Obviously, there are many takes on the import to U.S. topic. We have purchased several trailers in Canada, two were used. We live in WA state (each state differs on their requirements, so check with your DMV). Here is the info I have compiled after hours of research and numerous border crossings. (Obviously, a passport, passport card, or enhanced driver's license
is also needed!)
Importing a travel trailer into the U.S. from Canada
Prior to picking up the trailer in Canada, check with your DMV to see if you need a temporary travel permit for transporting your trailer home. Permits vary in length of time, and depend on time from purchase of vehicle to return to state where permanent license
can be obtained.
Needed for import of used trailer that is less than 25 years old from Canada into U.S.
1.Valid proof of ownership, which is an original certificate of title
, or a certified copy of the original. It is helpful to also have a bill of sale from the previous owner.
2.Form HS-7 (find link on this page: Vehicle Importation and Certification Requirements
) when crossing border into U.S.; Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will give you CPB Form 7501 and you will need to submit that, along with title/registration to the DMV in the state where it is to be registered.
3.For a trailer less than 25 years old, that has a permanent affixed certification label from the manufacturer stating that it meets all U.S. safety standards, check box 2a on the HS-7 Form.
4.For trailers that do not have the permanent affixed label, a Manufacturer’s confirmation letter along with Form HS-7 is needed, stating that the trailer conforms to all U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety, Bumper, and Theft Prevention Standards (or that it conforms to all such standards) and the vehicle is not a salvage motor vehicle, a repaired salvage motor vehicle, or a reconstructed motor. In this case, check box 2b on the HS-7 form.
5.If the trailer has a label stating it meets U.S. vehicle safety standards, and is being imported for personal use, a CBP bond usually is not required. While the CBP Officer has the authority to require a CBP bond, I think it is rare for this to happen.
6. However, if your trailer is less than 25 years old, and does not have the safety standard compliance sticker and you are unable to get documentation from the original manufacturer, it is much more difficult to import. I would have had to hire an import broker to help me with this process, and they don't always want to bother with these older trailers. That is my experience, anyway.
For a Trailer that is at least 25 years old: (much easier to import, especially if the manufacturer is no longer available for certification or letter)
1. Certification from the trailer manufacturer is not required and Box 1 needs to be checked on Form HS-7.
2. Verification of age of trailer is needed for proof of age. The trailer also needs a permanent vin
number affixed on the trailer.
3. Travel permit, title/registration, and CBP form 7501 (completed by border guards) will be needed for transport and registration
in state of residence (at least, this is true in WA state). We could not get the license
ahead of time; we needed to have the title/registration and the CBP form to show them, but in some states, I guess this is possible. Always check with your DMV office before your purchase!
I edited the above after tips from Bob and Fran.