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Discussion Starter #1
A couple of questions regarding crossing the Canadian border: What documents are required for service vehicles, trailer and rally car? If the owner of a service vehicle is not coming with us, do I need a notarized approval or something else? Can I use a dealer plate for a rally car to cross the border if the car is on a trailer?

Thanks,

Otis Dimiters
NORTH COAST SUBARU
Rally Team
www.ncrally.com
 

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Open AWD Extraordinaire!
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Otis,

You basically need paperwork showing that the vehicles are owned, and registered. That's to avoid paying taxes on them when you bring them back in the country.

That said, your rally car should already be registered (i.e. NOT dealer plate) since you're going to have to provide proof-of-insurance and registration at the the event registration.

Other than that, you're ok... I mean, if you're taking a dealership vehicle, and it's register to XYZ dealership, you're fine w/o any additional paperwork. If it's a personal vehicle, it can't hurt.

Also, when crossing the border, don't go showing the customs folks passports, or anything other than what they ask for. It's unusual. They don't like that. Licenses will do and all of that jazz.
 

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Generally you would need to have written consent from the vehicle owner, not to get the vehicles into Canada but back into the USA. The dealer plates on the rally car will not be a problem, just make sure your insurance coverage is valid in Canada. Another recommendation is that you inventory everything you are bringing across the border and note anything you use, why you used it and why you left it behind in Canada. Unless you absolutely have to, take whatever you bring with you back to the U.S. All of this will save you a lot of hassle going both ways.
 

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Slid'n around 'n havin a ball
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If I were you, I'd just call it a race car, leave the dealer plate off.
The plate'll make it look like you're going to sell it and that's not good.
If you look poor enough you'll sail thru.
If you have tons of stuff and shiny trucks it'll be harder.
If you do have to fill out forms, do it there and act surprised that anyone would ever ask because you never had to before - right?
Resist it as hard as you can - if they ask for money as a bond, consider it gone. The process to get it back is impossible.
When faced with that, go to the commercial counter and see if there's a better official to deal with. They'll know better than the booth guys.
(Have a list {hidden away} of things with serial numbers as anything else doesn't count anyway.)
rz
 

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Otis,

Don't give yourself a brain tumor over this one, (unless you intend to leave the car in Canada).

Have as much documentation as you can and show it as they ask for it.
When you get to the border just tell the Canadian customs officer that you are going in for the weekend to compete in a rally, if they ask wheather you do this for a living or as a business just say NO, it is just a hobby. (I know I got asked that once going into the US - they might want to know whether you should pay taxes if its a professional racing team making money)

At most, they might ask to see the contents of your towing vehicle. (a contents list is a good idea)
You are not the first U.S competitor to make such trip, they have seen this sort of stuff lots of times before so it is not a big deal.
What you have to be carefull with is when you go back home, if the car you are rallying is not properly register (like an old Evo made into a Mirage, wink wink, etc,) then be careful, the tough questions might come from the U.S customs and inmigration officers, these days it is the US officials who are jittery about who and what is going through their borders and not so much the Canadian officials.

As I said before don't lose any sleep thinking too much about this and concentrate on your rally... good luck!

Cheers
Jorge
 

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We've made many trips into Canada to run rallies and generally haven't had much trouble at all.

We try to make sure the stuff in the back of the truck is reasonably organized. With the Cube Van, we've only ever gotten cursory looks in the back. When we had a F250 stuffed to the gills, there were a couple of times they asked us to pull to the side so they could take a longer look, but they never made us unload everything.

We all have passports and as we roll up, we hand over 4 passports and 4 drivers licenses. Seems to work ok for us.

One thing you should absolutely do is bring a copy of the rally Flyer. Many times we've been asked what it is we are doing and we do our best to explain and then they ask if we have any information on it. Handing over the event flyer or Supp Regs always helps.

Oh, and don't say you are going to a rally. Their eyes narrow as their first thought is a political rally. Say you are going to a car race.

Don't bring firearms, tobacco, alcohol, fruit, meats, etc. If you go to the Canada Boarder Website, they list all the forbidden items. Sorry, I don't have the address handy, but I don't remember it being to hard to find.

The primary reason I've seen for people having trouble at boarder crossings are :
- A US registered Truck and a Canadian registered
car on the trailer.
- The appearance of being professionally paid to do this work
(as that gets into tax and work eligibility rules)
- The intention of leaving the car in Canada for an extended
period.

In general, the Canadian Boarder guards have been quite polite and understanding. They just want to understand completely what it is you are doing and make sure that you aren't avoiding taxes, work rules, etc...

The US boarder guards are sometimes a bit rude, but they have never done anything but wave us through after a brief conversation. Oh, and if they ask how you did, its fine to tell them you won, but the next question will be 'oh really, how much money did you win then?'.

Oh, and from what I've heard, if you are crossing into Quebec province, just tell 'em its a rally car and they'll shake your hand, cheer you on, and send you on your way. Everyone in Quebec understands rallying...

Scott Radabaugh
 

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On our way to Rally De' Quebec in 2000 at the Sarnia, Michigan border crossing:

"How fast does it go"

"About 120 mph or 180 kph"

"On the ice and snow?"

"Yes"

"Ok, one more time....do you have any alcohol on board?"

"No, we buy in all in Canada."

Brian "True story"
 

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your other left, you idiot
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Well, you MAY need proof of citizenship (depends on the person asking). And that means passport or raised-copy of your birth certificate (a driver's license or a voting card MAY not be enough).

If you have a felony in your background, you MAY want to reconsider (and the Canadians view a DUI as a felony).

That said, I have never spent more than a few minutes answering questions (and JUST answer the question they ask - don't volunteer). Don't have your radar detector on the dash. Don't take firearms. Don't use the word "work", if you are going to "work" the event (you are just going to watch).

Now, if you cross with a person who has a permit to carry, it MAY take a LOT longer (right Chris?).

As long as you don't intend to sell anything (which seems to be their biggest concern), you should sail through. When coming back, don't tell them you won when they ask how you did (they are probing to see if you won money [yeah right]).

press on,
 

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your other left, you idiot
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I forgot 2 more:

Take your sunglasses off (all of you).
If you are driving a diesel, turn it off.

press on,
 

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Faster Mabricator
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RE: Border crossing Zimmer-style

>If I were you, ...

Or if you were Randy, you'd be building a stealthy pontoon raft of various colors capable of navigating Viagra Falls for a midnight St. Lawrence crossing. I understand that is how he crosses if his usual, "going to the Canadian ballet" doesn't get him thru.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you very much everyone, this was really helpful. My main concern is that my rally car is not registered; we were using dealer plates before. Would just a title get us through the customs if the car is on a trailer? I?m actually not an US citizen, but I have a Temporary Resident Visa for Canada and I have been to Canada three times before so I don?t think I will have any problems in that respect.

Thank you,

Otis Dimiters
NORTH COAST SUBARU
Rally Team
www.ncrally.com
 

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codriveur
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Leaving my sunglasses on cost me a complete interior removal, and my spare broken down.

My long spiked hair with the 3 inch blond streak might have hurt also but hey, it was the mid eighties.

Bernie
 

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Worse comes to worse, just take the car off the trailer and drive it over the border while your crew drives the service van and trailer over.

I remember once at the Tousand Island bridge the Canadian Customs guy saying quietly "Beat those Frenchies" when we told him were on our way to Defi St. Agathe!
 
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