It's Easy to Import an RV to Canada!
by Barbara Shelly & Jake Dyck
Hi Marianne and Randy,
The last time we spoke was at the end of October (2008) from Utah (Big Mesa and Lake Powell). We are now in Mazatlan, Mexico! Gorgeous as usual. Daytime is 28 deg., and nights are cool enough for sleep. We cruised down through all the beaches we could find, often boondocking at the Pemex gas stations. We love it here.
Last year (March, 2009) we imported a 2001 Winnebago Journey diesel pusher from Arizona to BC. It was a snap. We feel our biggest ally in all of this was our sales lot. We dealt with RV World in Yuma which is a family-owned company that does not move about with the seasons. We can't say enough good things about this very reputable company. And no, we don't have shares!
We did all the research on the task, mostly from the RIV site, and knew what we were getting into. One very important step is checking RIV to be sure the vehicle-of-choice is importable.
These totally nice folks are used to dealing with Canadians, and have a reference binder they use to make sure all is in order. They phone the Canadian Customs at your chosen point-of-entry to make sure they will accept Importations. (Some crossings do not in BC). Our usual route was not on the list, so they called the next closest one. When we got to the border, we first had to "Export" the vehicle from the US. Some people have had a wait of up to three days while their papers were processed -- not us! RV World had faxed ahead to the US side all that was needed for our Export -- it took 5 minutes to sign the paper work.
We then proceeded to the Canadian side which took a little longer -- 45 minutes to fill in all the blanks and pay the GST. (soon HST for both of us!). Once again, RV WorldYuma had sent ahead all that was needed, and we carried copies. No inspection; were on our way.
We bought our rig on the 18th of December, 2008 (nice Christmas present!), and stayed in the US until the 16th March on our 90-day permit. Our insurance needs were covered by Progressive Insurance, mostly on-line. We had to have a phone call to complete because nobody wants a Canadian credit card!!
It was quite simple to have our vehicle inspected to make sure it complied with the Canadian regulations before licensing. In BC, Canadian Tire was the unlikely source of inspection and paperwork!
Our only hiccup was on the day we entered Canada. Even though we had a one-year policy, our US vehicle insurance from Progressive was void after Exporting/Importing. We drove through Vancouver and onto the ferry to Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, blissfully ignorant of the fact that we had NO insurance. Yikes. Now we know. (Progressive gave us an immediate refund).
We would not hesitate to Import again. In fact, that is our plan for this coming year. It truly helps to keep ahead of the depreciation by buying in US and selling at home. We do not plan to be Professional Hagglers, but our tastes are always more than we can afford *grin*. We boondocked around Mexico for 14 years, starting with an old 24 foot C-class, no tow car, and relied on the vendors to bring us vegetables and water. It has always been marvelous fun -- just us and our kayaks. Now we are a little longer-in-the-tooth and are enjoying the comforts of enormous tanks -- but still count the drops!
Your picture, "The view from our patio doors" is wonderful and so descriptive. As always, we love your Tips and Newsletters, and look forward to your next adventure!
Regards, Barbara Shelly-Dyck
PS. Please feel free to edit and use any of this rambling you wish. B.