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Canada Customs Tips for the Holiday Season

Christmas is around the corner, and many of you will be sending and receiving gifts to and from abroad. Some of you will also be travelling to visit friends and family in other countries. So here are some tips for the holiday season.

1. If your Aunt Hilda wants to send you a gift basket in the mail or via courier from Europe, let her know not to send bottles of alcohol (wine etc), meat products (i.e. sausages) and dairy (i.e. cheese). These items are not allowed and often spoil en route. Also any flammable items such as perfume are also considered non-mailable.

2. If Uncle Hubert wants to send you gift, tell him to declare it as a gift and have him remove tags and wrap it. If your shipment is examined and there is no indication that it is a gift, i.e. no card, no wrapping then the exemption provided by tariff 9816 may not be applied.

3. If Cousin Habib is sending you a care package for Eid, make sure you know what the contents are exactly and how much everything is worth in Canadian dollars. You will have to make a full declaration to Customs as to the contents and the value in order to obtain release of the shipment. Also if you are claiming it is a gift you will need to provide some kind of evidence to have tariff 9816 applied to any of the items. i.e. a letter from your Cousin to that effect.

4. If you travel abroad to visit family or friends for the holiday season and take your brand spanking new Canon digital camera with you, be prepared to show proof of Canadian origin upon your return. This can be done by showing the receipt showing purchased in Canada or by documenting the Camera on Form Y38. Form Y38 can be completed at any inland Customs office or at the airport Customs info counter before you check in. On this form they will document your camera, note the serial number or affix a sticker with a unique number on it. When you return to Canada, and you pass through customs and there is any question just produce the Form Y38 and Bob’s your uncle. 

5. If you despise your extended relatives and decide to go away for the Christmas break somewhere warm and exotic like Thailand and you end up coming across a giant carving of a Buddha you really really like, you can have it shipped home. Then upon your return just let the customs officer now that you have goods you purchased abroad that are not accompanying you and are being shipped. The officer can then issue you a form E24 to apply your personal exemption under tariff 9804 and remove whatever amount is remaining when the buddha arrives. i.e. After being in Thailand for a 10 days you return to Canada and you only bring a bottle of scotch with you in your luggage that you bought from the duty free for $50 CAD. So the remaining $700 on your exemption will noted on form E24 and can be taken off whatever you paid for the statue before duty and taxes are assessed.

6. For all you residents of Canada who will be travelling for the holidays be sure to read my post on Canada Customs Limits, especially the part titled 9 Tips with regards to Canada Customs Limits or Allowances with regards to your Personal Exemption. There is also a post on the $60 gift exemption you might find useful.

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Canada Customs Forms – Forms you may need

Here are some commonly used forms that you might need to complete for the CBSA (Canada Customs) in your dealings with the agency.

B2 – Canada Customs – Adjustment Request Form – PDF(103kb)

B2G – CBSA – Informal Adjustment Request Form – PDF(25kb)

B3-3 – Canada Customs Coding Form – PDF(104kb)

B3B – Canada Customs Cargo Control Continuation Sheet – PDF(15kb)

B4 – Personal Effects Accounting Document – PDF(83kb)

B4A – Personal Effects Accounting Document (list of goods imported) – PDF(54kb)

B13A – Export Declaration – PDF(265kb)

B232 – North American Free Trade Agreement Certificate of Origin – PDF(228kb)

B240 – Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement Certificate of Origin – PDF(65kb)

B246 – Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement Certificate of Origin – PDF(143kb)

BSF267 – Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement Certificate of Origin – PDF(320kb)

CI1 – Canada Customs Invoice – PDF(429kb)

E29B – Temporary Admission Permit – PDF(507kb)

E311 – CBSA Declaration Card – PDF(67Kb)

E667 – Cross-Border Currency and Monetary Instruments Report – General – PDF(88kb)

E677- Cross-Border Currency and Monetary Instruments Report – Individual – PDF(105kb)

L53 – Application for Customs Brokers Licence – PDF(23kb)

L55 – Application for Customs Brokers Examination – PDF(114kb)

If I am missing any that you need please let me know and I will add them.


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