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Old 15 May 2016
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UK bike in Ontario on temporary import: possible to convert to permanent import?


We shipped our bikes to Canada from the UK on a 12 month temporary import last year (thanks James Cargo). Blog here: https://pandatwowheeltourers.wordpress.com/

After a fab 4 week tour around Eastern Canada, including Newfoundland and the Gaspe peninsula and meeting lots of relatives, the bikes are parked up with relatives pending our return to do the Circle Tour around Lake Superior towards the end of June 2016. Ideally we would like to head to the West Coast but work commitments mean this is not possible within the 12 month limit.

Is it possible to convert the 12 month temporary import to a permanent import for UK-registered BMWs (F650GS twins)? The BMW specifications for the UK market suggest that only the odometer and front fork reflectors differ from the Canadian market. Both Canadian relatives ride so we'd be happy to gift the bikes to them if this is an option.

Do the Canadian Authorities only look at the VIN country of registration or are modifications to meet Canadian requirements possible for permanent registration? We've tried asking UK and Canadian BMW dealerships but with no definitive answers. Any suggestions welcome please?

Many thanks, Avril
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Old 16 May 2016
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Location: Toronto, Canada
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Hello Avril:

Go to this Transport Canada website to get the 'official' answer, straight from the horse's mouth: Importing vehicles purchased in countries OTHER than the United States.

My guess is that it will not be economically practical (if, in fact, even possible) for you to import a UK specification vehicle to Canada. This is because the vehicle has not been certified by the manufacturer to comply with Canadian safety and emission standards.

Note that I didn't say that the vehicles don't comply with Canadian Canadian safety and emission standards... the problem is not that they don't comply, the problem is that the manufacturer (BMW) has not affixed a sticker to them stating that they do comply.

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Old 22 May 2016
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Many thanks Michael.

Your reply and helpful link were what we were resigned to but thought that with the knowledge of HUBBers there might be a clever way around.

What I am still not sure of is whether exporting the bikes on new temporary export to the USA would count as the bikes having left Canada?

We have our letter from the EPA to allow crossing the border from Canada to the USA to do the Circle Tour. If we could leave our bikes in the USA temporarily this would help us to return to complete the trip over to the West Coast - though presumably having to remain in the USA and not to recross into Canada?

Anyone done similar?
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Old 23 May 2016
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Hi Avril:

The impression I get, from reading your post above, is that there is no doubt that you are a 'genuine' tourist, and you intend to use the motorcycle in Canada for pleasure tourism and no other purpose.

Assuming that you intend to export the motorcycle from Canada at the ultimate end of your journey, I can't see any reason why Canada Customs would object to you re-entering Canada from the USA. Clearly, you're not trying to pull any tricks like dodging across the border for half a day to have a coffee and 'reset the clock' or anything like that.

I cannot tell from looking at your blog exactly what you mean when you stated in your post immediately above "We shipped our bikes to Canada from the UK on a 12 month temporary import..." Normally Canada does not require any documentation or import permits when a vehicle is brought into the country for tourism. Perhaps you did something unique such as putting a licence plate from one of the Canadian provinces on it.

In any case, if you leave Canada within the time prescribed in your permit (and can document that you have done it), then there should be no difficulty at all re-entering at any time in the future, as long as the re-entry is for tourism purposes. But, next time you enter Canada with the bike, don't get any permits, please... just ride across the border like everyone else, show your passports, & don't hold up the line. That will save you encountering the same grief later on in your life.

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