What is RIV?

Transport Canada set up the RIV Program to make sure that imported vehicles, intended for the U.S. market place, satisfy Canadian safety specifications before being registered with a provincial or territorial ministry of transportation for licensing. The RIV Program is a Canada wide inspection and certification program which makes sure that eligible vehicles are:

•           modified in order to conform to Canadian safety specifications;

•           inspected to ensure that the modifications have been completed and that they were successfully done

•           certified that the vehicle has been brought into compliance

Most vehicles from the US will be required to enter the RIV Program. However, some vehicles will not be able to enter the program, as they cannot be modified enough to conform to Canadian standards. If your vehicle from the US is less than 15 years old or a Bus manufactured on or after January 1st 1971, you will most likely have to enter the RIV program to import your vehicle to Canada.


Are there any vehicles that do not require to be entered into the RIV program upon importation?

Yes, there are a few exceptions.

  1. Vehicles that are older than 15 years and Buses manufactured before January 1st 1971.
  2. Vehicles imported temporarily e.g. in-transit, visitors less than 12 months, those here on study permit, those here on a work permit valid for 36 months or less.
  3. Vehicles imported for exhibition, demonstration, testing or evaluation.
  4. Diplomats – on approval by the department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
  5. Visiting forces personnel for the duration of their assignment.
  6. Vehicles entering temporarily for repairs or alteration i.e. warranty
  7. Work vehicles – defined as one used primarily for civil engineering construction and maintenance, that is not built on a truck or truck-type chassis. This does not include a tractor or any vehicle designed to be drawn behind another vehicle. Agricultural units and equipment (e.g., farm tractors and manure spreaders) are not considered vehicles for Transport Canada purposes and are not subject to a Transport Canada import requirement.


*Please note that  the Vehicle Import Form 1 is still required.


So now you need to determine if you are required to obtain and complete a Vehicle Import Form 1.

This form is partially completed by the importer or agent and partially completed by Customs. Usually, this will be completed at the time of entry at the CBSA office you are crossing the border at. Sometimes this Form can be issued and completed at an inland office that offers commercial services in particular circumstances. However, Commercial importations of vehicles must be done at the port of entry. Customs will provide the Form 1.

Vehicles not requiring a Vehicle Import Form 1

Only the following types of vehicle importation will not be issued a Vehicle Import Form:

  1. Authorized importers- Companies Authorized by Transport Canada to Import New Vehicles Manufactured for the Canadian Market
  2. Short-term visitors to Canada
  3. Agricultural units/equipment, unless required by the province
  4. Vehicles in-transit
  5. Low risk importer under the Cold Weather Testing Program
  6. Vehicles temporarily imported for shows or entertainment.

Vehicle that require a Vehicle Import Form 1

Vehicles required to enter the RIV Program and need a Form 1 completed are the following:

  1. Those that are built for sale or use in the U.S. market and admissible to Canada
  2. Vehicles that are CMVSS-certified but were permanently exported to the U.S. and are now being re-imported by another individual.
  3. Snowmobiles bought or acquired in the U.S. that are CMVSS or SSCC-certified.
  4. Foreign vehicles designed, built, tested and certified to meet either CMVSS or U.S. federal motor vehicle safety standards and bearing an SOC label affixed by the original manufacturer
  5. All Vehicles not exempt which are admissible to Canada, from the US or any other country that are more than 15 years old.