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Old 11-13-2011, 11:05 AM   #1
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Import from Canada to the US ...

I'm considering buying a trailer in BC. I live in Washington state in the US.

How do titles to trailers work in BC? How do I transfer that to WA?

Has anyone done the paperwork for the import at the border? Anything weird in that?

--Fred
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Old 11-13-2011, 07:39 PM   #2
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I'm looking into the same thing. Here's what I've found out so far:

If the trailer is Canadian made: no import taxes.

There must be a plate attached to the rig near where the GVW info is that specifies it is DOT certified. DOT - not Federally certified or any other stuff - DOT. In lieu of that, you need a Certificate of Compliance from the manufacture. It must be on company letterhead, have the serial/VIN number in the letter, state that the unit complies with DOT and has an EPA certification, and it must be signed by a company officer. I've talked with the US customs people at Roosville twice this week.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freddo411 View Post
I'm considering buying a trailer in BC. I live in Washington state in the US.

How do titles to trailers work in BC? How do I transfer that to WA?

Has anyone done the paperwork for the import at the border? Anything weird in that?

--Fred
Every trailer in BC has a trailer registration which is issued by the our provincial insurance company ICBC - that insurance form is also what is known as the trailers registration papers. It will have the owners name etc on it ( cant recall but it may have the serial number as well - the one for the cars does for sure) and the seller will need to provide you with properly signed registration transfer papers.

We in BC do have something that is pretty well the same thing that you in the USA call Free Title but we call it Title Registry.
For a small fee a person who intends to purchase a car or trailer or anything else for that matter can search the registry to ensure that the property has not been previously pledged as security by the owner or previous owners and is currently free and clear of any encumbrances and liens prior to purchasing. The search can be done on
-individual debtor name
- serial number of motor vehicle, boat, outboard motor, trailer
- document registration number

You can do the search on line or in person or hire a title registry agent.


http://www.bcregistryservices.gov.bc.ca/bcreg/pprpg/ppinfo.page?

You could actually ask the seller to do this for you and provide you with the paper work once done to show it is clear.


As far as what else you need sorry I cant help you - I have only imported from the USA to Canada.
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:17 AM   #4
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Fred, are you buying new or used? And which make of trailer?
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Old 11-14-2011, 06:32 AM   #5
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I believe the information Steve has provided only applies to new manufactured trailers. There's no way you'd get anything on company letterhead for a trailer no longer manufactured, e.g., Boler. But we know there's plenty of Bolers in the U.S. Hopefully someone that's recently purchased a used trailer can provide more info soon.
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:39 AM   #6
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While I cannot speak to the specifics of BC to Washington, I do have experience generally with importing a used egg to the US from Canada. This post may help others planning to bring an egg into the US.

Last year I bought a 1991 Bigfoot in Quebec. I had previously asked my home state of California what documentation I would need to register the trailer from out of state, as I would not be in California for some time. I also asked US Customs what documentation I would need to import the trailer.

California wanted an ownership certificate, signed by the previous owner, and a document from Customs showing the date and place of importation. Since I would be registering the trailer by mail from out of state, California also wanted verification of VIN from any US local law enforcement or DMV.

US Customs wanted nothing. I was told over the phone that all I had to worry about was registering the vehicle with my state. In fact, when I crossed the border into New York I had a hard time getting the importation document that California wanted. US Customs did not want to take the time--they were too busy processing trucks. At first the agent claimed no such form existed. When I pressed the issue and provided the form number California had
given me, the agent begrudgingly complied. He gave me the form based on the Quebec ownership certificate without ever stepping outside to see if the trailer existed, much less verify a VIN number or USDOT compliance sticker.

I had no trouble at all registering in California by mail.

As a side bar, a year our so earlier when I was looking at used eggs in BC I contacted a customs broker about what would be needed to bring an egg into the US. I was told I must use a broker and pay a large fee. Not so as out turns out.
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Old 11-14-2011, 10:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
I believe the information Steve has provided only applies to new manufactured trailers. There's no way you'd get anything on company letterhead for a trailer no longer manufactured, e.g., Boler. But we know there's plenty of Bolers in the U.S. Hopefully someone that's recently purchased a used trailer can provide more info soon.
Suspect Donna is correct. Going the other way US to BC with a trailer over 16 years of age you do not need the letter from the manufacture - actually the only thing you need is the bill of sale. You also do not need to send paper work in advance to the border when dealing with a trailer (not the case with a car). In my experence they will not even bother at the border to check to see if the VIN is on the trailer or even open the door of it for that matter.

You are best to call directly to the Border crossing directly and ask what they want to see. Also your local DMV to see what they want. It may be that the DMV will check to see if the VIN on the BC owners registration papers matches whats on trailer.
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Old 11-14-2011, 03:32 PM   #8
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Suspect Donna is correct.

You are best to call directly to the Border crossing directly and ask what they want to see.
Actually, my information came directly from the Customs Agents at the US Border crossing at Roosville on the Montana side. I called AND visited in person because I was considering importing an older RV.

Importing a new RV from Escape (and I imagine from BIGFOOT) is a snap.

Keep in mind that Homeland Security did not exist when all of those Bolers crossed the border.

Here in Eureka, Montana, you could walk across the border at Roosville, or get out and open the gate for a truckload of BC bud, until the mid-late 80s. The crossing wasn't staffed 24-hours until pretty recently.
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Old 11-14-2011, 06:13 PM   #9
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Here are the rules and links to the actual forms needed:

https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...r-into-the-u.s.

Appears as with importing to Canada the older the trailer the easier it gets - 25 years and older appears to be the number into the USA.
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:20 PM   #10
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Thanks for the link, Carol. I read the page and looked at the forms. I even saw point 1:

The vehicle is 25 or more years old or the equipment item was manufactured on a date when no applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard or Theft Prevention Standard was in effect.

I am not comfortable with your conclusion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Appears as with importing to Canada the older the trailer the easier it gets - 25 years and older appears to be the number into the USA.
One problem is that older trailers do not have the label stating that it meets US vehicle safety standards.

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.

None of the old trailers that I have looked at or called about (80s vintage) have that labeling. Like the Customs Agent told me yesterday in Roosville, if it doesn't have the label, you unhitch it and leave it here.

In that case, I guess you are looking at this situation:

... If it does not meet U.S. standards or is intended for resale, a CBP (Customs and Border Protection) bond must be obtained to cover the importation. You or the registered importer can obtain a CBP bond from a surety company.

And point #1 is dependent upon 591.5(b) which reads:

591.5 - Declarations required for importation.

No person shall import a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment into the United States unless, at the time it is offered for importation, its importer files a declaration, in duplicate, which declares one of the following:

(a)(1) . . . or

(2) The equipment item is not a system, part, or component of a motor vehicle and thus is not an item of motor vehicle equipment subject to the Federal motor vehicle safety, bumper, and theft prevention standards.

(b) The vehicle or equipment item conforms with all applicable safety standards (or the vehicle does not conform solely because readily attachable equipment items which will be attached to it before it is offered for sale to the first purchases for purposes other than resale are not attached), and bumper and theft prevention standards, and bears a certification label or tag to that effect permanently affixed by the original manufacturer to the vehicle, or by the manufacturer to the equipment item or its delivery container, in accordance with, as applicable, parts 541, 555, 567, 568, and 581, or 571 (for certain equipment items) of this chapter.


Trust me when I say that I'd love a definitive answer to this question. Given my conservative nature, I'd have to feel confident of any answer, and I am not after reading the above gibberish. Without an authoritative answer (qualified attorney), I'm not likely to proceed no matter how sweet the deal seems.
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Old 11-15-2011, 12:41 PM   #11
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Steve, your correct it is very gibberish! LOL And I do not doudt you in regards to what you where told. I only posted the link in case it was of some help to you.

As I indicated prior I dont know for sure what the process is going from Canada to the USA is and as stated its best to check directly at the point of entry as to what they expect (also suggest you ask more than one person at the border) and with your local DMV and with the trailer manufacture if they are still in biz - talk to them all. If the people you talk to seem at all unclear and are only reading the same gibberish you are reading, ask if there is someone else there who has more experence with it. My point is/was the gibberish isnt always as clear as it can be and there *may* be ways around the issues that come up.

I can only tell you through personal experence of importing a new car and a trailer less than 16 years of age going the *other* direction that when I first starting looking into the process and reading the rules it seemed like it was going to be a big problem/hassel requiring a lot of paper work and inspections etc. Really turned me off and in the case of the trailer it seem real risky. I was told by a few people what the processes was ahead of time (one was someone at the border & some from this forum) and I got a lot of conflicting info - funny enough it turned out the first person I talked to at the border was the most incorrect with information provided in regards to the process for trailers without motors. I was at first told that I had to fill out several forms and would have to send them to the US border a couple of days ahead of time before and then pick them up from the US border side before I could bring the trailer to the Canadian border side - turn out that was not the case with a trailer without a motor. In actual fact I did not have to send anything ahead of time to the border for the trailer and the Canadian customs did the forms for me once I got there. The car was a totally different process.

I was also originally told that if the trailer did not have the Candian Safety Standard sticker on it and it was less than 16 years old it would not be cleared at the border. A US sticker would not cut it. That was also incorrect. The truth was the folks at the border did not even go out and look for a sticker or check to see if the VIN on the paper work matched the VIN number on the trailer (as indicated I have no idea what they do on the US side). It turned out the trailer could be cleared at the border but not registered in Canada without a Canadian Safety standards sticker. I dug around a bit more and discovered that I could though bring it into the country and then take it to an inspection station where they checked to make sure it had tail lights, side markers etc in the correct position & that they had the correct markings on them and they also checked that the VIN matched the paper work. Our DMV gave me a sheet showing me ahead of time what needed to be on the trailer to pass the safety inspection. Funny enough when I got to the border the officer clearing the trailer actually went so far as to ask the powers that be if he could waver the need for an inspection for the trailer as it was only a few weeks shy of being at the cut off age. That was a no go but I though it really nice that they tried to be helpful.

As the trailer was less than 16 years old it also needed a recall letter - in my case it was Scamp who are still in biz so they supplied me with one with little problem and no cost - they only needed the serial number from me. Pretty simple. Dont know what the process is if the manufacture is no longer in biz but have a hunch that buried in all the gibberish there is probable a process for that as well! LOL The silly part of it is if the trailer was more than 16 years old going into Canada it did not need the recall letter or the saftey inspection to be cleared or registered. Go figure!

It *may* well be that you get lucky and find that some of the Bolers and Bigfoots do actually have a US Safety stickers on them as a lot where sold into the US market.

The magic number into Canada appears to be 16 years and older - as noted there is reference to 25 years and older on the US gibberish which *may or may not* be the magic number but it may well be worth exploring further as to what the process for that age group really is. Under all that gibberish *may* well be more gibberish that gives a clearer way. It may simple mean you need to take for an inspection to insure it has the correct light lens and they are in the correct position. It may be that what ever has to happen is governed by the state you are importing into and not the border agents.

Bottom line is Im like you and did not want to take a risk on it. But it really is worth the time to find someone who has actually done it going in the direction you are after with a trailer in the same age group, as the gibberish can be just that! :-)

Yes lots of changes on both sides of the border since 9/11 and I have done many many crossing including one within 2 weeks of 9/11 and many more since and at least 6 times just this year. As a result I can tell you that on either side things have not really changed all that much. You still have less than a 10% chance on either side of having them even open the door of your trailer and if and when they do it usually because they are really intreasted in Fiberglass trailers and want to know what the headroom is like. ;-) You also have less than a 10% chance of getting someone on either side who got up on the wrong side of the bed and decides to be less than friendly in their questioning of you.

Good luck with it and PLEASE let us know what you end up discovering regarding what the actual process is going from Canada to the US.
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Old 11-15-2011, 01:31 PM   #12
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Unless things have changed in the last year I was told by HLS and Cal state DMV that older than 25 years is no problem. Newer than 25 years needs the DOT sticker. If it does not have the DOT sticker a letter from the builder on their letter head stating that the trailer meets the DOT standards will be needed. If that is not available as in the case of a used Bigfoot with no sticker a professional "importer" can make it happen by doing an inspection and posting some sort of bond. It was very complicated to find out this info, it requiered many phone calls to government agencies and speaking to several people here that had imported trailer. All the sited information with the links was on my computer that died.

591.5 about as clear as mud. It refers to motor vehicles...not trailers though some say it covers RV type trailer too. I kept asking about "travel trailers that are used for living in while camping" to make it clear about what I was talking about..not a horse trailer, or a car trailer, or an enclosed utility trailer.

It's hit and miss and we were not willing to chance it.
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Old 11-15-2011, 03:48 PM   #13
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Carol & Lizbeth...I think we may be getting close to visibility in that murky abyss of government regulations.

I'm going to print out the documentation from the links that Carol provided and drive back to the customs office. It's only 10 miles from here. Maybe then we can get some solid information. The problem that I've found in the past is that you can talk to two different guys in the Customs office and get two different answers.
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Old 11-15-2011, 03:57 PM   #14
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The problem that I've found in the past is that you can talk to two different guys in the Customs office and get two different answers.
You'll find the same thing from DMV, individuals AND offices. The important thing is when you get the answers you like... document, document, document! The... who said what, when and where
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