Going to Canada to buy a used trailer and bring it back to the US. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-19-2018, 11:44 AM   #1
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Going to Canada to buy a used trailer and bring it back to the US.

I plan on traveling to Canada in the next couple of weeks to pick up a used fiberglass trailer. Does anyone know what red tape, paperwork, title, registration is required to make such a purchase? Are there duties, extra taxes, hidden costs? What paperwork is required? Honestly I have no idea what to expect. I would have already went but don't have a passport and my Washington extended license won't be here for a week or so.
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Old 08-19-2018, 12:02 PM   #2
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A search produced a number of threads on importing from Canada. As I recall trailers over 25 years old are easier than newer ones.

importing from canada
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Old 08-19-2018, 12:15 PM   #3
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Steve,

Here is my experience based on importing 3 FGRVs from Canada to MI (Washington may be somewhat different). Over the past 5 years found that:

1. The Customs and Border Patrol form you need to get at the border is CBP 1750.
2. In both Ontario and Manitoba, the registration and title are the SAME document. Have the seller sign that document over to you. Also get a bill of sale from the seller. Present both these documents along with the CBP 1750 to the State of Michigan. In return you will receive a title, registration and permanent plate.
3. No plate was present when transporting the trailer through Ontario, Manitoba, Wisconsin and Michigan, although I believe the Ontario website indicates that a provincial temporary plate can be obtained.
4. No provincial HST is applicable if importing to the US.
5. No US import tax is applicable if the camper is over 25 years old.
6. No US DOT sticker is required if the camper is over 25 years old.
7. State of Michigan proof of insurance not required for a trailer (ever). State of Michigan website also mentions this.

Phew!

-John
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Old 08-19-2018, 12:44 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by John in Michigan View Post
Steve,

Here is my experience based on importing 3 FGRVs from Canada to MI (Washington may be somewhat different). Over the past 5 years found that:

1. The Customs and Border Patrol form you need to get at the border is CBP 1750.
2. In both Ontario and Manitoba, the registration and title are the SAME document. Have the seller sign that document over to you. Also get a bill of sale from the seller. Present both these documents along with the CBP 1750 to the State of Michigan. In return you will receive a title, registration and permanent plate.
3. No plate was present when transporting the trailer through Ontario, Manitoba, Wisconsin and Michigan, although I believe the Ontario website indicates that a provincial temporary plate can be obtained.
4. No provincial HST is applicable if importing to the US.
5. No US import tax is applicable if the camper is over 25 years old.
6. No US DOT sticker is required if the camper is over 25 years old.
7. State of Michigan proof of insurance not required for a trailer (ever). State of Michigan website also mentions this.

Phew!

-John
Rule #6 is correct, but I believe if the trailer is less than 25 years old, there MUST be a US DOT sticker on the trailer, or the trailer stays in Canada.
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Old 08-19-2018, 01:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by John in Michigan View Post
Steve,

Here is my experience based on importing 3 FGRVs from Canada to MI (Washington may be somewhat different). Over the past 5 years found that:

1. The Customs and Border Patrol form you need to get at the border is CBP 1750.
2. In both Ontario and Manitoba, the registration and title are the SAME document. Have the seller sign that document over to you. Also get a bill of sale from the seller. Present both these documents along with the CBP 1750 to the State of Michigan. In return you will receive a title, registration and permanent plate.
3. No plate was present when transporting the trailer through Ontario, Manitoba, Wisconsin and Michigan, although I believe the Ontario website indicates that a provincial temporary plate can be obtained.
4. No provincial HST is applicable if importing to the US.
5. No US import tax is applicable if the camper is over 25 years old.
6. No US DOT sticker is required if the camper is over 25 years old.
7. State of Michigan proof of insurance not required for a trailer (ever). State of Michigan website also mentions this.

Phew!

-John
Hi John, thanks for the info. Unfortunately the trailer I'm considering is newer than 25 years. I did read one article where the person transferred the title into their name, took the plates across the border, installed them, and simply drove back across the border with their new registration. I'm trying to talk the owner into delivering the trailer and then all we would have to do is change the title.
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Old 08-19-2018, 01:25 PM   #6
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The trailer has to be legally imported into the US or you will not get plates and registration.
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Old 08-19-2018, 01:43 PM   #7
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I have sold a couple of fiberglass trailers to folks in the states with no issues however if it is less than 25 years old as mentioned it needs the DOT sticker.

The US buyer has to cross the border and legally import the trailer. Canadians are not legally allowed to complete the transaction in the US.

There were no extra fees for the buyers and yes you need to get the signed registration and a bill of sale and then the form at the border.

Bigfoots are one of the brands people run into issues with if it is not 25 years old, hopefully it isn’t a Bigfoot and has the DOT stickers, Escapes have the sticker.
Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Old 08-19-2018, 03:38 PM   #8
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The trailer in question is an Oxygen which has the same bankruptcy issues as Bigfoot.
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Old 08-19-2018, 05:11 PM   #9
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In the absence of the US DOT sticker or letter of compliance and less than 25 years old, there is a process. I believe it involves an impound period and inspection to verify compliance with US DOT regulations. The actual compliance shouldn't be a big deal since there is no engine- it's mostly about running lights.

If I had a line on a nice Oxygen at a good price, I'd be looking into the process. It might be worth the trouble for such a rare find, but I couldn't begin to guess how much time or expense might be involved.

I don't think I've read a report from someone that's gone that route. Wanna be our guinea pig?
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Old 08-19-2018, 07:59 PM   #10
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I've been looking for an Oxygen for a few years now. I just bought my little Bigfoot last year and it is fine if things don't work out. I do like the narrow streamline build on the Oxygen compared with the heavier boxier build on the Bigfoot. I do know that I'll be giving up some comfort and storage if I go with the Oxygen over the Bigfoot. However my minimum trips seem to be a couple thousand miles and the lighter, more streamline Oxygen would probably suit me better.
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Old 08-20-2018, 09:33 AM   #11
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Check with your state to see if documents need to be notarized, some states have that requirement.
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Old 08-20-2018, 09:54 AM   #12
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Check with your state to see if documents need to be notarized, some states have that requirement.
I'm heading to the Dept. of Licensing and the DOT today. I need to get this figured out one way or the other.
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Old 08-20-2018, 10:43 AM   #13
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Certainly talk to your state.

However, your real issue is going to be with US Customs. There is an import form you get at the border. Without it, you will not be able to register the trailer in any state.

Have you determined whether the trailer already has a US DOT sticker? It's entirely possible that it does, in which case this is straightforward. If not, US Customs controls the process for obtaining the certification.
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Old 08-20-2018, 10:53 AM   #14
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Steve Hammel,

Let us know the final outcome. There are other Oxygen fans in the US that would like to know.

-John
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Old 08-20-2018, 10:58 AM   #15
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When I find out I'll share. I promise lol!
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Old 08-20-2018, 05:28 PM   #16
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Ok, I've talked to every government agency that I can think of in regards to importing a travel trailer from Canada to Washington State. It is not nearly as complicated as we all might think.

1. Bill of sale from seller
2. Registration for trailer in sellers name (no titles on trailers in Canada)
3. 3 day trip permit for trailer. Once it is purchased by a US citizen the trailer is no longer considered licensed once it crosses the border.
4. All the serial numbers must be visible and verifiable to prove that the correct vehicle is being imported (no theft)
5. You will be required to fill out a customs import form at the border where all numbers will be checked.(very important that numbers are visible and they match)

In addition you can take as much cash across the border as you wish, you only "need" to declare if it exceeds $10,000. They do suggest you declare smaller amounts just in case.

In several responses on this thread responders have mentioned DOT numbers. After checking with DOT, DMV, and Customs individually and collectively it appears I've been on a bit of a snipe hunt (remember boy scouts lol). There is no such number or tag for a non motorized vehicle.
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Old 08-20-2018, 06:11 PM   #17
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Hmmm... This US Customs web page suggests otherwise. See item #3.
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...avel%20trailer
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Old 08-20-2018, 06:19 PM   #18
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It appears to me to say that if it's being imported for personal use ( not resale ) and has this sticker that you're fine.
I'm surprised that there is nobody online that has done this.
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CSA sticker.jpg  
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Old 08-20-2018, 06:23 PM   #19
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It's not a DOT number. It's a sticker that the manufacturer, in my case, Bigfoot put on the trailer. It states weight, date of build, VIN, and should contain " this vehicle conforms to all applicable USA Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard on the date of manufacture shown above.". Mine is so badly weathered it is hard to read and impossible to photograph. The words "Motor Vehicle" are on the sticker that Bigfoot created, but obviously it is not a motorized vehicle.
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Old 08-20-2018, 06:25 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
Hmmm... This US Customs web page suggests otherwise. See item #3.
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...avel%20trailer
I am so sick of getting false or misleading info from government agencies. I took the time today to drive 80 miles roundtrip to personally visit each of these offices so that I could talk with these folks in person. Tomorrow I am going back and shoving this information in their faces and demand an explanation. If I drive over 600 miles to get this trailer and have problems I'm going to be one very upset gringo.
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