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Old 06-16-2019, 06:43 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Converting a USA bus in Canada

Hey all!

Im wondering if anyone has any experience or knows where I can find the information on whether or not I can buy a bus in the US, have a company convert it in Canada, then bring it back to the US to live/travel in.

Cheers and thanks for any and all input
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Old 06-21-2019, 11:43 AM   #2
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Register the bus in your country. With insurance. Drive to Canada get it built. Drive home That's why I would do. As a Canadian I can say be way cheaper to get it built in the USA. Also border control is bullshit when your in a RV.
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Old 06-21-2019, 01:21 PM   #3
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Register the bus in your country. With insurance. Drive to Canada get it built. Drive home That's why I would do. As a Canadian I can say be way cheaper to get it built in the USA. Also border control is bullshit when your in a RV.
I can't argue with that statement - motorhomes have so many hidey-holes, that customs feels compelled to look into every nook and cranny
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Old 06-21-2019, 03:12 PM   #4
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I can't argue with that statement - motorhomes have so many hidey-holes, that customs feels compelled to look into every nook and cranny
I had Canadian Customs threaten to "take apart my bus down to the last nut and bolt" when I disagreed with something one of them said.

Guess where I won't be visiting in my new bus?

Visiting Mexico is much more fun. Nice people and more laid back.
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Old 06-21-2019, 03:38 PM   #5
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Yeah, but clearing Customs when leaving Mexico is a little different.
Reminds me of my short stint smuggling contraband into Tijuana...
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Old 06-21-2019, 04:01 PM   #6
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Yeah, but clearing Customs when leaving Mexico is a little different.
Reminds me of my short stint smuggling contraband into Tijuana...
Many border crossings under my belt and the worst two so far have both been going in to Canada.

My last Mexico trip I did get "selected for inspection" coming back into the US. Two very polite gentlemen spent about minutes poking around the RV and sent us on our way. They could give some lessons on common courtesy to their Canadian counterparts.

I need to kick this bus project in the tail! I want to go to Mazatlan in November!
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Old 06-21-2019, 04:17 PM   #7
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Oh! Have I ever got a great story to share about making a crossing into Canada, back in '86!
It was entering Quebec and, well, those Francophones are...
Different.
Don't wanna hijack, so I'll keep it to myself. Besides, prolly not as funny, since I can't do the outrrrrrrageous accents here!
Excellent time of year to go Mazatlan way!
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Old 06-21-2019, 04:32 PM   #8
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Hey all!

Im wondering if anyone has any experience or knows where I can find the information on whether or not I can buy a bus in the US, have a company convert it in Canada, then bring it back to the US to live/travel in.

Cheers and thanks for any and all input
As best I understand it, if you are a Canadian Citizen and bring a US bus into Canada you will have to go through the import process. There are a couple of folks here that have successfully imported US buses into Canada. I'm sure they would be willing to share their experiences with you.
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Old 06-21-2019, 04:44 PM   #9
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Oh! Have I ever got a great story to share about making a crossing into Canada, back in '86!
It was entering Quebec and, well, those Francophones are...
Different.
Don't wanna hijack, so I'll keep it to myself. Besides, prolly not as funny, since I can't do the outrrrrrrageous accents here!
Excellent time of year to go Mazatlan way!
worst, scariest crossing I ever had happened shortly after the World Trade Fair - heading across our small local crossing into Washington, pulled up to the kiosk, and as I was taking my sunglasses off ( the border guards wear reflective lenses so you can't see their eyes, but want travelers to remove their glasses so their eyes can be seen ) to be polite and save a hassle, one of the lenses fell out and landed in the step next to the van door - I couldn't reach the lens from where I was sitting, so I released my seat belt, opened the door and got out - in the next blink of an eye there were 3 rapid fire assault weapons pointed at me by 3 burly guys wearing bullet proof vests, ( and yes, wearing reflective sunglasses ) - took me several bone chilling moments to talk them down from their over the top reaction to an old man trying to retrieve his sunglasses, and then another 1/2 hour while they searched the internet to find my links to terrorist groups, then another 10 minutes to search my van - fortunately I had emptied the van of all my tools and painting supplies before I left home - that was the scariest crossing - had some other individual border guards that over stepped their bounds - one was transferred because of it, another was fired, and one quit for being chastised by her superiors for allowing me to park a honda trike in their warehouse while I went to get the paper work they wanted - her superiors would have rather I drive back 35 miles to a town where I wasn't known to find a place to park the trike for a few hours - I used to frequently go to Spokane for shopping and pleasure - frequently enough that the guards on both sides of the border knew me by first and last name, knew what I did for a living and what I did for recreation - always got a 'Hi Al' and a 'howerutoday?', but since the rapid fire weapon incident, I've only crossed the border a very few times, none of it having to do with spending money on food, entertainment, or supplies in the US
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Old 06-22-2019, 07:44 PM   #10
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thank you for the response!

Yes, I dont see why it would be a big deal at all, its a US bus going back to the US, not importing or staying in Canada.

but, why would it be cheaper in the USA? the conversion rate USA residents would save tons with the conversion!
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Old 06-22-2019, 07:46 PM   #11
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Sorry, I should have been more clear.

I am asking for a US resident, buying a bus here, getting it done in Canada due to the conversion rate - I would save lots of money, then bringing it back home.

Everywhere I read, it should be fine i just show the receipt for the work done at the border
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Old 06-22-2019, 08:32 PM   #12
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Sorry, I should have been more clear.

I am asking for a US resident, buying a bus here, getting it done in Canada due to the conversion rate - I would save lots of money, then bringing it back home.

Everywhere I read, it should be fine i just show the receipt for the work done at the border
there shouldn't be a problem bringing the bus back and forth across the border, but I would suggest you check what you are going to be charged for the conversion at the border - it could, not saying it will, but it could more than equal the savings of having it done in Canada - doesn't cost anything to make a call to customs and ask questions
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Old 06-22-2019, 08:41 PM   #13
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Absolutely, thanks for mentioning this!

Cheers
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Old 06-23-2019, 02:56 PM   #14
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If it is titled and registered to you and you have the appropriate license to drive it in Canada.

I have driven an air brake equipped bus through four provinces and multiple border crossings with no issue. I was ignorant of the Canadian requirements. I never had an issue.

But..... I have heard several stories, two directly from the folks involved, about being turned around at the border because they didn't have an air brake endorsement.

There may be some duty due when you come back. You could probably just not say a word to CBP and get away with it. Personally, I have a firm policy of not telling lies to border officials.
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Old 06-23-2019, 03:13 PM   #15
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If it is titled and registered to you and you have the appropriate license to drive it in Canada.

I have driven an air brake equipped bus through four provinces and multiple border crossings with no issue. I was ignorant of the Canadian requirements. I never had an issue.

But..... I have heard several stories, two directly from the folks involved, about being turned around at the border because they didn't have an air brake endorsement.

There may be some duty due when you come back. You could probably just not say a word to CBP and get away with it. Personally, I have a firm policy of not telling lies to border officials.
for drivers that come from states that allow Motorhomes equipped with air brakes to be driven with out certification, they are allowed to drive in Canada without an airbrake ticket-

https://www.icbc.com/driver-licensin...orsements.aspx
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Old 06-23-2019, 03:27 PM   #16
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for drivers that come from states that allow Motorhomes equipped with air brakes to be driven with out certification, they are allowed to drive in Canada without an airbrake ticket-

https://www.icbc.com/driver-licensin...orsements.aspx
I honestly don't know firsthand.

I have driven in Canada with air brakes on my first bus. No problem.

I have heard of several folks being turned around at the border. I met two couples that had experienced this first hand.

I don't worry about it too much...... Canada is not a place that I care to visit again.

OP: Do your due diligence and decide what works for you.
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Old 06-23-2019, 03:29 PM   #17
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for drivers that come from states that allow Motorhomes equipped with air brakes to be driven with out certification, they are allowed to drive in Canada without an airbrake ticket-

https://www.icbc.com/driver-licensin...orsements.aspx
Good link. Thank you.

​Air brake endorsements
There are two types of air brake endorsements in B.C.:

On-highway. For large trucks, buses and RVs equipped with air brakes that drive on roads and highways in B.C.
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Old 06-29-2019, 04:56 PM   #18
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I had someone from ICBC (the licensing authority in BC) suggest, when I lived in Colorado, that I print out a copy of the relevant section of the Colorado Revised Statutes that allowed an air brake exemption for RV drivers and just keep it in the vehicle. Iíd say thatís very good advice for anyone without an air brake endorsement traveling anywhere outside their home state (or home country).
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Old 06-29-2019, 05:19 PM   #19
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I had Canadian Customs threaten to "take apart my bus down to the last nut and bolt" when I disagreed with something one of them said.
Only nuts and bolts I've seen on my bus were holding the seats in place. I should have just driven to Canada instead of doing the demo myself. "I think there are drugs and terrorists inside those seats, officer."
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Old 06-29-2019, 06:19 PM   #20
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Brilliant!!!
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Only nuts and bolts I've seen on my bus were holding the seats in place. I should have just driven to Canada instead of doing the demo myself. "I think there are drugs and terrorists inside those seats, officer."
Way to put your tax dollars to work!
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