Archive for August, 2015

Importing cars: Japan edition

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A Vintage Nissan Figaro

The vast majority of cars imported into Canada are coming from the United States. This makes sense, the USA is conveniently close and full of cheap used cars. However, the discerning collector has more than one option available with Japan being the second most popular. Although some major cultural and geographical barriers remain, importing from Japan has a few advantages:

1. No export reporting, no ITN, no 72 hours! Where the USA demands that all vehicles leaving their soil file an export report and wait three days before departure (with the threat of huge penalties as a deterrent) no one in Japan seems to care.

2. Less paperwork: You will need the original title to get that car out of the USA. If your seller does not have it, you are hooped. In Japan, the original title is merely cancelled and replaced with an export certificate, which the seller will handle for you.

That said, a few catches remain:
Finding the car
With so many micro-trucks and vintage roadsters on offer this is likely the hardest part. Remember one thing however: the car MUST be 15 years or older. Anything younger is forbidden to import into Canada.

Caveat empor: some provinces, such as Quebec, will no longer license right-side steering vehicles!

Shipping the car
This service is typically provided by the seller. If not, Border Bee will happily provide a quote. The cost will vary greatly depending on the size of the car and the destination.

You, as always, have the right to self-clear the shipment on its arrival in Canada. Or, you can also save yourself the stress by hiring Border Bee to look after all of this for you. Importing a vehicle involves paying the taxes and duties to Customs as well as obtaining the Form 1 stamped certificate. To obtain the release and the certificate, you will need your invoice for the sale as well as the export certificate for the vehicle. Another step will be the soil inspection, which must be completed by the CBSA agricultural unit before the car will be considered for customs release.

Unless you live in Vancouver, getting your vehicle home presents another challenge. Rail and truck services exist that will bring the car to your metro area, or you can take highway one. If you plan on picking up the vehicle at the port, be sure to contact your provincial licensing branch to obtain a temporary license until you get the official license plate. You will need the Form 1 and B3 (documents generated during customs clearance) to plate your vehicle.

Costs to consider before buying

Please use our calculator to determine an estimate

For further inquiries on importing overseas vehicles, contact us

Keep Calm and ‘Hand-Carry’ On

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‘Hand-carried’ importing has become a popular channel for SMEs to collect supplies

Since 2012, the CBSA has allowed customs brokers to release commercial cargo electronically even when conveyed in an importer’s own vehicle. This replaced the previous policy which required importers with hand-carried goods to wait in the traveller’s line before obtaining clearance. The new process–for which any business can obtain pre-clearance for their cross-border runs — has become extremely popular with small businesses, most of whom use pick-up points in the USA to receive their supplies.

FAQs on hand-carried imports

How does it work?

The process is simple: complete our online form with the required information. When the time comes to select a mode, choose ‘Hand Carried Goods’

Why is pre-clearance valuable?
It saves time. There is also no paperwork or payments to be done at the border.

My business is not a traditional importer, but we have to collect some supplies from the USA. Are we eligible for the HCGH process?
Yes, any Canadian business is eligible.

What if I miss my ETA, can I still proceed to pick up my shipment?
Yes, your entry will stay valid for up to a month. For the CBSA’s sake, please try to keep your ETAs as accurate as possible.
I plan on flying back to Canada with merchandise in my luggage, can Border Bee help me out?

Commercial passengers travelling by air, train or sea cannot be released electronically. Instead, a hard copy entry must be provided by a broker on arrival. Co-ordinating these entries will only be cost-effective if you are returning with a lot of samples, otherwise we recommend self-clearing.

I am entrepreneur interested in using the HCGH program to import my supplies. Do I need to be the person who picks up my goods?
No, an employee can also pick up the merchandise on the company’s behalf.

How long does the process take?
Entries will be set up the same day–it is a question of hours. For larger orders, please wait for our confirmation e-mail before retrieving your shipment.

Should you have any questions about the hand-carry process, please contact us


Ecommerce, Customs and You provides answers to your questions on importing goods, written by the Border Bee staff.

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