Moving to BC? Here is How to Switch Over Your Out-Of-Province Vehicle

move to victoria bc

When you first arrive in Victoria, your to-do list is probably quite intimidating. You have to check out downtown, find all the great restaurants, and explore a few local beaches. And what about a hike along the coast? Or a weekend in the Gulf Islands? Or maybe a surf trip to Tofino? Or…

Hold on. Before you explore every inch of this incredible place, you have to take care of a few things. Like your car. If you and your vehicle are planning to make BC your new home, here’s what you need to know:


You have to get your vehicle inspected

British Columbia has strict standards when it comes to what’s driving around on our roads. So if you’re bringing in a vehicle from outside BC, you’ll need to get it safety checked.

All out-of-province vehicles must pass a standardized safety inspection from a designated inspection facility. Without a passing grade, you won’t be able to register, license and insure your vehicle.

This is where Searle’s Auto Repair comes in. As an ICBC Designated Inspection Facility, we’ll look over your vehicle from bumper to bumper to ensure it meets BC’s safety requirements. From brakes and electrical to driver’s controls and body integrity, we’ll let you know of any issues and exactly what it’ll cost to fix them. Our authorized mechanics will take care of the problems, re-inspect your car, and give you the official paperwork you need to legally hit the road.

Simply give us a call to book an inspection or fill out our handy online form.

Good news: The inspection rules will become a little more relaxed starting April 1st, 2015. When the changes take effect, the inspection requirement won’t apply to a vehicle that has not been rebuilt and is either less than four years old or was inspected within the last 90 days. But until then, all vehicles (including motorcycles) must undergo an inspection.


You have 30 days to register, license, and insure your vehicle

Once your vehicle is deemed roadworthy, it’s time to register, license and insure it. This can be done at any Autoplan broker. You’ll just need to gather a few documents first, such as your vehicle’s current registration, two pieces of ID, and a passed vehicle inspection report. The ICBC website has more information on exactly what you’ll need to bring.


You have 90 days to get a BC license

After moving to BC, you can drive for up to 90 days with your existing, valid license. Before the time period’s up, you must head to any driver licensing office in BC to apply for your new license. All you need are two pieces of ID, your current driver’s license, the fee for your license, and proof of two years’ driving experience (as a non-learner).

If you don’t have enough driving experience, or don’t have proof, you can still get your BC license by going through the graduated licensing program. You’ll get credit for however long you’ve been driving.

The exception: If you’re just visiting for an extended period or are moving to BC to be a full-time student, you might not have to switch over your license. Get in touch with ICBC for the most up-to-date details on this or check out their FAQ.

1 comment

John Dawson said:

April 14, 2016 at 5:07 am

Out of Province BC Vehicle Inspection – Victoria

When I did a Google search to find out about the required out of province BC vehicle inspection prior to moving to Victoria, I landed on Searles Auto website. I had the same inspection performed on another vehicle several years ago when moving into Alberta and was scammed for several thousands of dollars, so I was naturally apprehensive having to locate a shop in BC to repeat the process, having just moved here. This inspection is comprehensive and I certainly did not expect to get out of the door with my 2005 Escalade for just $200. I was hoping for an honest and accurate report/repairs to bring my truck up to standard to make the transfer and repair several issues I was aware of when going in. Searles Auto came in right on the money, providing the best service I have ever had at a repair shop. I was very impressed with the cleanliness of their shop, the professionalism in their approach toward me as a customer and the clarity of their communication during the assessment and repairs required. What really rang my bell was the fact that they genuinely let me know they appreciated my business when I picked up my truck. Respect is the pillar of every relationship and my first experience with Searles Auto totally established my respect and trust for this business.

If you are moving to Victoria and require a BC Out of Province Inspection for your vehicle, I highly recommend Searls Auto hands down. If you further wish to speak to me in person, do not hesitate to ask Chris for my phone number and give me a call.

John Dawson

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