash which screwed up his back and he was selling all his bikes. Customs could have verified with one phone call but didnt.

    Best idea is to check ahead because we all know that duties and taxes can change just for politically motivated reasons. Softwood lumber dispute is a good example. Other reasons can be due to transport canada. Some of the Aprilia's can't come in because of the 3 lamp headlight system used on earlier Mille's. I wanted to bring in a Caponord but only I believe 03 and 04 US models are allowed. The one I rode in Seattle was an 02:cry Fun bike with the Staintunes on it:clap Another bike I wouldnt mind having is a 900 Elefant. A friend has one he got from Minnesota and it's a cool bike that really isnt that far off the Dakar winning Elefant that Cagiva used.

    Here's the RIV site. I beleive the bike list is on page 13 of the pdf .

    http://www.RIV.ca/
    #17
  18. LongWays

    LongWays Skiing up a hill...

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    Just sold my 85 K100RT to a guy up in Vancouver. He dropped the paperwork at the US side the Friday before Christmas. He was back in Bellingham Wednesday morning to pick it up and drive it to its new home - GST at the border and PST when he registered it. No hassles except Canada Customs insistance on a bill of sale so faxed up the WA state notice of sale which seemed to be enough, even though all of that same information was on the title :bash
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  19. Fred

    Fred Banned

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    Customs of any country, do not question why, just do it. You'll be so frustrated trying to make sense of their rules that it's better and a lot easier on your blood pressure to just comply, be calm and accomodate their every request. Some Customs officials are cool and some are complete idiots and try to impose their own interpetation of the rules.

    I even print off their and RIV's rules when I bring a bike back just so I can show them what it says in black and white if they're being difficult.

    Cover your A S S
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  20. MCP

    MCP Been here awhile

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    I know the GST is payable, how about PST? Is that paid when you licence the bike? Any BC'ers know?

    thanks
    #20