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Old 03-28-2008, 05:36 PM   #1
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California DMV and export to Canada

I'm planning to pick up my recently purchased '61 late next month and have a few questions about getting transit plates in California? I had the vendor sign over the title and provide a bill of sale (she dropped them off to InlandRV along with the trailer). My goal is to get a transit plate on and be at the border within one week.

In a couple of days I'll be able to schedule a DMV appointment online for the day of pick up to conduct any paperwork but thought it couldn't hurt to ask for any tips here first. (also it's nice to see the Cali DMV number for Canadians is unavailable for use from my area. ie. Canada?)

Is the DMV going to want me to have it weighed, inspected etc just for temporary plates? Also I doubt if the bill of sale was notorized, I didn't think of it at the time; could this be a big hurdle?

Worst case I could just skip the plates I suppose. In November I bought a new truck in South Carolina and drove the last 2500kms home without any plate after the dealer paper plate gave up the ghost.
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:39 PM   #2
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California DMV has a good Internet site...

...go here: www.dmv.ca.gov and you should find the info you're looking for.

I believe Calif still has a one day permit to move vehicles, and should include trailers. It should only be a modest cost for this permit, as you are only transporting the trailer out of state.

Sales or use tax could be a problem, as DMV would probably ask some questions along these lines. I have no idea how they treat purchases that are going to another state/country...maybe their web site has that info as well, so you can be prepared with the proper documents, etc...

Of course you could always bring along your own out of state 'plate' and then be one of many visitors....

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Old 04-03-2008, 07:04 AM   #3
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Thanks Mexray, I've been looking on their site and it does have a lot of information, I guess my needs are too specific. I've managed to make an online appointment for the 29th April (none available on the 28th?) so I'll have to see if I can get what I need as a walk on the 28th when I pick up the trailer. I have looked into getting an Alberta temporary transit plate but it would only be valid in Canada and then only for 3 days; so it will be of use just not in the USA.
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:59 AM   #4
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When we purchased our trailer in Delaware for export to Canada the dealer provided us with a temporary tag, somewhere in the $90 range I seem to remember. Could Inland RV help you in that respect?

And sales tax for us wasn't an issue as Delaware has no sales tax - but again, couldn't the dealer you're picking it up from give you some advice/information?

In case you need some info on importing into Canada, I detailed my experiences here. It's a step by step outline, and I've indicated a few glitches that happened that could have been avoided.
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:28 PM   #5
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One thing to bear in mind when importing a vehicle. When crossing the border the customs people want to have all the paperwork 3 days in advance. You fax them the info and they have time to check it out, make sure the vehicle is not stolen etc.

If you wait till you get to the border they have to do the same work and it can take a few hours. So make it easy on yourself by being prepared ahead of time.
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Old 10-13-2008, 08:22 PM   #6
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CA. DMV will not require an inspection or a wieghing. They may need to verify the VIN so make sure Andy points out where it is if you don't know already.

I have to warn you that in CA. the DMV is a direct revenue source so I'd imagine they will soak you pretty good.

If the registration has expired on your trailer. Do not admit that the wheels have touched a public street in any way or you will have to pay back registration.
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:46 PM   #7
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Hey thanks guys, guess I should have updated this thread! I brought it back no problems, the CA DMV issued a scrap of paper to keep in my TV for about $15 to cover transit and they didn't even want me to title it or anything. It wasn't even titled in CA, something the seller failed to mention to me! (it was some other state). Anyhow it all worked out and the border agents did the soaking...GST on the purchase price, repairs, replacement tires, the whole deal. I would sulk about that part but it was about $450 which is a small price to pay to get all 26' of dream trailer into Canada.
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Old 10-13-2008, 10:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truckasaurus View Post
Hey thanks guys, guess I should have updated this thread! I brought it back no problems, the CA DMV issued a scrap of paper to keep in my TV for about $15 to cover transit and they didn't even want me to title it or anything. It wasn't even titled in CA, something the seller failed to mention to me! (it was some other state). Anyhow it all worked out and the border agents did the soaking...GST on the purchase price, repairs, replacement tires, the whole deal. I would sulk about that part but it was about $450 which is a small price to pay to get all 26' of dream trailer into Canada.
Glad you got home safe and sound

Must post pics of your new 61

By the way - your trailer repairs should have been exempt - on GST - not all border crossings no all the details of taxation.

For any others that may pick up on this thread - As Canadians with the intention of importing a "vehicle" - trailer specifically - you are not required to purchase any "transit" sticker. Also you cannot title the trailer as you must be a resident of the US in order to do so. All that is required in any state while "in transit" is your bill of sale and the valid title upon purchase. However if there is a valid "tag" or plate then you may travel with that until such time as you have entered Canada or completed the "vehicle import" process (if you have bought a newer trailer).

Also no Vehicle import Form 1 can be completed in advance of the border crossing - as for any trailers over 15 years old the Form 1 has to be stamped exempt at the time of crossing of any Vehicle import rules as per each Province.

Biggest issue we have found is to be sure that you have a valid title of the trailer itself from the person you are purchasing from. Depending on the Province you are from and individual licensing offices that is where you can run into the problems in not being able to plate your trailer without a valid title to transfer ownership of.
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Old 07-08-2011, 10:25 PM   #9
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I am domiciled in CA, but ordered Airstream in Oregon due to the excellent dealership. From there we want to travel around Oregon for two weeks. DMV tells me I must travel back to CA to get license etc. within ten days. This turn around is not only expensive, but
ruins our travel plans, plus many DMV offices are not open on certain days. There must be
a better way to do this. I offered to pay the taxes before leaving to pick up the trailer, but DMV claims they need to verify VIN. Any ideas? This seems so unnecessary.
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Old 07-08-2011, 10:39 PM   #10
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Don't know if this helps. But we purchased a trailer in Louisiana and were headed home to Canada passing through numerous states - to the point where we would be licensing at home.

We were told by DOT and DMV that all we needed to do was to make up a paper plate for the back that said "Enroute" with the purchase date, place of Purchase and destination. As long as we had the bill of sale, and the signed over title in our possession, if stopped we would be fine with any state trooper.

We travelled through 8 states and were not stopped by anyone. Even crossing the border, we had our import papers as our the license/tag as we would not be issued a plate until we arrived at our home location MTO (equivalent to your DMV) As it was a vintage trailer it was exempt from the import program so we were not issued any sort of label that is attached to the tag - so our papers served that purpose. We were stopped on another occasion with those same papers and we were fine. The cop initially wanted to fine us for not having a license on the back of the trailer, but when presented the appropriate documentation (which of course he knew nothing about customs canada and their vehicle import and exempt program) but could not dispute the government stamped documents we had in our possession that matched the trailer registration number, our signatures and the bill of sale identifying the VIN number.

Hope that might help you a bit.
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:21 PM   #11
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GT1963

You said
Biggest issue we have found is to be sure that you have a valid title of the trailer itself from the person you are purchasing from. Depending on the Province you are from and individual licensing offices that is where you can run into the problems in not being able to plate your trailer without a valid title to transfer ownership of.

How do you know you have a valid title? I am planning on buying a trailer in Cali and bring it back to Ontario. I would like to make the return trip a vacation as well. Taking a month for the return trip. Do I need to pay taxes in Cali? I am getting all sorts of conflicting advice from the DMV. I would like the purchase the trailer soon and pick it up at a later date. I would have the current owner take it to a storage facility until I can get down there.

Any advice would be great.
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:39 PM   #12
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Hi. I sold a Airstream to a Canadian. It had current plates and registration, and valid Certificate of Title. All he did was go to the DMV the day of purchase and get a form, filled it out, said that was all he needed at the Canadian border. All other paperwork, plates etc keeps you legal in the USA.
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gator.bigfoo View Post
GT1963

You said
Biggest issue we have found is to be sure that you have a valid title of the trailer itself from the person you are purchasing from. Depending on the Province you are from and individual licensing offices that is where you can run into the problems in not being able to plate your trailer without a valid title to transfer ownership of.

How do you know you have a valid title? I am planning on buying a trailer in Cali and bring it back to Ontario. I would like to make the return trip a vacation as well. Taking a month for the return trip. Do I need to pay taxes in Cali? I am getting all sorts of conflicting advice from the DMV. I would like the purchase the trailer soon and pick it up at a later date. I would have the current owner take it to a storage facility until I can get down there.

Any advice would be great.
A valid title is a "State of California Certificate of Title". Anything else, IE Bill of Sale, won't work.
My suggestion, which I did when I sold mine, is get seller to fax (or scan and email)to you a copy of the Certificate of Title, and Registration, so you can verify all info BEFORE you buy it.
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:38 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Ganaraska View Post
One thing to bear in mind when importing a vehicle. When crossing the border the customs people want to have all the paperwork 3 days in advance. You fax them the info and they have time to check it out, make sure the vehicle is not stolen etc.

If you wait till you get to the border they have to do the same work and it can take a few hours. So make it easy on yourself by being prepared ahead of time.
Nope. For trailers you can just show up. For things with motors you need 48 hour notice.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:17 AM   #15
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A valid title is an official registration that has the correct serial number of the trailer on it with the RIGHT description of the trailer. It has to be in the NAME of the PERSON you are BUYING it from. So that your Bill of Sale is signed by the same person.

I.e. - we bought the ladybug - the son of the father who owned it was selling it to us. The lady he bought it off - never signed the back transfer to his father, and neither did the father sign it to his name - thus the registration had not been transferred from the old woman to his father, or from the father to his son.

For all we knew it could have been stolen..(little secret we trust people too much) we sorted that issue out but it was not legal and if we were caught we could have been in serious trouble. and 800.00 dollar airstream is NOT worth not have the correct documents.

Get them to fax you or scan and e-mail you a copy of the title. Make sure they are on the title - their name and their current address. That is what makes a title official and legal. In the SELLERS NAME!

All the states are different as to the document they use for the title - but they are pretty things - more like a fancy certificate - not like our small document that fits in a wallet.


As I said above - Registration/Bill of Sale - in Sellers name signed over to you and your name. You may have to have it notarized depends on state and counties.
If it is older than 15 years - when you sign the import paper at the board MAKE SURE YOU SIGN OFF THE EXEMPT SECTION AND YOU HAVE TO TELL THEM THAT TOO. Or you will be charged different taxes on AC, and inspections and stuff. It is a yellow form and you get to keep it - don't let the tell you otherwise.

Good luck.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:20 AM   #16
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Thanks to all who replied to my earlier questions on the title and taking it back. But now that I have purchased it I have a couple of questions regarding the RIV in Canada.

First the letter for recall that needs to be shown at the border? And at the inspection? RIV says I have 30 days, but can I submit before leaving Canada? The web site is rather confusing. They let you pay the $195 fee ahead of time, but not sure if you can submit the paper work then. The reason I am asking is that I plan on taking a nice trip back and that it may exceed my 30 days.

Second, is payment. The seller wishes to have a wire transfer. Never used one in my life. Here in Canada we generally use certified cheques. Not sure what the equivalent is in the US. Can I transfer the money to my US account and then withdraw it in a certified cheque or is a wire transfer better. Not sure how to set this all up.

Any help on these 2 items would be appreciated.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:31 AM   #17
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How old is this trailer? It is a trailer right? if it is older than 15 years then you DO NOT have to go through the Vehicle import program at all!!!

What you need is the Yellow VIP Exemption form to be filled out at the border. Make sure you have your bill of sale with the sellers signature the same on the title.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:49 AM   #18
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Dang I just read this full thread - why is it so difficult - when it is really simple.

Trailers - newer than 15 years - to come into Canada have to have an inspection thus they go through the Vehicle import Program. Same with ALL motorized vehicles. But because it is a trailer you do not have to have the 48 hour pre-inspection - it is done in your home town/province.

Trailers older than 15 years - do NOT go through the Vehicle Import Progarm. However they must at the border have a Bill of Sale and the Title transferred - or signed off by the seller - BOTH documents are needed at the CANADIAN border to import the trailer. At the border you tick off EXMEMPT under the Vehicle Import Program.

YOU DO NOT NEED PLATES - as now the THREE forms make up your legal transport to your HOME town - where you will go to the MTO which is now called something else - something services and Register it.

You can even go as far as asking to KEEP the original Title - (cause they are so pretty) and the woman/man at the desk just has to fill out another form saying they have seen the original title make a copy and keep for their files. You will have plates and a new Green - registration.

I have imported 4 vintage trailers and a new one that went through the Vehicle Import Program and it is NEVER as difficult as everyone is saying - it is easy - just know you have and ask for the right forms - every time we have crossed we have had to tell the border staff what to do - cause they are so dang dippy!
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:54 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by gator.bigfoot View Post
Thanks to all who replied to my earlier questions on the title and taking it back. But now that I have purchased it I have a couple of questions regarding the RIV in Canada.

First the letter for recall that needs to be shown at the border? And at the inspection? RIV says I have 30 days, but can I submit before leaving Canada? The web site is rather confusing. They let you pay the $195 fee ahead of time, but not sure if you can submit the paper work then. The reason I am asking is that I plan on taking a nice trip back and that it may exceed my 30 days.

Second, is payment. The seller wishes to have a wire transfer. Never used one in my life. Here in Canada we generally use certified cheques. Not sure what the equivalent is in the US. Can I transfer the money to my US account and then withdraw it in a certified cheque or is a wire transfer better. Not sure how to set this all up.

Any help on these 2 items would be appreciated.
A wire-transfer is s direct transfer from your bank account to theirs. It is not reversible. It is similar to an Interac transfer that we Canadians can do bank-to-bank, but can be done for larger amounts of money. Most banks will charge a fee for a wire transfer as it is done manually. They will need to provide you their full bank info and the 'Swift Code' which will let you send them money. Sometimes it can be done real time, other banks run the process over night.

As a seller, a wire-transfer is the best, because there is no way to fake the process. A bank-draft still leaves the possibility of a fraud.

If possible, try find a dealer to act as escrow... have the seller take the trailer to the dealer, they can store it for a few days while you send the money, once the seller gets the money the dealer can release the trailer to you. This gives you some protection against sending the money and never seeing the trailer.

Or, you can set up the transfer at your bank but have them wait until you call to complete the transfer. Go look at the trailer, call the bank, and you might have to wait a day for the money to go. You can give them a deposit to hold it.

Once you get your RIV file number, you can fax the recall letter to them with the file number. Until you've opened your case (and paid the $195) you can't send them anything.

If you are going to be doing a long trip, don't open your RIV file, or call them and tell them about your plans. They can add a note to your file giving you more time to have the inspection complete... I've done this...
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:14 PM   #20
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When we imported our 2005 trailer to Canada, the only problem we had was that the Canadian border official didn't fill out his paper work clearly enough when recording the VIN.

I had been warned this could be the case and watched for it and it did indeed happen!

When at the border, I noticed that the official's handwriting was "subject to interpretation" and tried to politely raise the issue hoping he would clarify his printing. He told me it was not a problem as written and there was no need for clarification - his tone f voice was such that I dropped it.

Sure enough, after getting home and waiting for the paperwork to be mailed to me so I could go and get the required inspection done by Canadian Tire, instead, I received a rather snotty email from the Canadian authorities teling my that the VIN was not recognized and that unless there was an error and I could resolve this within so many days, I would be obliged to return the trailer to the US!!!

After faxing copies and photos of the VIN I was able to resolve things but needless to say I was less than impressed with our border officials and theor procedures!

Incidentally we didn't have to send any advance notice of export/import intent to any border officials either US or Canadian - just show up at the border with all your required paperwork including a manufacturer's letter showing no outstanding recalls.

I think the advance notice is only needed for motorized vehicles.

Other than the handwriting problem the whole process was very smooth.

CTC's "Inspection" was very superficial. There were things they were supposed to have checked that were written only on stickers inside the trailer, yet they didn't require me to even open the trailer!

They basically seemed to only check the VIN plate on the outside of the trailer and did a 30 second walk around. Pretty easy work for $200 !

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