One year ago, I purchased Nellie from private owners in Canada and imported her to the United States. There was a very favorable exchange rate at the time, which is still true today (One Canadian Dollar = $.77 US), so hopefully this information will be useful to those of you considering the purchase of a Canadian rig. If you purchase a new rig, Canadian dealers can probably assist you with the export.

Many of you have asked if it was difficult to import the rig to the United States. It wasn’t. Of course, this all happened a year ago, my memory isn’t what it used to be, and laws may have changed. Be sure to do your own research.

My coach was originally manufactured in the United States and sold in Canada. If it had been manufactured in Canada there would of have been more hoops. If you’re shopping for a Canadian coach, be sure you know where it was manufactured.

In Canada you may hire a Facilitator to transport the rig and do the paperwork for border export/import. When we were quoted over US $1,000 for this service, the seller and I decided to do it ourselves.

You will need the make, model, year of manufacture, VIN number, type of fuel, and size of motor of the rig for the paperwork. Take photos of the following vehicle conformity tags: 1) rig complies with US federal safety standards;

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and 2) rig complies with US EPA requirements.

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If you cannot find such labels or they have been removed, obtain a letter from the manufacturer to that effect, which should also state that there are no open recalls. (Even though the seller located and photographed both tags, he also obtained a letter from the manufacturer in an abundance of caution. Did I mention he is an engineer?)

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Complete the following forms:

1. OMB 2060-0095: EPA Declaration

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2. OMB 2127-0002: DOT Declaration

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3. Department of Homeland Security CBP Form 7501: “Entry Summary”

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Bring the following paperwork:

1. Title and registration

2. Proof of insurance (the seller and I agreed to keep his insurance in place until title was transferred and the rig was registered in my name.)

US Customs required 72 hours’ notice before travel day; the seller drove to the border and submitted all paperwork three days before we crossed.

The broker we consulted suggested that I accompany importation of the rig to streamline the process. I had not yet taken RV driving safety classes, so the seller graciously agreed to drive the rig to Seattle. On the day of import a friend drove me to the seller’s home in Canada.

Approaching the United States border, the seller and I were instructed to park and go inside. In the parking lot agents asked if we would consent to have the rig sniffed by dogs, “for training.” This is not something you should say no to, ever. The seller unlocked and opened all the basement bay doors.

Inside, both the seller and I were asked questions about the transfer. No duty was assessed, as I was on my way directly to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Washington to register the rig (and to pay a hefty 10 percent use tax!).

The customs agent inquired how the Canadian seller was going to get back home. I explained that part of our purchase agreement was the transfer of my Kia Soul to him, as it is not flat-towable and he wanted local transportation when staying in Palm Springs during the winter.

Customs Agent: “So, are you telling me that you sold your Soul?”

Me: “Why yes, yes I am.”

Agent: “Was it white?”

Me: ” Oh, no. Gray. Definitely gray.”

That exchange was the only levity during the entire experience. These border guys take their jobs very seriously.