US residents purchasing a Prolite trailer
would like to help our US customers with the purchase of a
Prolite trailer. Therefore it is essential to know what
challenges need to be overcome in order to import the
trailer into the USA, including having a contract that meets
the legal requirements in both countries.
The following guide provides all the necessary information to successfully import a trailer (from Canada) into the US, including customs, registration, taxes and applicable laws.
For a trailer to be exported from Canada into the USA, a
trailer must not be older than 25 years (starting from the
manufacturing date) and comply with all applicable standards
of the FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards).
The trailer must have a label that was permanently affixed by the original manufacturer certifying compliance with the FMVSS standards.
A trailer that has a label indicating compliance with the laws and regulations of the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS), but doesn’t have a FMVSS label, may be imported by completing the DOT HS-7 form (customs declaration for the importation of a motor vehicle from the U.S. Department of Transportation). Check box 2B.
The HS-7 form must be presented to U.S. Customs and meet the following requirements:
The trailer is imported for personal use only and not for commercial resale (the contract must show an individual as the buyer).
The trailer has not been modified, repaired (salvage trailer) or rebuilt.
The buyer must have a letter from the original manufacturer which contains the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
The trailer must comply with all the requirements of the FMVSS with the exception of:
The labeling requirements of Standards No. 101: Controls and displays
The labeling requirements of Standards No. 110: Tire selection and rims for motor vehicles with a GVWR of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or less.
The labeling requirements of Standards No.120: Tire Selection and Rims for Motor Vehicles Other Than Passenger Cars
The labeling requirements of Standards No. 108: Lamps, reflective devices and associated equipment
Note: If you check box 2B on the HS-7 form, the trailer must be certified by the original Canadian manufacturer in accordance with the CMVSS.
You may also want to go to the following link on the U.S. customs site for more information: CBP
Once the trailer has cleared U.S. customs, the owner will receive a form (CBP-7501), which is required to register the trailer with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles).
To register the trailer, the owner should consult the DMV in their respective home state. Generally form CBP-7501 (as mentioned above) is required, as well as other documentation. A state tax must be paid which can vary from 4%-7% depending on the state.
U.S. customs tax is 2.5% of the total purchase price. US residents can apply for an exemption and significantly reduce the amount of tax payable and in some cases eliminate it completely. Theoretically, most vehicles, which are made in Canada, are covered under the NAFTA agreement and are tax exempt. However - do expect to pay 2.5% in taxes, as the free trade agreement is limited to commercial use.
It is important to note that the trailer will not be used to move or ship products to the USA.
As a US resident you cannot claim the Canadian GST, QST or HST taxes. However if you provide written documentation that the trailer is intended solely for business use (and not for personal use), then you will not be charged GST or QST (or HST). The documentation must include your name and company name.