Importing a BMW to Canada from the US
Although it seems at first like a daunting prospect, importing a bike from the US can be a great way to get a good BMW for 20 to 30% less than one bought in Canada.

There are however some pitfalls and a number of steps to follow:

Updated: November 28, 2007

  1. Export:
    By US Law it is mandatory to export your new purchase out of the States before you Import it into Canada. The procedure involves Faxing a copy of the original Title of the bike to the Lewiston Bridge (716)282-2414 along with a covering letter indicating you are a Canadian and are exporting the bike to Canada. You then present the Bike to the Lewiston Bridge 72 hours later (The bike must remain in the US for the 72 hours) and if there are no liens on the bike, it is not stolen or hasn't been used in the commission of a crime, they will stamp your paperwork and you will be on your way. No Charge! The penalties for non compliance can be severe! $5000. fine and or confiscation of the vehicle not to mention subsequent scrutiny during further border crossings.

  2. Import:
    Next you proceed to the Canadian Side of the Bridge to Canadian Customs where you need to present your bill of sale and the original Title. (If the bike was purchased from an individual and is over $1000. the bill of sale must be Notarized) You will be charged GST on the purchase price (converted to Canadian funds of course) There is no duty on motorcycles as none are manufactured in Canada.
    You will receive a "Vehicle Import Form - Form 1" this form has 4 copies one of which Customs keeps but they also give you an extra photocopy. At this point you can pay the non-refundable charge for the Registrar of Imported Vehicles of $182. either in cash or by Credit Card (No Cheques!)
    Within 10 days, you'll receive a letter from RIV with your inspection document (Form 2) which details what must be done to bring your vehicle into compliance.

  3. Recall Clearance Letter:
    It is now necessary to contact the bike Manufacturer to obtain a "Recall Clearance Letter" to confirm that any recalls on the vehicle have been performed. For BMW Motorcycles the number is (201)307-3933, There is a $500. US charge for this service! If the bike is purchased from a dealer it may be included.
    If the printout is from an authorized American dealership, the company stamp must be affixed to the printout. In either case, the 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the vehicle in question must be included in the letter.

  4. Federal Inspection:
    Make an appointment with your local Canadian Tire for a Federal Inspection and take your Form 1, Form 2 and your Recall Clearance Letter with you. The Canadian Tire rep will stamp the forms and you are now ready to get a Safety Check.

  5. Safety:
    As always when licensing a previously unlicensed vehicle a Safety Certificate is required.

  6. Licence:
    Take all your documentation with you to the local licence bureau. You will at this point be charged the GST on the vehicle as well as the licensing fees.
  • Important Note: The Licence Bureau conforms strictly to all regulations and will not accept a Photocopied version of any of the Documentation!
  • Important Note:
    It would be wise to confirm the information stated above as regulations do change from time to time.
Usefull Links
US Export Regulations
The Registrar of Imported Vehicles