Title transfer

My friend visited me from US when he left gave his car to me for free, I want to know how to make a smoothly title transfer and get insured of the car.

Good luck...

Lots of "mine fields" in this transaction.  A gift, likely no gift letter, foreign registered vehicle, etc etc.

What you're seeking is very understandable and should be quite easy to rectify.  I say "should", but you will be dealing with ICBC.

This is the ICBC that dealt with the citizen who was helping out during a parade.  The parade hadn't started, the road was cordoned off and police were stationed at intersections at the baracades.  The helpful citizen in his vehicle was driving along the closed roadway/parade route heading for the far end.

The traffic lights were still functioning.  As he drove through an intersection on a red light a red light traffic camera "caught" him.

In the photo the barricades and the police standing by them can be seen.  The street is deserted of traffic.  A quick explanation ?  Nope, instructions on how to fight the ticket.  Not until the media gets involved is the erroneous ticket rectified.  That's ICBC.

My registration nightmare...

Father in Law passes away in January, mother in law, although not a licensed driver is a joint owner of the vehicle.  Before the vehicle is transferred, mother in law also passes soon after father in law, a circumstance that is also, sadly quite common.

Pretty easy, right ?  Joint owned vehicles should be transferred in succession, owner 1 dies, it goes to owner 2.  If owner 2 had died after owner 1, it should go to "The estate of owner 2", again pretty easy.

Nope, this is ICBC.  They insist it is registered jointly in the name of "The estate of Owner 1 and The estate of Owner 2". 

Ever tried to administer the distribution of assets, when a vehicle is registered such ???  It's impossible.

ICBC's solution. OK go to a lawyer and have a letter of understanding drawn up.  Oh, did I mention the vehicle is worth $200 ?

Days and days of grief, paying for two vehicle transfers ($28 X 2) all to dispose of a $200 vehicle.

So I say, Good Luck, you will need it.


You will need to start with Canada Customs to complete importing the vehicle properly.

Once you have completed that, it will have to be inspected and passed by the Registrar of Imported Vehicles.

The last step would be to visit an Autoplan Agent and purchase BC licence and insurance.

Also ...

... if your friend never officially imported the car into Canada (does it have BC plates and registration?) then before visiting an Autoplan agent, you'll need to get a Government Inspection done on it.

Otherwise, you won't be able to insure it here. And, if you're currently driving it, you may be taking a huge insurance risk.

Permanent transfer from US to BC

The vehicle must be officially exported from the USA, requiring the exporter to electronically submit documents to the border port at least 72 hours prior to export. This might need a broker. Any US car less than 15 years old being permanently transferred into Canada must be on the list of admissible vehicles maintained by the federal Registrar of Imported Vehicles (https://www.riv.ca/VehicleAdmissibility.aspx), and some can require modifications to meet Canadian standards. Bureaucratic rules require a (federal) RIV inspection as well as a (BC) safety inspection.

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