In order to register a Canadian-plated vehicle in Montana (or any other US state), it must first be imported into the United States.

Importing a Canadian vehicle into the US

United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) is responsible for the vehicle import process.

In order to import a vehicle into the US, you must visit a CBP office at the US border with your vehicle’s ownership paperwork in hand.

The CBP officer will complete and stamp CBP Form 7501: Entry Summary.

You must also complete Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Form 3520-1, stating that the vehicle complies with US air pollution standards, as well as Department of Transportation (DOT) Form HS-7, stating that the vehicle complies with US safety, bumper, and theft prevention standards.

Vehicles manufactured outside of the US and Canada may be subject to the following import duties:

  • Autos: 2.5%
  • Trucks: 25%
  • Motorcycles: 2.4%

For more information about the import process, consult this resource from the CBP: Importing a Motor Vehicle.

With your complete and stamped CBP Form 7501: Entry Summary, you can move on to the vehicle registration process, which happens at the US state level.

Registering an Imported Vehicle in Montana registers vehicles for international visitors in the US state of Montana, so this guide will discuss the process of registering an imported vehicle in Montana.

Montana, like all other US states, requires that a vehicle not previously titled in the United States undergo a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) inspection, in order to verify that the VIN on the vehicle’s paperwork matches the VIN on the vehicle’s chassis.

Even though the US states are part of the same country, they are individually sovereign, and don’t talk to each other as smoothly as you might think.  So a VIN inspection done in New York State is not recognized in Montana.

This means that, in order to register a vehicle in Montana that was previously owned in Canada, it must undergo a Montana VIN inspection.

In order to conduct a Montana VIN inspection, you must prepare Montana Form MV20: Level 1 OHV / Vehicle Number Inspection and arrange an inspection with a Montana law enforcement agent, who must sign your MV20 form.

With your VIN inspection complete, submit these forms to to register your vehicle in Montana:

  • Canadian vehicle ownership documentation
  • Signed and stamped CBP Form 7501
  • Signed Montana Form MV20