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Importing goods to Canada – Personal Shipments

Great Post with tips by Doesitblog on non-commercial importations! here The post covers a lot so I wont go over it so make sure you read it.
Read the comments by LVSfree too…this guy does his homework and is bang on! You always have the option to self-clear goods…
With companies that ship by courier read the blog I linked to at the beginning.

When ordering large items…the cost of a courier may be too high and the Company or store you bought from may also use a customs broker and a freight forwarding company to bring the goods up to Canada. At the time of purchase is the time to request that you want to self clear the goods through customs if you so wish.

Some companies hire a customs broker who like to submit entries as PARS…that is as Prearrival Review System…which speeds up the customs process by allowing the broker to submit the entries for review before the goods arrive in Canada. In this scenario, the company you order from may recommend you not to self clear as the goods may be grouped together with a bunch of other goods heading to central hub to be broken down and then distributed. So to simplify and speed up the customs process they don’t want to have a truck full of precleared goods and one shipment that needs to be cleared. However, this is really your option. With a regular freight forwarding company you should always have the choice to have the goods move up in bond to a bonded warehouse closer to you. But be aware that you may incur warehouse storage and handling fees.

So if you are self-clearing, follow these steps:


1. Once the goods are in Canada and arrive at the warehouse, the shipper or warehouse should notify you and send you the paperwork to present to Customs.

2. You need 2 copies of the Cargo Control Document or manifest…it will say In-bond, arrival notice, or advice note at the top and have your name as the consignee, the exporter’s name, the cargo control number and the location of the goods, description of the shipment, weight, value and piece count. Bring 2 copies (1 that says Long room Copy and 1 that says Customs Delivery Authority Copy).

3. You will need at least 1 piece of government issued ID (be prepared to prove legal status in Canada),

4. You will need the invoice, receipt or proof of purchase like a print out of the paypal receipt. If you don’t have one you complete a Canada Customs Invoice instead. You may need to fill one out anyway if there is missing information required by Customs or if it is not in English or French.

5. The last document you should bring is optional…that is proof of origin of the goods. A certificate of origin, statement from the exporter, or a NAFTA certificate can get you reduced or no duty at all depending on what you are importing and where.

Leave me details  on what the goods are and how much you paid in a comment and I will be happy to let you know if this can help you or not.

6. Then go to the local customs office responsible for the warehouse your goods are being stored at (warehouse should have the address) and declare your importation.

7. Once you have paid any duties or taxes applicable you will receive a release stamped copy of the cargo control document and a form B15 casual goods accounting document. This is your proof that you presented your goods and paid.

8. Then take your released stamped copy of the Cargo Control document back to the warehouse and receive your goods…or if you have arranged for door to door delivery they will deliver once they have received the released stamp copy.

I hope this isn’t too confusing. Again, if you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them, just post and I will get back to you.

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9 Responses to Importing goods to Canada – Personal Shipments

  • Anonymous says:

    Would you advise requesting that the shipper decline brokerage from the carrier and specify myself as the broker? Or is it better to wait until the attempted delivery and then get the required information from UPS/FedEx to take to the CBSA office?

  • Customs Info says:

    Its really up to you…and which courier you are using. I think it is usually better to be proactive. In some cases I have heard that you can go account for the goods at customs and then send a copy of the receipt to the courier before hand and then your goods can be delivered no hassle. But its a really a case by case issue.
    I have also heard that UPS can sometimes misinform customers that they need to go clear personal goods at the point where the goods entered Canada. This is incorrect. If the goods have already moved in bond in land then you should be able to go that inland facility and get your goods once you have a customs release in hand.
    You can definitely save some money by self clearing…it all depends on how much your time is worth and how much they are charging to broker. If its $20 then it may be better to pay as you may spend a few hours. first time is always the hardest.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, the freight company handling my shipment is charging me a DDC fee of $144. My supplier quoted me CIF which included the DDC charge. Are there two different DDC fees?

    How is the document handling fee determined? I'm being charged $90 for this when in the past I paid $25? Sounds kind of high.


  • Customs info says:

    From what I understand there can be different kinds of DDC fees, but I am not an that knowledgeable about shipping charges. Just make sure you ask for an itemised breakdown of all charges. That way you can see exactly what you are being charged for. Sorry I can't be much of a help.


  • Freight Forwarder Toronto says:

    If it is just a few boxes you wish to import then a courier service like TNT or FedEx would be the quickest and least expensive option.

    If it is more than a few boxes and quite heavy then the best option would be via a groupage/consolidated shipment.
    This is the least expensive option as you actually share a container rather than use your own for the shipment and therefore only pay for the space you take up in the shared container.

  • Anonymous says:

    I will be shipping some personal effects back from South Africa to Canada and would like to include a wine collection. What do I need to do to ensure I can get my collection back properly. 95 bottles

  • Customs info says:

    To the guy moving back from South Africa,

    What province are you moving to?


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