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To set yourself up for a successful moving day, it's important to have all your documents in order, and to make sure your mover has everything they need to bring your possessions across the border. Here are three steps to follow to help make the big day a good one.

Moving to the U.S. From Canada: The Good, the Bad and the Taxes. Three Steps for a Smoother Move

Part 2: The Big Day: 3 Steps For a Smoother Move
So moving day is fast approaching!

A lot of your work is already behind you, which is the great news. What’s next, however, is a big step towards a successful transition. Here are three things you’ll want to consider take care of to position yourself for a smooth trip across the border.

1. Equip Your Mover With Everything They Need.

During this stage of your move, your mover is going to be your biggest ally as you navigate (figuratively and literally) your journey to the U.S. To successfully bring your stuff across the border, your mover will need some documents to show at customs.

Here’s some of the important documents you’ll need to give your mover:

  • A completed 3299 customs form. This is the Declaration For Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles.
  • Your work or study visa and letter of offer of employment (if applicable).
  • Your valid passport.
  • Your I94 document (stamped when you cross the border).

2. Enter the U.S. Before Your Possessions Do.

If all your documentation is in order, you don’t need to be physically present at the border with your stuff. Your I94 document and work visa are approved/stamped at the border. Therefore you need to enter the U.S. before the truck arrives.

Keep in mind that your personal possessions can enter the U.S. duty-free, as long as you’ve owned them for at least a year. If you’re thinking of buying a bunch of new things before moving, it’s best to compare the cost to buy them south of the border versus in Canada (and paying to move and import them).

3. Consider Your Auto Needs.

If you’re planning on having a car after you move, consider buying one in the U.S.; cars can be less expensive to purchase in the U.S., and you may pay less sales tax.

If you’re looking to import your car, it must meet U.S. safety and environmental standards in order to bring it across the border. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) site has lots of information and all the forms you need to import your car.

You may need to provide:

  • A compliance letter from the manufacturer (not the dealer) saying it meets U.S. safety standards.
  • A completed EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) form for each vehicle you’re importing. Your car must conform to the United States EPA emissions standards and requirements.
  • A completed HS7 form, which is a declaration form for importing motor vehicles into the U.S.

Keep in mind that when you register your car in some states, you’ll have to pay sales tax on your existing vehicle. For example, if you bought a car in Toronto before moving, you would have paid HST on the purchase. When you bring it to the U.S, you may then have to pay an additional sales tax to the state you’re moving to. Just some food for thought as you weigh your options as far as your vehicle is concerned.

Thinking of Moving Yourself?

While many Canadians hire moving companies to transport their goods across the border, it’s also very possible to bring all of your possessions with you; just remember the rules that come with bringing your own car with you on your move. If you’re renting a vehicle to move your stuff, make sure you work with a company that allows cross-border transit and that you bring all rental documentation with you for customs agents to review.

Once the big moving day is behind you, you’ll be well on your way to your new American adventure!

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