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buying a car

ireland
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102 posts
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buying a car

Hi,

I am planning to travel through Alaska and Canada for six months and was hoping to buy a car for this time.

I was planning on flying into Seattle, then be travelling to Vancouver and Vancouver Island then up to Prince Rupert from where I wanted to take a trip through the Inside Passage and then buy a car up there.

Since I will be flying out from Canada I was thinking to buy the car in Whitehorse, Canada to avoid complications.

Now,I heard that it's more expensive to buy a car up there or even to buy a car in Canada rather than in the U.S. Is that the case?

The reason, why I had planned it like this was, that I thought it would be cheaper to travel through the Inside Passage without a car and I had figured that up to Skagway, I wouldn't really need a car.

However, if there would be a big price difference, I would have to rethink my strategy.

I hope someone can help me with this.

Also, as a European citizen, I have a European driver's license. Would that suffice or will I need to get a International one?

And what else will I need to take care of?

Insurance? Tax? How does that work?

Thanks for your help.

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto
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72,076 posts
87 reviews
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1. Re: buying a car

Hi Molly;

If you’re going to buy a car, yes, buying in Canada would be easier than trying to bring it across the border, more so as a non-resident.

Generally, cars are more expensive in Canada than in the US, but again, I believe the hassle and expense to bring a car into Canada would outweigh any savings. You would be charged duties and taxes at the border.

The same make and model car sold in the US, may not meet Canadian safety standards. Canada uses the metric system, and the US does not. Before being able to import a US car into Canada, you would need to have the instruments on the dashboard changed to metric.

If you purchase the car in the Yukon, the only tax would be the federal GST (Goods & Services Tax) which is 5% of the total price. Other provinces also charge PST (Provincial Sales Tax).

Insurance is mandatory in Canada. I’m not sure how they would calculate a rate for a non-resident. Usually, an insurance company will base their rate on your driving record, years of driving experience, the make / model / year of your car, the location or area you live in, and how much driving you do annually.

For a driver’s license, I don’t know if you would / could qualify for a Canadian license, or if you would need to use an International license.

You would need to register the car, and obtain license plates. Before you can do this, you MUST have insurance.

At the end of your travels, you will need to sell the car, which will be another hurdle.

I would strongly suggest that you contact the Canadian Embassy in Dublin. There are too many factors involved for this forum. Hopefully, the Canadian Embassy can answer all your questions, and provide some additional insight / information.

Canadian Embassy in Dublin

7-8 Wilton Terrace

Dublin 2

Ireland

Tel: 353 (1) 234-4000

Fax: 353 (1) 234-4001

Where do you plan to travel, once you leave Whitehorse ?

Best Regards

ireland
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102 posts
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2. Re: buying a car

See, there lies my problem. I was gonna travel up the Yukon and back into Alaska to see different places there and then back into Canada to travel around there.

I have six months to do this.

But I guess "my buying a car" idea seems to fail in the fact that I can't cross the border with it. Am I right?

Thanks for all the detailed info, Rescue Team.

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto
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72,076 posts
87 reviews
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3. Re: buying a car

Hi Molly;

As a non-resident, it brings up a number if issues. Crossing the border is just one of them. I don’t even know if you could register the car, as you don’t have a Canadian address, if you could obtain insurance, etc, etc, etc.

Like I said…it’s much too involved to get into on this forum.

Hopefully someone at the Embassy can assist you.

Best Regards

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
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7,013 posts
18 reviews
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4. Re: buying a car

If the car has been purchased in Canada, you should be able to drive it into the USA and back in Canada. What you can't do is sell it in the USA.

ireland
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102 posts
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5. Re: buying a car

Ok, this is what the Canadian officials say:

"You may purchase a vehicle in Yukon, however in order to properly register/plate the vehicle there are a couple of very specific things that you must do/have.

You must have a Yukon mailing and residential address;

You must have valid in Canada insurance

You must provide proof of ownership of the vehicle (bill of sale and the previous owners registration).

With these things you will be able to register the vehicle in Yukon.

I can’t speak for the Alaska DMV, I suggest you contact them directly.

If you purchase and plate a vehicle in Alaska the vehicle can remain in Yukon on the Alaska plates for 60 continuous days.

If you plan on selling the Alaskan vehicle in Yukon that can done, however the new owner will have to properly import the vehicle into Canada through Canada Customs."

Now, my problem is that I don't have a Canadian residential address. I very much hope that anyone has an idea on how to bypass this.

Does residential address mean that I have to be registered as a resident somewhere?

Your help is much appreciated

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto
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72,076 posts
87 reviews
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6. Re: buying a car

Hi;

You will need a Canadian residence, but not only for the car registration, but for insurance as well. You will need to provide government issued ID with your Canadian address, which you will not be able to provide. (driver’s license, landed immigrant card, etc.)

Then, as noted, you will have difficulty selling the car at the end of your trip.

As I stated in my last post, this is a very involved topic. It sounds like you will need to rethink your plans, as I don’t see how you could legally “bypass” any of this.

Best Regards

Kimberley, Canada
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290 posts
35 reviews
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7. Re: buying a car

In British Columbia you can register, license and insure a vehicle with an International Driver's License.

The Insurance Corporation of B.C. = B.C's primary auto insurer is Government owned - will grant you up to a 43% "safe driving discount" discount - 5%/ year x 8 years + 3% for ninth -on their insurance coverage providing you can provide continuous proof of accident free driving from your own insurer; two years continuous = 10%; four years 20%; and so on. . . when you apply for coverage.

Registration/plates and insurance in B.C. come as "one".

Being a "public" insurer, ICBC is very approachable; got their website and contact them with your wishes - www.icbc.com; I know they can help you out. Only "catch 22" I can see is if you plan on taking the vehicle outside of B.C. for more than 60 consecutive days without returning. . . ??

I really cannot forsee a problem with you being able to purchase a B.C. registered vehicle in Prince Rupert, B.C. and use it for your trip = this is likely less of a logistical challenge than buying a vehicle in the USA and then selling it in Canada. You will, unfortunately, have to pay both Provincial Sales Tax = 7% and Goods and Service Tax = 5%.

Reach out and touch the friendly folks at ICBC = they will be able to confirm exactly what they can do for you. www.icbc.com

ICBC also offers you the choice of buying coverage for a part year; minimum term is three months; after that you can buy as many months as needed, up to a maximum of 12 months. You pay a little bit more to purchase for less than year and have the right to cancel coverage at any time - you must surrender your licesne plates and insurance to any ICBC Broker (over 900 in B.C.)

ireland
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102 posts
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8. Re: buying a car

That's very interesting information. Thanks for that.

But do I not have to be a resident in B.C. in order to buy a car? In Yukon they require a residential address.

Do you know, if I have to register with authorities to be resident, or if it would suffice to give an address?

Friends of mine have relatives in Alberta. Maybe I could use their address?

9. Re: buying a car

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