Hi folks, I'll weigh in with my experience - I've noticed a couple of things that were slightly different than what I experienced. I brought in a 91 Spider in July of 2006. It was 15 years old, plus 2 months, so I squeaked in the 15 year condition.
First of all, there definitely IS duty on cars 15 years or older. You pay the full GST, PST and 6% duty when you import a vehicle. This is payable on your *declared* value of the car, which has to be backed up by a signed bill of sale (from the vendor). Do your homework, and check out the Red Book value (at your local library) before you write up the bill of sale with the vendor. Hint Hint.
If you are bringing in car through Niagara Falls/Buffalo, the only point of entry where you can import a vehicle is at the Lewiston Bridge. You must fax the Title document to US Customs at the bridge, no less than 72 hours prior to entry. Once you fax them the document, call them the next day to confirm receipt. When you fax them the title document, make sure you write the VIN in black magic marker on the copy of the title document. These were instructions provided to me by the US Customs guy. They're helpful, but certainly not friendly.
US customs is only open M-F until 4pm, but do not get there at 4pm, as they close up right at 4, regardless of who is in line. Make sure you are there no later than 3pm. They will go outside, inspect the VIN on the vehicle, and cross reference that against the original title document that you present to them. If you don't have the original title document, the car does not leave the US.
When you cross over to Canada Customs (which is open 24X7), inform them that you are importing the vehicle, they will ask you how much you paid for it, what kind it is, year, make model, etc. They'll give you the yellow slip, and you pull over to the customs building to pay your fees. Once your fees are paid, and all is well, they'll give you a form that you hold on to until you have the car licensed. Keep it in the car at all times - it'll keep you from getting fined in case you get pulled over for driving with no plates.
The only thing different for a vehicle that is greater than 15 years old, is that it does not have to undergo a federal safety inspection, and does not have to be registered in the federal imported-vehicle registry (www.riv.ca)
. You will need a provincial safety certificate and an e-test in order to get the car registered and plated.
My documentation indicated that I did have to have a recall compliance notice. I obtained one from the North American office of Alfa Romeo, but nobody at either US or Canada customs/licensing asked for it. Contact for AR North America is:
Alfa Romeo USA
Fax: 407 438 0804
They provided a recall compliance notice for free. Fax them your request, and be sure to include the VIN.
Other than that, I found the entire process to be fairly simple, but I was well prepared ahead of time. The first question the Canada Customs person asked me was why the car had no plates on it. I had printed out a temporary license from the state in which I purchased the car (depends on the state), so I handed that to her, which seemed to satisfy her. My explanation was that I had taped a copy to the back window like the regulations specified, but that it had blown off when the top was down
If you've got any more questions, let me know, happy to share my experiences.