Crossing the Border – Requirements for Canadian Trucks Transporting Grain in the U.S.

What are the licensing and registration requirements for Canadian trucks transporting grain within the U.S.?

Canadian producer trucks hauling grains into the U.S. do not need specialized licensing (i.e., farm plates are permitted), if hauling their own grain.

The U.S. Department of Transportation website: The site is organized both by geographic area and by topic. You can click on a State or Province on a map to find information that pertains specifically to Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) operations for such items as general motor carrier information, licensing, oversize/overweight permitting, International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) requirements, etc. You also can search by topic using the dropdown box below the map to find available information within that topic for all States and Provinces.

Key items include: Canadian producer trucks must be registered under the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and have the appropriate IFTA sticker(s) affixed to their vehicle.

The International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is an agreement between 10 provinces in Canada and 48 states in the United States of America. It makes it easier for inter-jurisdictional carriers to register, license, report and pay taxes for motor fuels (such as diesel and gasoline).  Carriers pay fuel taxes to their base jurisdiction, to which they register under IRP.  Those taxes are then distributed to the jurisdictions in which the vehicles traveled.

Canadian producer trucks hauling grains into the U.S. must be registered with the U.S. DOT (if they are not carrying/delivering their own grain). U.S. DOT does not accept Canadian DOT registration. The International Registration Plan (Plan) is a registration reciprocity agreement among states of the United States, the District of Columbia and provinces of Canada providing for payment of apportionable fees on the basis of total distance operated in all jurisdictions.  Vehicles not registered under IRP require trip permits to travel into jurisdictions other than where they are registered.  IRP’s fundamental principle is to promote and encourage the fullest possible use of the highway system.

Canadian producer trucks are not permitted to burn purple gas in the U.S. – they must fill with clear diesel prior to entering into the U.S. A helpful page on Canadian rules for dyed diesel can be found at:

Producers are exempt from drug and alcohol testing as long as they are operating their own vehicle within 150 miles of their farm.  (Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49: Transportation, Part 382 – Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing, S382-103 – Applicability) – presumably they are subject to testing if they exceed the maximum distance allowable (150 miles) –  If a producer employs farm personnel that operate their farm-plated vehicles (delivery truck) the same rules apply to the employed person as the producer.

Canadian commercial trucks must be registered and licensed in each jurisdiction they will travel through and for the weight they will be hauling. They must register through the International Registration Plan (IRP) in the base (home) jurisdiction of the vehicle.

Canadian commercial trucks are subject to Drug and Alcohol Testing through the U.S. Department of Transportation.  Commercial motor carrier companies engage a certified company to conduct pre-employment drug and alcohol testing for all employed drivers.  Drivers must pass the test before being permitted cross-border access.  After this initial test, the drivers are subject to random testing and must pass the test to maintain their approved status.

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