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Do I need to temp import?

donovanjames

Member
Jun 3, 2019
18
0
Oregon
Hello all,

My family and I are moving to Victoria on August 19. I have a study permit visa and my wife has an open work permit visa, and we will be in Victoria for 2-2.5 years. We are driving two cars from Oregon and taking the ferry from Port Angeles. My 2003 Subaru is exempt as it's 16 years old, but my wife's 2011 Subaru is not exempt. Everything I've read seems unclear whether we absolutely must do a temporary import, especially because we will be temporary residents and we have no plans for PR status as of right now. Do we need to temp import? Do we have to when crossing the border? Do we need to let them know we're coming ahead of time? Both vehicles are US insured and approved by insurance for long-term Canada driving, we have registrations and clean titles in our names for both vehicles, our Oregon licenses are renewed, and we both have International driver's licenses.

As always, any info is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 

PMM

VIP Member
Jun 30, 2005
24,551
1,547
Hi

Hello all,

My family and I are moving to Victoria on August 19. I have a study permit visa and my wife has an open work permit visa, and we will be in Victoria for 2-2.5 years. We are driving two cars from Oregon and taking the ferry from Port Angeles. My 2003 Subaru is exempt as it's 16 years old, but my wife's 2011 Subaru is not exempt. Everything I've read seems unclear whether we absolutely must do a temporary import, especially because we will be temporary residents and we have no plans for PR status as of right now. Do we need to temp import? Do we have to when crossing the border? Do we need to let them know we're coming ahead of time? Both vehicles are US insured and approved by insurance for long-term Canada driving, we have registrations and clean titles in our names for both vehicles, our Oregon licenses are renewed, and we both have International driver's licenses.

As always, any info is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
1. Both vehicles will have to temporarily imported, see: http://tinyurl.com/y5vhomg6
2. The Temp import will be valid until the date of your study/work permit. Note that the vehicles are only for your personal use, can't be sold.
3. No, you don't need to let CBSA know you are coming ahead of time, and you don't have to export the vehicles from the US>
4. Your spouse with the work permit, will have to exchange her DL within 90 days to a BC license. see: https://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/moving-bc/Pages/Moving-from-another-country.aspx The spouse with the study permit doesn't.
 

donovanjames

Member
Jun 3, 2019
18
0
Oregon
Thank you for all that info. I don't see your point about needing to import my 2003, however. As I said, it's 16 years old, provable by the title, and according to RIV's website:

Vehicles over 15 years old
All vehicles (except buses) that are 15 years old or more from the date of manufacture, are exempt from the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) program. You must be able to prove the age of the vehicle to the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA). Buses (including school buses) manufactured before January 1, 1971 are also exempt from the RIV program. More information about RIV exemptions.

I am also not sure about the BC license requirement for my wife. She doesn't qualify as a student or SAWP worker. However, surrendering her US license seems unreasonable--she just renewed her Oregon license, we will be temporary residents and plan on visiting family in the US quite often, and she will not be legally able to drive in the US without a US license. It should also be noted that we both have International Driver's Licenses approved for Canadian driving via AAA in the U.S.
 
Last edited:

donovanjames

Member
Jun 3, 2019
18
0
Oregon
I didn’t mean any offense. My point is that we’re not permanent residents and surrendering her US license seems unusual to me, especially because foreign licenses are okay in the US, including Canadian licenses. I thought this was reciprocal. I would also worry that police back home wouldn’t know be up on international driving laws. But we will obviously follow the law. They’re just new to us.

And with the IDP, I was just following Canada.ca’s advice: “If you plan to use a foreign driver’s licence in Canada, you should get an International Driving Permit (IDP) in your home country. An IDP will give you a translation of your licence into French and English.” My friend from France did the same thing when he came to the US.
 

YVR123

Champion Member
Jul 27, 2017
1,673
485
https://www.welcomebc.ca/Start-Your-Life-in-B-C/Daily-Life/Driving-in-B-C#anchor1
Your Driver’s Licence
You must have a valid licence to drive in B.C.

  • If you are a new B.C. resident, and have a valid driver’s licence from another country or province, you can use your licence for 90 days. You must apply for a B.C. licence within 90 days.
  • If you are a visitor, you can drive in B.C. for up to six months with a valid driver’s licence from your country. If you have an International Driving Permit, you must also carry the accompanying foreign licence.
  • If you have a licence another province of Canada or certain other countries, you can apply for a B.C. licence. You don’t have to take a test to qualify.
  • If your driver’s licence is from anywhere else, you will need to take a knowledge test and a road test. Get the free guide, Learn to Drive Smart, online or from driver licensing offices.
 

donovanjames

Member
Jun 3, 2019
18
0
Oregon
Thanks. I emailed ICBC earlier today and they confirmed what was said above about surrendering the license and IDP, but thankfully it’s likely that neither a knowledge nor road test will be required. I just wish I would’ve known about this earlier because my wife didn’t need an IDP or to get her license renewed. There are too many details to keep track of.
 

Danaan

Star Member
Jan 23, 2017
56
13
Virginia, USA
App. Filed.......
15-05-2017
Thank you for all that info. I don't see your point about needing to import my 2003, however. As I said, it's 16 years old, provable by the title, and according to RIV's website:

Vehicles over 15 years old
All vehicles (except buses) that are 15 years old or more from the date of manufacture, are exempt from the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) program. You must be able to prove the age of the vehicle to the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA). Buses (including school buses) manufactured before January 1, 1971 are also exempt from the RIV program. More information about RIV exemptions.

I am also not sure about the BC license requirement for my wife. She doesn't qualify as a student or SAWP worker. However, surrendering her US license seems unreasonable--she just renewed her Oregon license, we will be temporary residents and plan on visiting family in the US quite often, and she will not be legally able to drive in the US without a US license. It should also be noted that we both have International Driver's Licenses approved for Canadian driving via AAA in the U.S.
Does the exemption for vehicles over 15 years old mean that I don't even need to create a RIV file for such a vehicle, I only need proof of its age when I import it?