Registering an Imported Vehicle From Outside Canada

Registering an Imported Vehicle From Outside Canada

In order to register a vehicle in Alberta that has been imported from outside Canada, the vehicle must be in Alberta and you will need to produce the following documents to a registry agent:

  • Proof of Ownership of the Vehicle
  • Valid proof of insurance ‘pink card’ relating to the vehicle
  • Transport Canada Vehicle Import Form (Form 1)
  • For used vehicles, either an Out of Province Vehicle Inspection, Salvage Vehicle Inspection or Commercial Vehicle Inspection form as applicable
  • For new vehicles, a New Vehicle Information Statement (NVIS) or Certificate of Origin

Once you have your completed Transport Canada Vehicle Import Form (Form 1), take the form and your proof of ownership documents into a registry agent. Based on these documents, they will provide you with the appropriate inspection request form that you need to present to the inspection station. Once you have the completed inspection form from the inspection station, return to the registry agent with all the above mentioned documentation to have your vehicle registered. There may be other requirements depending on your specific situation (i.e. valid Alberta insurance, identification, etc.). A registry agent can assist you in determining this.

Note: Off highway vehicles, prorate vehicles and trailers are exempt from the requirement for an Out of Province Inspection. A commercial vehicle might be exempt from an Out of Province Inspection when a Commercial Vehicle Inspection Certificate was issued within the last 14 days. For further information, please contact Alberta Transportation.

Please see the Related Resources and Other Information section for links to The Registrar of Imported Vehicles website for more information on imported vehicles. See the Alberta Transportation website for more information on vehicle inspections.

Buying a used vehicle in the U.S.?

Avoid fraud by using this new online service…

Go to: National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (external site*)

The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) is an online tool developed by the United States Department of Justice to help protect consumers from automobile fraud. If you are buying a used vehicle in the United States, you can use NMVTIS to access the vehicle’s brand history, odometer data and basic vehicle information. Brand history gives you information about the vehicle’s current or prior condition, including whether it has ever been classed as “salvage” or “flood”.

For many vehicles, you can even access the full title record from the state where the vehicle is currently registered. The NMVTIS website will link you to your choice of online service providers. For a small fee, you can then purchase a report on any vehicle for which NMVTIS has records.

NMVTIS currently has information for over 316,000,000 vehicles with over 46 million brand records and over 1 million records of vehicles designated as junk, salvage or total loss as reported by junk yards, recyclers and insurers. NMVTIS is the only source that all insurance companies in US are required to report to.

Transport Canada's New Pre-Clearance Program for Approved Importers

Transport Canada has a new pre-clearance program whereby pre-approved importers may import specific vehicles from specific manufacturers.

The purpose of Transport Canada's Pre-clearance Program is to facilitate importation by conveying shipments through Customs with minimal inspection and scrutiny. Pre-clearance constitutes an agreement between a foreign manufacturer, a Canadian commercial importer and Transport Canada.

When a pre-clearance importer brings in authorized vehicles, they submit a master form 1 for all the vehicles in the shipment to Transport Canada; they are not required to have individual Transport Canada's Vehicle Import Form (form 1) for each vehicle. These vehicles are exempt from the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) program. To be eligible, the importer must be importing the specific make and model vehicle directly from the manufacturer, not a dealer or other third party.

Importers and the list of vehicles they are authorized to import can be searched at the following Transport Canada website

These importers often sell these imports to Canadian dealers or auction houses who then sell them to the clients. The client will not be given a form 1; they will only get a certificate of origin. Since there is no form 1 for these vehicles, and the registry agent will not know when a vehicle is exempt under this program, they will require a letter, on letterhead, from the importer stating;

  • They are an authorized importer in the Transport Canada Pre-Clearance list of importers
  • They are in good standing with Transport Canada
  • They are authorized to import [insert make, model of vehicle] from [insert manufacturer] without the requirement to submit individual Form 1’s for each vehicle.
  • The vehicle VIN number is [insert VIN number]
  • The letter must be signed and dated by an authorized signatory at the import company.

The registry agent can substitute this letter in place of the form 1 that is normally required and proceed with the registration.



*Links to external websites are provided solely for information purposes. The government of Alberta is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, efficacy or timeliness of these websites.