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Crossing the US border in Canadian rental car

Leeds
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Crossing the US border in Canadian rental car

Hello,

Do any rental companies at YVR not charge extra for being in the US?

I just thought i found a sweet deal from Budget for a 2 week rental. But then noticed they charge an extra $30 for every day you are across the border.

Thanks in advance!

Tom

Toronto, Canada
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11. Re: Crossing the US border in Canadian rental car

What "import" means was actually the root of the problem. The full answer gets a little long:

In customs terms, you "import" any foreign goods you bring across the border, either permanently or temporarily. Any car registered outside of Canada is considered foreign, and is "imported" when it is brought into Canada in any way -- driven, towed, shipped by trailer or boat, etc.

Before the recent changes, the rules were simply written around importing cars. The customs regulations used to make no distinction between a Canadian resident bringing a US-plated rental car into Canada temporarily and a Canadian resident bringing a US-plated car (e.g. one they bought) into Canada permanently. Both were imports, and in both cases all the red tape would apply (formally exported from the US, certified compliance with Canadian safety standards, and payment of excise taxes, GST/HST, and duties where applicable). Clearly no one driving a rental car would undergo that process.

It's a small distinction, but the law was never around _driving_ such a car. If a US resident brought in a US-plated car and let a Canadian friend drive it, no problem. If a Canadian resident was waved through the border by an officer who felt these rules were too arbitrary to enforce, the driver wasn't violating provincial highway/traffic laws by continuing to drive the car.

Julianne may also been given a Canadian-plated rental car in Seattle. Seattle rental agencies used to be very familiar with this problem given the number of cross-border rentals they dealt with, and would try their best to accommodate Canadians with cars that could be "returned" (rather than "imported") to Canada.

But... all of that is moot now. As the press release linked indicates, there is a special exemption for US-plated rental cars being temporarily imported into Canada for 30 days or less. So anyone renting a car in Seattle for a typical tourist visit would have no problem crossing the border, as long as the rental company permits it.

And of course, Tom S (the OP) is a UK resident who wanted to start in Vancouver and go south. There were never any customs restrictions on UK residents crossing the border with rental cars, nor has the US had any restrictions on Canadian-plated rental cars being "imported" into the US.

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
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12. Re: Crossing the US border in Canadian rental car

Matt-Thanks for taking the time to explain all that.

Vancouver, Canada
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13. Re: Crossing the US border in Canadian rental car

Thanks for that, Matt. Much appreciated.

14. Re: Crossing the US border in Canadian rental car

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15. Re: Crossing the US border in Canadian rental car

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