Thank you for posting this in details...I was able to follow this post to get my car tranferred from USA to CANADA without much hassles.I was successfully export the vehicle from USA and import it in Canada. I have to give a heads up that it is a tedious task, but achievable. I am giving steps in details. Please make a note that I am providing the steps for crossing over the NewYork to Ontario. Other borders in the middle and west, there may be a slight change in the process. But 90% will remain the same.
Please read through each step. Each steps are very important. Do not miss anything. This is not an official version. I am just trying to help out people. Please do go through the official documentations which I have mentioned below.
1. The vehicle should not have any vehicle loan(lien). Basically you need to have the title in hand. If you have the loan, then you need to have the letter from the bank/institution that you are allowed to export the car and cross the border.
2. The vehicle should not have any open Recalls. All the recalls should be cleared before we export. Email your vehicle manufacturer to provide a letter stating that this car is cleared from all recalls and this car is compliant with Canadian safety and compliance standards. In case you have any open recalls, go to manufacturer, get it fixed. Then wait for one day. Contact the manufacturer again to get the recall clearance letter.
3. Once the manufacturer sends this letter, email them to RIV email@example.com. They will confirm in a day or 2 that they have accepted the same and the car is cleared for import.
4. You can get the importers checklist by navigating to this website and provide the details of your car. riv.ca/ImporterChecklist.aspx
5. Email the border customs office on both USA and Canada sides to get the information. It is very important to do it because they will let you know in case anything has changed.
Not every bridge allows exporting the vehicle. In NewYork state, only Queenston-Lewiston bridge allows exporting the vehicle.
6. You need to register in AES direct website and get the ITN number. The details will be mentioned in the email which the customs team send to you. It is a simple form. But since I didn’t had the time, I contacted one agent to get it done. I had to pay around 100$ to get it done. You have to provide the border crossing date when you fill in the form. If any details change, please update it before you cross the border.
7. Send the ITN number, VIN number to BUFFALOVINNYOFFICE@DHS.GOV 72 hours before crossing the border. This is very important. If it is not met, you will not be able to export the vehicle.
8. The border can be crossed only during the weekdays 8am-4pm. You have to go to Queenston Lewiston bridge on US side and look for customs office and check for Vehicle export office.
9. Give the title, ITN details, email proof etc. Please keep your legal presence proof in USA. For e.g. valid i797A document for H1B holders. They specifically asked me for my legal presence document.
10. They will put a seal in the title and will handover the title.
11. Cross the border (do not drive back to USA). Once you reach Canada side, please inform them that you are exporting the car. They will ask you to park the car near in the parking lot and carry all the documents inside the office.
12. Please visit the office, complete the landing procedures. For car export, provide them the title and copr. Fill in the FORM-1 (Auto import form for Canada). They will put a seal in Form 1 and will give it back to you. They will also give one blue color paper (invoice). Please keep these 2 documents with you. It is very important.
13. Go to RIV website, provide the number which is given in the Form 1, and make the payment. It is around 350$.
14. Once you take an apartment in Canada, you will get your lease agreement. Go to driving test office and transfer your license.
15. Take the car for Canada safety inspection and RIV inspection. Better to take appointment because of long wait period. The RIV inspection is free since you already pay directly to RIV (included in 350$). But safety inspection is something which you have to pay. In Canadian tire, it was 130$. But I was able to get it done from another shop for 60$.
16. Search for auto insurance. Get one before you register the car.
17. Once you have both the documents ready, go to Service Ontario and get the car registered. You need to give Title, Your Ontario DL, Safety clearance, Form 1, Application form, proof of insurance.
18. They will register the car and will give the new number plates.
19. Send the old number plate back to US, your state DMV. Disconnect the US insurance after this.
All official details can be found in this website.
I couple of updates though...Point#14 : If you are exchanging your USA drivers license with a canadian one, they dont ask for an address proof, but they will surely ask for the USA driver's license and an Abstract from the motor vehicle. If you are from New Jersey, the process is a little more complex given that the abstract applied for online with DMV is not acceptable here in Ontario, I had to mail in a form called DO21 to the DMV and then get a details abstract which was still confusing but still worked after i provided them not only the current DL but also the ones from past (punched/expired ones). Good Luck.