Includes import documentation and other requirements for both the U.S. exporter and foreign importer.
Last Published: 12/14/2018

The Canada Border Services Agency website lists the required documents for import (www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/menu-eng.html). The most important document required from a U.S. exporter is a properly completed Canada Customs Invoice or its equivalent for all commercial shipments imported into Canada. The exporter can use its own form if the required information is provided. At the border, the importer or customs broker also submits Form B3, the customs coding form. Further information on Form B3 can be found in the brochure "Importing Commercial Goods into Canada – How to complete Form B3 when importing commercial goods" (www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/pub/bsf5079-eng.html). Other documents that trucking companies provide for customs clearance may include a cargo control document and bill of lading. Some goods such as food or health-related products may be subject to the requirements of other federal government departments and may need permits, certificates, or examinations.

To obtain duty-free status under the NAFTA Rules of Origin, a commercial NAFTA import worth more than C$2,500 must be accompanied by a NAFTA Certificate of Origin; a commercial import worth less than C$2,500 only requires a statement of origin from the exporter that the product originates in a NAFTA state. Canada looks at the product and its component parts to determine whether a sufficient percentage of the value and/or composition of the final product will qualify for NAFTA origin. This process can be quite complex, and rules vary for each product. U.S. companies should consult the United States Department of Commerce's NAFTA Certificate of Origin Interactive Tool (export.gov/logistics/eg_main_018131.asp). Customs brokers can assist U.S. exporters with details of the import documentation process, including Canada's non-resident importer program, in which the United States exporter in the United States obtains a "business number" and can then be the "importer of record" for purposes of customs clearance. This arrangement offers many marketing advantages, in particular the opportunity to remove the burden of customs clearance of commercial shipments from the Canadian customer. Large retailers often demand that an exporter complete whatever paperwork is required so that all the retailer needs to do is unload the goods from the truck and pay the exporter for the goods. Many brokers advertise their non‑resident importer programs on their websites.

For most mail-order shipments, the only paperwork needed is a standard business invoice. Companies should indicate the amount the customer paid for the goods, in either U.S. or Canadian dollars. If goods are shipped on a no-charge basis (samples or demos), the company must indicate the retail value of the shipment.

U.S. companies shipping commercial goods to Canada need to be aware that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) eManifest program (www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/aci-manif-ipec/menu-eng.html).   eManifest requires carriers, freight forwarders, and importers in all modes of transportation (air, marine, highway, and rail) to transmit cargo, conveyance, house bill/supplementary cargo, and importer data electronically to CBSA prior to loading in the marine mode and prior to arrival in the air, rail, and highway modes.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Canada Import Regulations Trade Development and Promotion