Importing A Tiny House Trailer Into Canada
By Dan Howes
WHY DID WE IMPORT A TRAILER FROM USA INTO CANADA?
THERE ARE LOTS OF FABRICATORS HERE..
Why would we want to go through all the hassle of Importing a Tiny House Trailer into Canada when..yes, there are a lot of metal and trailer fabricators on the west coast of Canada. The main problem we ran into is that there was not a lot of reasonably priced fabricators..
I spent about two month calling many BC and Alberta based fabricators to put together a list of quotes with prices ranging from $14,000 – $27,000 for a 28′ tiny house trailer..which I though to be outrageous. I knew from talking to other tiny house builders in the USA that the price of our trailer should be about $10,000 Canadian all said and done. (current price of a 24ft Tiny House Trailer in Canada is $9,995CDN versus a Washington Built Trailer at $7,800 CDN MARCH 2020)
OUR TRAILER FABRICATOR
We ended up finding a trailer manufacturer specifically building tiny home trailers who had a lot of experience importing tiny home trailers into Canada. Joshua with Tiny House Basics is who you’ll want to contact. He walked us through the entire process and aside from getting a beautiful, custom trailer through him, the importing was painless with no issues.
So where do you start when importing a tiny home trailer into Canada? For all of you who are worried that you might not make it through the border, don’t worry! As long as your paperwork is in order and you pay the taxes it only takes about 30 minutes to get across the border. But please make sure your trailer follows all the Canadian laws or it may not be allowed into the country. (at Tiny House Basics, We do the paperwork for the trailer for easy entry, it costs $50 Extra)
While traveling on American roads with your trailer you’ll need to stop at any DMV and purchase a permit to allow you to legally be on the road. Even in our case where we were driving all of 500 yards from Blaine WA to the border. The permit only costs about $30.00 USD
If you’re coming from British Columbia like us, you know ICBC. Simply purchase the minimal 10 day trailer insurance for about $80.00 before you leave and you’ll be covered across the border and in Canada.
Paperwork you must have: (Note they need to be the originals not copies)
- Title Papers or Manufactures Origin Letter (for brand new custom trailers)
- Clearance Recall Letter
- Original bill of sale
- Your Passport and Government ID
- VIN Numbers
Fees, Tax and Duty on Import
When importing a trailer from USA to Canada for PERSONAL use there is no duty or fees, only 5% Tax. You’ll be required to pay 5% of the sales price before leaving the border.
That is all you’ll need to get across the border. Our experience was very painless, the border security were very friendly and very intrigued about what exactly a tiny house was..lol
After Import…RIV Fees and Inspection
Once you have gotten across the border you’ll need to take your Form 1 you received from the border and go to RIV (www.riv.ca) Registrar Of Imported Vehicles. It may take a day for your case to be on file but submit the forms using the information on your Form 1 and then wait another 24 hours to receive your Form 2. Form 2 is what you will use to bring your trailer to Canadian Tire or any inspection facility to have your trailer inspected for Canadian roads. The cost of the RIV is $310.00 (pay the RIV online and enter your Form 1 number and pay them online first, then within 24hours you get approval)
And that’s it! You can now start building your house on your trailer and have all the correct papers to insure it as a trailer while on the roads in Canada.
TOTAL FEES and TAXES at the boarder.
(To sum up the fees Not including price of trailer as your price might vary and not including our gas or delivery of trailer)
- ICBC Trailer Insurance 10 Days – $80.00
- Washington Trailer Permit 3 Days – $30.00 (USD)
- 5% GST on the trailer (For us it was $500.00)
- RIV Registrar $310.00
- Vehicle inspection (Canadian Tire) – $33.00
Hope this helps some of you out! Let us know your experience of importing your trailer in the comments below!
In case your wondering what this finished tiny house looked like, here it is: