How Do I Register a Vehicle From Another Province or the U.S.?

Alberta Transportation’s standards of safety are different than many other provinces’, so before you hit the Wildrose Country roads, make sure your vehicle makes the cut. To know this, you need to have the vehicle inspected. This is the important (and required) first step before you register the vehicle.

An exemption from an inspection may be issued by The Government of Alberta provided the vehicle’s history does not indicate flood, unsafe, salvage, or non-repairable. In some cases, if you are bringing your own vehicle to Alberta from B.C. or Saskatchewan, you may be exempt from having an inspection as well.

The Registration Process at a Glance

Here’s what you need to bring when you come in:

  1. Out of Province Vehicle Inspection Certificate – all vehicles coming into Alberta need one, unless it qualifies for an exemption. Find out which vehicles can be exempt from a vehicle inspection.
  2. Proof of vehicle ownership, such as the bill of sale (pdf) or lease agreement from a factory authorized dealer in the name of the person requesting the exemption. To view this Government of Alberta form in Chrome or Safari, save the PDF (right mouse click and Save Link As) and then open it in Acrobat.
  3. Proof of an Alberta address.
  4. Valid Alberta auto insurance.
  5. Transport Canada Form 1 (with two stamps — one at the border and one after passing the compliance inspection) — needed when the vehicle is imported from the United States.
  6. Certificate of Origin or State issued Title — needed if new vehicle is from the United States.
  7. Photo ID.
  8. AMA/CAA/AAA membership card

The rest of this article explains in more detail what to expect from the inspections on your new-to-Alberta or U.S.-imported vehicle.

Out of Province Vehicle Inspection

Any vehicle you bring into Alberta — whether you’re moving from another province, or are importing from the States — needs an Out of Province Vehicle Inspection before you can register it. Your vehicle needs to be registered 90 days from the date you became a resident of Alberta.

Completing the Out-of-Province Inspection

To start the inspection process, come into any AMA Registries office and purchase your Out of Province Vehicle Inspection request form.

You will need to bring:

  • Proof of vehicle ownership – either the bill of sale or certificate of title (bring the original, not a copy)
  • The Import Form 1 (for out-of-country vehicles only)

Once you have purchased the inspection request form, make an appointment with a mechanic. Keep the form handy, because you’ll need it on inspection day.

Both the AMA and the Government of Alberta have resources to help you find an inspection centre:

Once the inspection is done, the technician will give you the Out of Province Vehicle Inspection Certificate. This certificate is valid for 14 days from the date shown under ‘Date of Completion’.

We’ll find out if you need an inspection when you come in, and we’ll fax your supporting documentation to Alberta Transportation and they’ll fax back either a letter of exemption or a letter stating you need to get the vehicle inspected. Once your paperwork is in order, bring it and your vehicle in. Please don’t take the bus or a taxi that day, as we need to see the vehicle so we can personally verify the serial number.

Import Form 1

The Import Form 1 (also known as Vehicle Import Form) is part of the Registrar of Imported Vehicle Inspection process, and is needed along with the Out of Province Vehicle Inspection.

When you bring the vehicle into Canada, the Canadian Border Services Agency will give you Form 1 and stamp the top. You need to keep this form in your vehicle until it is licensed, so keep it safe (and maybe secret).

The Registrar of Imported Vehicle (RIV) Inspection Process

You have 45 days from the date you import the vehicle to complete the RIV process.

To begin, the RIV will forward you the inspection form. Depending on how you want to receive this information, they can send it by email, fax, or traditional post.

The inspection form has all the information to know exactly what modifications (if any) are needed to pass the RIV inspection. If the vehicle does need modifications, you will need to have them done and inspected at a federal inspection location.

Once the vehicle has passed, the federal inspection centre will stamp your Form 1 in either section 16 or 17. When all is said and done, you will have two stamps on your Form 1:

  • At the top, from the Canadian Border Services Office
  • In either section 16 or 17, from the federal inspection centre

Roughly one week after successfully passing inspection, the RIV will send you a Canadian Certification label with instructions on where to attach it to your vehicle.

If you want to learn more about this process, visit the Registrar of Imported Vehicles.