Worldwide Guide to International Customs to Canada

Though the customs process for shipping freight can seem daunting, it is actually less complicated than you may think. Especially with a partner such as Jet Worldwide. This guide on how to navigate customs with a guide to international customs clearance. clearance can assist you in comprehending the import process. Successfully complete your next international shipment. Ensuring your peace of mind with Jet Worldwide.

Navigating Customs: A Guide to International Customs to Canada

Canadian Paperwork is an essential part of importing

Moving freight to Canada requires additional paperwork compared to domestic shipping. When conducting business across the border, three key documents include a bill of lading (BOL), a Canadian Customs Invoice, and certificate of origin.

bill of lading graphic vector image Important elements of bill of lading

invoice for customs Data necessary for invoice for customs.

Canadian Customs Authority and import process

All goods shipped to Canada must clear customs.

Canadian Customs is the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The CBSA manages imports regulating the movement of goods to and from Canada.

If you're importing goods into Canada, you'll need ensure compliance. Here's an overview of the Canadian customs process for goods entering the country.

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Necessary Items for Canadian import

Navigating Customs: A Guide to International Customs to Canada

You might need a business number, a GST/HST account and register as an importer. Make sure the necessary permits and registrations are in place.


Proper documentation is crucial for the customs process. This includes a commercial invoice, bill of lading, packing list, and any other relevant documents

Tariff Classification

Each type of imported good has a specific tariff classification code. The code factors in the goods themselves, composition, and intended use. Read more about understanding HS Codes.

Generic Harmonized System (GHS) to Canada

Simpler tariff classification process are possible for qualified postal and courier imports. The option is the generic Most-Favoured-Nation (MFN) tariff. The rates are on “special classification provisions” found in Chapter 98 of Canada’s Customs Tariff.Consignments must be have a value less than CAD 500.

Canada GHS tariff schedule chart

Declared Value to Canada

The CBSA most commonly recognizes the transaction value method. The transaction value is the price actually paid for the goods including shipping and insurance. Read more about verifying the correct declared value.

Country of Origin

The country of origin refers to where the goods were grown, raised or manufactured. It is important to understand the difference from where goods ship from versus their origin.

Once all the above data and supporting paperwork is in place, a customs submission is ready.

What is a Canadian customs entry?

The terms customs entry, customs declaration are interchangeable. A customs entry is a submission CBSA. A request for acceptance of the goods to Canada. Most often the job of a customs broker.

Do I need to use a Canadian customs broker?

CBSA does not mandate that importers use a customs broker to import goods to themselves. However, the only customs brokers are allowed to make entry on behalf of someone else. Practically speaking, it is simply best to use an expert to assist with the sometimes complex entry process. Read more about Canadian customs brokers.

As a general rule, using a customs broker becomes more important when as the value increases. Most frequent Canadian importers already have a customs broker.

What is Entry Preparation for Canada Imports

Entry preparation is what the name implies. It is the preparation and submission of an entry to customs. Couriers use this term often.. Standard entry preparation is usually part of International air courier service to Canada. Goods via ground, LTL/ FTL truck or ocean do not typically include entry preparation

Who is the broker for shipments received via Canada Post?

Packages mailed internationally from outside Canada are postal imports. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) administers postal imports. CBSA Import Mail Centres are local in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) collects provincial sales taxes (PST) and harmonized sales taxes (HST). Applicable tax is according to the province of residence.

Who is the broker for shipments via FedEx, UPS and DHL

FedEx, UPS and DHL all have brokerage subsidiaries to manage imports entry preparation.

Do I have to use a couriers broker for import to Canada?

You can always request to clear your consignment via your own broker. Such instructions should be on the carrier paperwork and customs invoice.

How does your freight clear customs?

You've loaded your freight and the driver has left your dock. Now what? While your shipment is in transit, your customs broker is confirms the Importer of Record. When everything is in order, your customs broker will submit entry to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). All customs clearance communication electronic.

How are Canadian import duty and taxes calculated?

Canadian import tariffs or Duty is the result of the HS classification, value and country of origin.

Anticipating customs fees to Canada

Canada has its own guidelines. Imports costs vary depending on the country of origin, items and value. Luckily, there are helpful tools to estimate these fees ahead of time. Jet offers help to businesses to predict import costs upfront. Fill in form below to contact our team.

How can I import goods to Canada duty free?

  • Goods valued under $20 CAD can imported duty free. Goods shipped from the USA and Mexico valued under $140 CAD can clear duty free.
  • Qualifying goods via one of Canada’s Free Trade Agreements (FTA) can clear duty free. To qualify under a Canadian FTA the goods must meet “country of origin” rules.

free trade vector-2Benefit from Canada’s free trade agreements.

certificate origin vectorVerify if a certificate of origin is necessary

What is a customs bond?

A customs bond is a financial guarantee ensuring payment of duties, taxes to the Canada Border Services Agency. You can purchase a bond for a single entry. If you have many imports, look into purchasing a continuous bond.

Do goods from the USA to Canada have to clear customs?

The common misconception is that U.S. shipments can easily ship to Canada without import fees. While the USMCA/ CUSMA is a great tool, it required proof of origin to benefit from duty free import.

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