Whether you’ve just arrived in Manitoba, or plan to do so soon, getting a car is a necessary step to ensure reliable transportation. A car is definitely a helpful way to get yourself and your family to and from work, school, and on longer trips that may not be well suited to public transportation. We know there are many things you need to get in order when settling into your new home and a car is yet another item to take care of. To help you get into the vehicle you need, here are the steps you need to take.
What documents do I need to buy a car in Manitoba?
Here are the top three things you need to buy or lease a car in Manitoba:
You’ll need to get these three pieces in this order because they’re pre-requisites of one another.
A Valid Manitoba Driver’s Licence
Depending on where you immigrated from, you may be able to transfer over your licence — either fully or partially. Manitoba Public Insurance requires three pieces of acceptable identification to determine the class and stage of licence that will transfer over. The first piece needed is your foreign driver’s licence and it must include the following information:
- Your full name and birth date
- The country and licensing authority that issued your licence
- Your class or type of licence, and a description of the type of vehicles you’re allowed to drive
- When your licence expires
- How long you’ve had your licence (including the date it was first issued, if you’ve had your licence for less than three years)
The other two pieces of identification you’ll need are your Canadian Citizenship (or permanent residency) card and an official driver record document or letter. To obtain your driver record you can contact your Consulate or Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, depending on where you are originally from.
If your foreign licence or supporting pieces of identification are in a language other than French or English, you will have to provide the original licence with a certified translation. You can find more information about this on Manitoba Public Insurance’s website.
Note: Your driving record is not necessary to get a licence in Manitoba, but if you would like to fully or partially transfer over your foreign licence, skipping graduated licensing, it’s mandatory.
A Car Insurance Policy
Before you can get car insurance, first ensure you have a valid Manitoba driver’s licence. To obtain insurance, there are only two things you need to supply:
- The driver’s licence numbers for everyone who will be using the car (must live in the same household)
- The make, model, mileage, and registration number of your vehicle
To complete your legal ownership of your car, you need to register it with the provincial government of Manitoba.
In order to register your car, you need the following:
- Your Manitoba driver’s licence and the 15-digit registrant identification number (RIN)
- Proof of your current insurance policy
- Certificate of sale and ownership title also known as the “pink slip”
- Your licence plate number
If you’re buying a used car you will also have to include:
- A valid Certificate of Inspection (COI)
- Transfer of Ownership Document (TOD)
- The bill of sale
Once you have all the necessary documents, you can register your car with an Autopac agent at your nearest Manitoba Public Insurance.
Should I Buy a New or Used Car?
Now that you’ve got everything you need for a car, should you buy, lease, or finance a vehicle? Should you choose a new or used car?
It’s important to take into consideration your budget, whether you have a job with a steady income, and your credit record. You may want to start with getting auto financing or leasing a vehicle as these options can be more manageable for your monthly budget. Both leasing and loans are determined by your credit history.
As a new Canadian, you might not have established credit. To get approved for a first time car loan here’s a few things you can do to build your credit and help get approved:
- Apply for Credit Cards: By securing a credit card and paying the balance off consistently, you can build your credit score.
- Pay Bill Payments On Time: Bills paid fully and on time will positively impact your credit record.
- Save a Down Payment: Even if it’s a only few thousand dollars, saving a down payment can help you secure financing because lenders will be lending you less money. Having a down payment also shows you are responsible, therefore making lenders more likely to give you a car loan.
Note: The above suggestions to build your credit are NOT quick fixes. It takes some time to establish a credit history and improve your credit score.
Car Loans for New Immigrants to Canada
At Birchwood Credit Solutions we want to help new Canadians find reliable transportation. We recognize the obstacles in place that might limit you from getting approved for auto financing. Birchwood specializes in helping first-time car buyers, people with less-than-perfect credit, or no credit history at all. We’re here to assist you getting a car loan and into a new or pre-owned Birchwood vehicle.