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Old 11-09-2020, 10:17 PM   #1
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Importing to US from Canada during Covid

I recently purchased a used 21C that was listed here in the sale section. One small problem, I'm in the US and the trailer was in Canada. With the US/Canada border closed to travel, I set about figuring out how to get the trailer into the US.

It is possible to bring a trailer from Canada into the US, however, it requires a lot of patience and trust. Here's the process that I used:

Only essential travel is allowed between US and Canada. There are some exemptions for family travel, but otherwise there are not many options. I contacted the Canadian border and asked if I could have a waiver to travel into B.C. for 5 hours to pick up the trailer, but my request was denied.

The only viable option that I found was to hire a transport company that was allowed to cross between the US and Canada since delivery of "goods" is considered essential.

After some PMs here and then texts with the seller. I FaceTimed with the seller who walked me through the condition of the trailer live since I was not able to see it in person. I then sent a deposit to hold the trailer while I made the transportation arrangements. Not knowing if it was possible, we signed a contract which could be terminated if the trailer could not be imported to the US

I contacted https://www.uscanadaautotransport.com (USCANADA) who advertised that they could transport RVs between Canada and the US. I received a quote and a contract. You will need the following documents:

1. Copy of your passport
2. Signed Bill of Sale - be specific in the document, I included the VIN number and a copy of the VIN sticker - Here's where you have to have trust with the seller, I wired full payment to the seller based purely on trust, a huge leap of faith but I felt comfortable with the seller based on my constant contact and FaceTime calls
3. Signed copy of the Canadian registration transferring ownership
4. Picture showing the DOT sticker and VIN number of the trailer
5. General pictures of the trailer outside

With all of the above submitted, I then received US Customs documents from USCANADA which I filled in and sent back.

I was then contacted that they had a driver available to pick up the trailer the next day (yes it suddenly happened quickly). The driver contacted the seller, picked up the trailer and transported it across the border.

Thankfully, the transport company had a recommendation of a storage yard in Bellingham WA https://www.bellinghampantec.com that could receive my trailer and hold it. However, what I failed to realize is that I had to rent a space at the storage yard, so I quickly scrambled to rent a space and sent them a copy of the bill of sale as well as a short email authorizing them to receive the trailer on my behalf.

In the end it all worked out, it took about 30 days to make all the arrangements but I'm glad that I did it.

There may be other transport companies who can also cross the border but this is who I used. If you find another transport company you may have to hire a customs broker as well, USCANDA included broker services as part of the overall package.

Hopefully this information is useful to others who find a trailer in Canada and want to bring it into the US.

The next step is to register the trailer in the US....hopefully this goes smoothly (and yes I drove from Bellingham WA to CA w/o a license plate on the trailer and had multiple highway patrol pass me, I figured I would just say Covid and Bill of Sale...., thankfully I didn't have to)

Overall it cost me around $1600 which included, customs fees (1% of sales price), Broker fees, transport fees, paperwork fees and storage fees.

Kelly
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Old 11-10-2020, 08:46 AM   #2
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Are any of those fees deductible? Not from your income taxes but perhaps from the sales tax? Also, are any refundable if you make a request to Canadian authorities.

Thanks for the post, an entirely new process that I do not think has been covered before.

With our first Escape, delivered in 2010, there were brokerage fees of $500. Since there were three of us sharing a truckload of trailers it was a substantial amount of money to import them into the US. As a result we settled on Sault St Marie Ontario for the delivery location. No fees when you drove it across the border. Since all three new owners were in adjoining states it was a convenient place. I believe these were the first trailers shipped to the US, I arranged all the shipping and the carrier we used then became the trucking firm Escape used for many years thereafter. Let It Ride Carriers.
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Old 11-10-2020, 08:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by fudge_brownie View Post
Are any of those fees deductible? Not from your income taxes but perhaps from the sales tax? Also, are any refundable if you make a request to Canadian authorities.
I haven't looked into it, the only fee that may be deductible is the 1% import fee paid to the US Gov, but I'm doubtful.
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Old 11-10-2020, 11:07 AM   #4
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A good post and maybe one that should be a stickie.

A lot of folks are intimidated by the border and importing a trailer. I've done trailer and vehicle imports multiple times the other way and it's just a process. Go through the process and it's no big deal. And once you've done it once you start looking in Craiglist posting on the other side of the border.

One note of caution though. I'd advise anyone that's going to tow from the border home, whether it's only WA or through many states to try to get some temporary insurance hopefully with a permit. If I buy something in WA I get their temporary permit, no biggie. If I buy something in CA I get temporary insurance. Don't mind buying stuff across the line but my comfort level doesn't include no insurance.

Ron
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Old 11-10-2020, 01:15 PM   #5
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Thumbs up

Congrats, Kelly, and thanks for sharing your timely (for only a relatively short time I hope) importing experience.
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Old 11-10-2020, 01:25 PM   #6
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Hi Kelly
Sounds like your process went very smoothly, congratulations on your trailer.

Was your trailer for sale in the Vancouver area, as I am thinking that finding someone to transport a trailer is probably a lot easier if the trailer is for sale close to a large US border crossing.
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Old 11-10-2020, 02:29 PM   #7
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Sales taxes on large purchases made during the year used to be deductible, but each year that rule changes. Wait until the current Pub 17 is issued for 2020!
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Old 11-10-2020, 03:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
One note of caution though. I'd advise anyone that's going to tow from the border home, whether it's only WA or through many states to try to get some temporary insurance hopefully with a permit. If I buy something in WA I get their temporary permit, no biggie. If I buy something in CA I get temporary insurance. Don't mind buying stuff across the line but my comfort level doesn't include no insurance.

Ron
if you have a comprehensive insurance policy on your vehicle it may well offer temporary coverage on a new purchase, including a camper, typically for up to like 30 days from date of purchase. check with your insurance company. We have combined homeowners/vehicle insurance and for sure it provided camper coverage until we got it home and registered in our name.
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Old 11-10-2020, 03:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
if you have a comprehensive insurance policy on your vehicle it may well offer temporary coverage on a new purchase, including a camper, typically for up to like 30 days from date of purchase

Best check with your insurance agent. Don't believe this is applicable in Canada, and insurance varies from province to province and state to state.
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Old 11-10-2020, 03:42 PM   #10
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Yes it was in Burnaby B.C. - having it close to the border I think definitely made it easier. If not I would have likely needed to find someone to bring it close to the border.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kootenaigirl View Post
Hi Kelly
Sounds like your process went very smoothly, congratulations on your trailer.

Was your trailer for sale in the Vancouver area, as I am thinking that finding someone to transport a trailer is probably a lot easier if the trailer is for sale close to a large US border crossing.
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Old 11-10-2020, 03:43 PM   #11
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Upon purchase of the trailer, I called my insurance company and put a policy in place. When I towed it home it was insured....just in case


Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
Best check with your insurance agent. Don't believe this is applicable in Canada, and insurance varies from province to province and state to state.
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Old 11-10-2020, 04:46 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
Best check with your insurance agent. Don't believe this is applicable in Canada, and insurance varies from province to province and state to state.
well, the OP was picking the trailer up from a transporter on the US side of the border and towing cross country to go home.
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Old 11-10-2020, 05:19 PM   #13
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well, the OP was picking the trailer up from a transporter on the US side of the border and towing cross country to go home.

My advice is still to check coverage with YOUR Agent.
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