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Thread: Buying a Canadian Westy for the US and Vice-versa

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    High River, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Importing a Canadian Westy (or 99% of all VW's for that matter) to the US is no biggie. The rules are published and if you follow them it is pretty straight forward. Ditto for importing a US Westy (read VW) from the US to Canada - different rules but readily do-able. And you do NOT need to go through the expense of an "Import Agent"either, if you drive the vehicle across yourself.

    Let me outline the steps I (an my purchaser) followed for me to sell my '96 Psssat TDI to a US (Minn) citizen and for him to import it to the US. Granted this is 2 year old info but the system hasn't changed. The process for a Westy is identical

    The US purchaser liked my car and we set a price. I (as registered owner of the vehicle)requested a Certificate of Conformity) from VW Canada on the white fib that I was relocating to the US and taking the vehicle with me. Apparently they will NOT give you a Cof C if you just say you are selling it to a US citizen for importation to the US. The C of C just confirms that the Canadian VW has the same spec as that same vehicle manufactured for sale in the US.


    The US buyer did whatever he had to do to take care of the "things" from his end. He provided a deposit against final sale and based on that I provided a Bill of Sale noting vehicle details INCLUDING the VIV# that the deal would be concluded when the balance was paid and the registration signed over to the new owner. Our province, Alberta, has a standard Bill of Sale form that makes all that a breeze. Most other provinces have similar forms for public use.

    The purchaser used my Bill of sale to obtain insurance coverage from his US insurer (a critical step). He then flew up here (Calgary) on a week day where I picked him up and we drove the 100km to my home giving the vehicle a pretty good test drive along the way. Satisefied that the car was as I advertised, we went to my bank and exchanged his balance payment (in the form of MANY travelers cheques) in exchange for my Signed / transfered registration. We then immediately went to my local Motor Vehicle Registry Office where the vehicle was stricken from the Alberta registration records and he (after showing proof on insurance) purchased a Motor Vehicle Transfer Permit (about C$30 odd)that allowed him to drive for a maximum of 3 days in Alberta / Canada (to transfer the vehicle to his new location) . He stayed over night at my home and left early in the morning to cross the US Border (apparently uneventfully)at Coutts Montana, indicating he was the new owner and that he was going to purchase a US Transit Permit (apparently free and good for 30 days in the US) from the Sherriff in Shelby Montana (30 odd miles down the road) and drive straight through to Minnasota. It all worked, he got the transit permit, made the trip without incident and then took the Bill of Sale, the Registration Transfer , his proof of insurance and My Certificate of Conformity to his Local Vehicle registry and BINGO, registered and lisensed it (my Passat Speedo was in KM/H and MPH/. Apparently there were NO OTHER CHANGES REQUIRED TO MASKE THE VEHICLE CONFORM to US standards.

    There are both Canadian and US government websites that lay out the requirements for inportation.

    A friend of mine has exported a couple of VW Eurovan Double Cabs to the US with only a bit of trouble (this model was NEVER EVER sold in the US). Several other friends have imported VW's and othe "iron" from the US to Canada within the last couple of years with NO hassles at all.

    A word of advice to You folks wanting to import Canadian Westys. Generally STAY AWAY from areas of Canada that have any winter at all and that use salt on the roads to manage ice. those vehicle WILL have rust damage and you will hate yourself for acquiring them. This means ALL vehicles east of Central BC. AHA, now you have to dig out your atlases and learn a little about Canadian geography. Vehicles from the western (coastal) region of BC and Vancouver island (and all those many other islands) are generally rust free (no salt to speak of) Also BC seems to have proportionally many more Wetys that any other part of the country (some say its because all the hippies gravitated to the land of west coast.
    If you are lucky enough to find a vehicle that was NEVER driven in winter then you might give the rest of Canada a shot Even Ontario , Quebec and the Maritimes -- but boy-oh-boy, I;d be very careful. I once owned the Van From Hell, and '87 Vanagon......a huge PITA Rust Bucket where every day I would encounter a new and exciting electrical problem due to lousy grounding.

    One final observation for what it is worth. Why buy in Canada? The US has 10 times our population, more summery weather and, I suspect more than 10 times the Westy and Eurovan Westy numbers. You've got more choice, less rust problems, less red tape, closer, and cheaper vehicles.....buy there it is easier.

    I hope this was helpful. If you think I can be of any more help feel free to contact me by PM.
    Lorne Matthews

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  3. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    High River, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    11

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    Eurovan TDI Syncro from Canada??

    The majority of the Eurovan TDI's that I have ever seen in Canada are TRANSPORTER models - ie the TRADESMEN"S panel vans that Capt'n Mike refers to. I have seen about 1/2 dozen of them - all from the early '90's (most about '94 ish if my memory serves me correctly). A passenger window van (weekender?) passed me going up a mountain in BC about 2 years ago and the most recent one I came across was a panel van listed for sale in the local paper last spring.

    I have heard from a reliable source that, even though they were not formally imported into Canada, there is one immaculate but lonely SWB, early '90's TDI Eurovan Westfalia wandering around in southern Alberta. How it got here no one seems to know , perhaps it was brought in as part of a returning Canadian's repatriation allowance or maybe it just fell between the cracks and was fobed off as a plain old Westy gas pot. Whatever, I keep my eyes open in hopes of sighting this beastie.

    On a slightly different topic there is a fellow in Lethbridge Alberta who is plunking a TDI into a pre '92 Vanagon Double Cab - very spiffy!
    Lorne Matthews

  4. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Toronto area
    Posts
    8

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    I just bought an 84 Westy from Buffalo but it had a Pa Title and Plate. The State did a search, found it was valid. To bring it into Canada (I drove it) I had to stop at Cda Customs and obtain a FORM ONE (this is a mighty document and you'll get nowhere without it). They do a cursory physical exam and do all the registration, collect GST and excise tax (if it has an A/C working or not). Need a bill of sale as well.

    A few days later I took it all to our Vehicle Licensing agent, turned in the Pa Title (I asked for a copy to put in the Westy's file along with the Pa plate. I had to pay the PST and received what we call an Ownership (as opposed to PA Title), put my Ontario plates on and always carry the Westy's complete file with me.

    I do not expect any kind of problem taking it into and out of the States as it is now officially registered to me in Ontario. It really was simple once I had that Form One and you can only get it when you actually drive the Westy to Customs Canada. There were hundreds of cars waiting to go thru Customs and I saw a BUS/RV lane with no traffic. Guess where I went. I said I was confused as it was an RV (Pa plate said an RV)(Ontario registers it as vehicle) but it wasn't as big as a bus or an RV, could they take me. They did and tho a slow process with the paper work, it was real easy. the trick is getting that FORM ONE from Cdn Customs.

  5. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Port Moody, BC, Canada
    Posts
    2

    Default 92 TDI Eurovan in Terrace, BC

    Eurovan TDI Syncro from Canada??

    there is one immaculate but lonely SWB, early '90's TDI Eurovan Westfalia wandering around in southern Alberta. How it got here no one seems to know, perhaps it was brought in as part of a returning Canadian's repatriation allowance or maybe it just fell between the cracks and was fobed off as a plain old Westy gas pot. Whatever, I keep my eyes open in hopes of sighting this beastie.

    I know the owner of a 92 TDI Eurovan who lives in Terrace, BC. He purchased in 1997 or 98 frfom the VW dealership in Prince George. It had been imported by german family who wanted to explore western Canada. They drove it for 4 or 5 summers, always returning it to the dealership and storing it there for the balance of the year. My friend purchased it and has been driving it since.
    Last edited by Capt. Mike; 11-12-2009 at 06:32 PM.
    92 Eurovan Westy - 160K
    93 Toyota 4 runner 22Re - 300K
    07 Mazda 5 - 15K

  6. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Toronto area
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Hi Canadian, bought a US Westy, easy to import (if over 20 yrs no clean air cert. needed). This westy was from Pa, previously Or. No rust, I IMMEDIATELY had it rust proofed and wash/rinse it frequently in winter AND when driving any ocean coast locality. Don't be so hard on Canadians, eh. We learn to deal with all kinds of weather and behave accordingly. All along the Gulf Coast from Corpus Christii east recommend frequent rinsing of their cars and have even 'special' drive thru outside rinse stations. Canada is not the only one with salt.

  7. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6

    Default Questions regarding Importing 1978 Westphalia into Ontario

    Hi ya. I may be purchasing a Washington State 1978 Westphalia and driving it back to Toronto. All of sudden I was wondering if anyone has had a similar experience of bring a US-bought Westphalia of this time period back to Ontario. Are they inadmissable for any bizarre reason under RIV? What are the regulations concerning our Ontario Emissions Standards licensing? Can anyone tell me more about the process? cheers, rick

  8. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    2

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    Hi Rickster,

    I'm wanting to get a my Washington regestered 1977 Westy to BC since I will be living there and RIV says it is inadmissable since it is an conversion. (Phone conversation) As far as I know everything was done in Germany in 1977 and BC is full of Westy's. Have you had any luck or problems registering your van in Canada?

  9. #18
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Raleigh, NC USA
    Posts
    3,806

    Default

    Do remember during the Bay Window era, there was a West Coast company that did conversions into what was very close to a Westy. These were done to bare-bones Transporters in the US. Although often sold and serviced by VW dealers, they were NOT official Westies made by Westfalia in Germany. However, there should be no reason to reject it just because it's a US conversion as long as all the other requirements are met. It's time for you to get a copy of the actual regulations, then make an appt. to have them point out just which regulation prohibits it. The regulations are public documents and you should be able to look them up in a law library, or even posted on the Internet. Get the real original, not some "interpretation".

  10. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    2

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    So I called RIV back and told them I have a 1977 Wesfalia VW van. (I think the key here is the Westy is a Van not a Bus. The gentlemen said it was exempt from RIV since it is over 15 years old and should be no problem. Go figure.

    I think at this point I'll go for it and fill out the US paperwork and the Canadian paperwork. BTW US customs requires you submit required documents three business days prior to export from the US.

    Here is a link that might help some folks http://www.riv.ca/VehicleAdmissibility.aspx

  11. #20
    stephenrobbins Guest

    Default

    Hey. I imported a 1972 van into Ontario from Washington this month. It was a breeze through US and Canadian authorities. (Except for the import duty and taxes.) The seller registered and licensed the van in WA for a year for $50. My understanding was only a 3 day temporary permit could be purchased and that was $25. Of course 3 days isn't enough for the trek back across the continent.
    Being older than 15 years, RIV is not an issue, although the form still needs to be completed at Canadian customs to declare the vehicle age. US customs need 72 hours to ensure title is changed, and I called the border office of US customs to ensure the faxed documents were received ok and to qualify when I planned to cross. The US Customs people at Thunder Bay were really good and I was through there in under 10 minutes. There was no cost for this part of the transaction!
    At Canadian customs I paid 6.1% of the purchase price minus the $750 import allowance for 7 days out of the country. I believe this is because the vehicle was manufactured in Germany. I also paid 5% GST at this point. Still not sure what Goods and Services I received in Canada!!!
    Safety required but no e-test. PST on the full purchase price was charged at the licensing office, what a tax grab for a 39 year old asset.
    I had mixed guidance on insurance: either 7 or 14 days coverage permitted under my exisiting policy to get the van back to Ontario. Had to go with my insurance co that said I had 7 days. Fortunately I had no delays en route. Had the safety completed in the Sault and registered it there to save another 2 days driving to Southern Ontario. I could provide a good mechanic contact in Sault Sainte Marie for getting it through the safety.

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