From sounds of it, it looks like there are two steps. 1. Export from USA and 2. Import in Canada.
There's actually a third step, registering the car in Canada
For step 1: Exporting
Do I need to leave my car with US side of POE for 3 days even if I fax them all the docs 3 days in advance? If that's the case, what will happen to my luggage which is inside the car? Do I need to come back after 3 days to pick up my car? I am planning on loading my car with all the luggage so I am not sure how that will work out.
The requirements vary by POE - and not all POE allow you to export a car in the US - so it really is important to look up what the requirements are for the specific port you will be exporting the vehicle at. You can find details at http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/contacts/ports/
. I would call to double check.
You don't have to leave the car with the POE (in fact, usually you can't) - you just have to make sure they have the info they need available before you show up at the border, usually 72 hours business hours before you arrive at the POE to run the export process.
The three days the POEs ask for (either after receiving the original title or after receiving e-mailed/faxed info) is to run checks on the car including VIN checks and check the title to ensure the car's ownership is ok. AmericanInQuebec was lucky enough that they were willing to run the checks while she was there and they probably figured that it wasn't recently stolen in the US since she had just arrived from Canada, but you can't bank on them being so understanding, so if you make sure they have the info they need ahead of time you'll make the process smooth for yourself!
For step 2: Importing
Does the importing process starts at the canadian side of the border and how long does it take?
Not long at all. You just need to fill out a form and pay taxes (none if the car is on your B4). You also need to pay the RIV import fee - either at the border or you can do it after by phone or on their website.
The RIV manages the import process on the Canadian side:
- After you import the car with Canadian Customs at the border, you pay RIV the import fee which covers the process, import inspection at Canadian tire, registration as a legally imported vehicle, and sticker you place on the car. If you don't pay the fee at the border, you pay this fee by phone to the RIV or at their website. The fee is 195+taxes.
- The RIV will send you Form 2, which you take to Canadian Tire for the import inspection. If you include an e-mail on the form you fill out at Canadian customs, they will e-mail this form to you.
- You take Form 1 (from the border) and Form 2 to Canadian Tire and once you pass the import inspection, Candian Tire will stamp your forms and advise the RIV that you passed the inspection. You will need this to register your car with your province.
Tip - depending on your province and the year of your vehicle, it may make sense to get additional inspections you'll need to register the car at the same time at Canadian Tire (eg., emissions and safety tests for Ontario, which will be ~$100.)
Can I drive with US license in Canada
In most provinces, yes, but only for a certain number of days.
and can I get auto insurance with US license or do I have to wait for PR card to get the Canadian license first.
Once you land you can use your COPR as confirmation of residency, if needed, to get your driver's licence. You may not even need to provide this to get your Canadian licence, though. (and it drove me nuts initially to see licence in the British spelling vs license in US spelling!)
Usually, Canadian insurers insure you based on your Canadian drivers' license.
For step 3, registering the car in your province, reach out to the Ministry of Transportation of the Province you are heading to to get the details depending on the year of your vehicle, etc.