Importing a bike from the States to Canada

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Duster929, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    So I am looking at a bike stateside. Does BMW still charge $500 for that damn recall letter or have they abandoned that nonsense ? And if the bike still has 2 years of warranty left from the US dealer, is it null and void once it crosses the border?

    Thanks
  2. backroadbob.com

    backroadbob.com Roads Scholar

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    Never heard of it (but BMW and Apple are masters at gouging, then nickel and dimeing their customers), but warranties on Japanese bikes aren't cross-border. If you have a claim, they will tell you to take it to a US dealer. It's b/c the warranties are handled by two different corporations.
  3. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    It looks like you don't need to recall letter to cross the border because BMW has to do everything differently than everybody else, but in order to put it on the road in canada, you need the recall letter from BMW canada and they need to see the bike.

    Oh....of course....and charge you $500 for the pleasure.....
  4. TOTim

    TOTim Been here awhile

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    Ask the seller to get the letter from his BMW dealer.
  5. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    From what I read online, you don't need the recall letter to get the bike over the border,but you need to get it from BMW canada and they have to see the bike. Then they get you for the 500.00.

    Not from the dealership in the states.
  6. Deuce

    Deuce Crazy Canuck

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    The seller gets you the letter from his dealer in the U.S. for free, gives it to you when you buy the bike, then you give it to RIV to complete your Cdn. import paperwork.

    :1drink
  7. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    To help clarify. The border folks don't need the recall letter. They dont care.. The riv folks need the recall clearance letter to prove the bike is safe to ride on Canadian roads.
  8. cycleman2

    cycleman2 Long timer

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    Yep that's the way it works.
  9. Critt

    Critt Rambling on

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    Wow, nothing has been solved here. A few people say that it is $500, then someone says it's free.
  10. BikerBobber

    BikerBobber Trying to get lost

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    BMW Canada charges $500 for the recall letter. BMW US is free. However, US dealers are not supposed to give recall letter for Canadian import a per agreement with BMW Canada.
    Most people get stuck paying the $500. If your lucky you may get a US dealer willing to break the agreement and give you the letter for free.
    Clear enough..?;)

    From my mobile
  11. Aaen

    Aaen Adventurer

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    You do not need a letter from the manufacture at all. All you need is a screenshot of the dealer vehicle database that shows there is no service bulletins/recalls.

    Have them do a search for the vin and send you a screen print. I forwarded that to RIV and voila I had my Inspection form within a day. No letter necessary. I had one from the dealer as well but they only require the dealer database screenshot. Go to the RIV website.

    Steve
  12. farmerger

    farmerger Snowed in Adventurer Supporter

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    Tell the US seller to go to his BMW dealer and say he needs the "Vehicle History" report because he is selling it and the buyer wants prove all recalls were done. No need to mention its for a Canadian buyer. Only thing I'm not sure on is the warranty. My guess is unless you pay the $500 your warranty will be null and void.
  13. gumbellion

    gumbellion Been here awhile

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    will be importing this on thursday. Hopefully it goes as well as the last bike i did 2 years ago

    [​IMG]
  14. Jbone11 11

    Jbone11 11 Long timer

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    First of all....I'd like to clarify a few things... a lot of half truths being thrown around here:

    First - What you will need in terms of documentation and costs/effort involved will be different from bike to bike. Reason being, Companies like BMW and Ducati charge upwards of $500 for the Recall letter. Some companies don't charge. Also, age comes into play as does admissability requirments.There are ways around the letter, one being finding a sympathetic dealer that is willing to screen shot the recall info from their system. But also know that some RIV offices have balked at the screen shots in the past. In my case it worked, but just be prepared if it dosent.

    Second - Although it is technically true that the Border Cops are not the ones who require the Recall letter, most CBSA cops will ask you for it and if you don't have it you're not bringing the bike in. You can challenge this, but in my experience Border cops don't give a shit about what the technicalities are. If they really don't want someone or something to get into Canada they will find an excuse.
    That goes for any documentation btw. Have your T's crossed and your I's dotted.
    Generally speaking it is a easy and simple process once you have all your docs:
    - Ownership signed over to you
    - Bill of sale (can be hand written)
    - Recall letter or Screenshot
    - You have notified the crossing of your arrival in advance ( I believe 3 days is the norm)

    On the day of, go to US customs, do your thing there...generally speaking all they do is check the vin, and stamp the ownership as exported (BTW...if you never expect to go back to the states with the bike, this step is not strictly necessary)
    Once done with the US side, cross and get ready to receive a warm welcom from your friendly CBSA:lol3....The officer will tell you to bring your vehicle and docs over to a specified area, you go into the office and process the bike.Pay taxes and duties, they print a safety form to bring to Crappy Tire (don't ask....just go with it...) and RIV form. They explain what you need to do now that the bike is in Canada. Once the Canadian tire safety is done and the RIV gets their cut....your done!

    Was that so painfull?:deal
  15. Jbone11 11

    Jbone11 11 Long timer

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    Ok...stop! First...its not US customs you need to notify 72hours in advance. Its the CBSA and it is specific to the crossing you intend to use. Second, CBSA WILL need the title. Full Stop on that one. If you cannot prove the vehicle is in your name with original docs, they will not let it through...I know becasue this happened to me. I had certified copies of the bikes title, a letter from the DMV in Chicago stating there was a misprint on the title and that a new one was forthcoming and an affadavit from the original owner explaining this but CBSA told to get lost....at 9PM on a Friday night in the Windsor Detroit border.....Fuuuuuuuu!!!

    I currently have a 15year old bike that a friend from the states was storing in my garage while he was overseas. He decided to stay where he is I bought the bike. Bikes already in Canada.

    What I did:
    Phoned CBSA to get insturctions on how to go about things. Answer: No need to go back to USA to export unless I expect to cross the border with this bike. I don't so Im not getting it exported. Next, no RIV required as its old enough...next, bring bike and ownership signed over by orig. owner and bill of sale to nearest CBSA office...in my case Ottawa Airport. They process take duty and send you on your way to your local Transportation Office (In my case MTO) to register....aaaand done!...Oh forgot about the safety...Canadian tire will do it for $50 flat.

    Best of all: NO RECALL LETTER NEEDED! :wings
  16. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    That sounds like more work than getting a recall letter, at least from Yamaha. I called Yamaha Canada's 1800 number, was a 30 second conversation and i had the recall letter in my hands in a couple minutes, I then fwded that fax to riv and again had the inspection form in a another minute or two.

    The whole thing took less than 10-12 minutes.
  17. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    And you did well to keep the 1/2 truths going.

    The recall letter and the CBSA is not "technically true", it's part of the import rules. Sure the agent can ask anything but the recall letter doesn't fall under their responsibility.

    I brought 11 vehicles in and never been asked to provide a recall letter at the border, and nearly all cases I couldn't have produced it at time of import.

    As for the 72 hrs notice, the CBSA don't need the heads up. Its these guys...

    From the RIV site...
    " U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) require notification of all self-propelled vehicles being permanently exported from the United States. You must provide CBP with your vehicle title documents, registration and sales receipts.

    1. required documentation must be submitted at least 72 business hours prior to export; and the vehicle must be presented to U.S. Customs at the time of export."

    You're right that it's an easy process once the ducks are lined up, and this should add to the confusion. :lol3
  18. Jbone11 11

    Jbone11 11 Long timer

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    I was referring to the above post and meant that CBSA agents could very well ask to see the Recall letter. I was asked for the letter at the border. If you have not after 11 vehicles, than you're doing very well with those guys. Just out of curiosity, where did you cross and were those 11 vehicles motorcycles newer than 15 years old? Not challenging..just asking.

    As for the 72 hours notice...I stand corrected. my bad. But in my defence I have been told by CBSA agents on the phone to notify the crossing Im going through 72 hours in advance..which I then did. Further evidence that CBSA does whatever they please a lot of the time.

    Any other mistakes:wink:
  19. 650GSguy

    650GSguy Adventurer

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    I am a proud owner of an XT250 and filled in all the paper work. Thanks for all the tips. I will be bringing the bike on a hitch mount, so I don't have to worry about insurance or plates.

    The questions I have is: At the truck crossing where do you go after leaving the American export office? Do you go through the car section and then get redirected? or drive through the truck side?

    Thanks again for all the help in the post
  20. gumbellion

    gumbellion Been here awhile

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    CBSA does not need anything in advance when bringing anything from the states to canada. US CBP needs a bill of sale, copy of the title, and copy of the ID of the person bringing the bike from the USA to canada 72 hours in advance. They need this because they check the vehicle for leins or if its stolen-this needs to be done to export the bike from the USA-
    i have not sent a single thing to the CBSA or even spoke to them before showing up with a bike in the back of the truck
    CBSA will need-Bill of sale, and Title. It will save you a headache if you print off the bike ad from craigslist or wherever.
    The Minnesota title wasnt even writen as sold to me on the last bike i brough over. It was signed over to the guy i bought the bike from, and the guy i bought the bike from wrote a bill of sale to me.
    I know this works, because i brought the bike into canada yesterday. All CBSA does is collect GST and verify the VIN, and fill out form 1