Customs And Immigration

The detailed information on Customs and Immigration and links to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website are reproduced with Permission of the Canada Border Services Agency Communications Directorate. This page is designed to give an overview of the subject and you should always contact the CBSA for the latest legislation before making any decisions.

We have always been met by friendly and polite Customs and Immigration officials when we have travelled to Canada. This is in keeping with their fundamental committment to provide such a service. The one thing I'll add is that no matter how bad a journey/day you have had ALWAYS be nice back!

As with most countries around the world, Canada takes its security extremely seriously and will not bend the rules for anybody. The guidelines are quite straight forward and to ensure a problem free arrival its imperative you stick to them. There are two main pamphlets available to assist you depending upon your circumstances.

RC4151 - Settling in Canada is the document to guide you if you are settling in Canada for the first time or after being abroad for over 3 years (For Canadians). That is the basis for this page.

ItsCanadaTime Also, for those who are moving to Canada to study or work temporarily the pamphlet BSF5068 Entering Canada to Study or to Work will be your guide.

Ensure all your possessions you bring with you are listed with values in Canadian Dollar have two copies ready - one to keep and one for the customs and immigration officials. To speed things up when you land you can download and print the forms B4 and B4A from the CBSA website. Its best to have all your lists typed out to make life easier for the officials. Also, you will need the same forms for the goods to follow (if any). No import tax or duties are payable on settlers personal and household effects as long as you have owned, possessed and used them prior to arrival in Canada. If possible try and find any receipts and/or registration documents to support this.

Part of the "landing" process involves sorting out the paperwork for the "Goods to follow" and items you have brought with you. We had to report in person with our lists within 5 days at the Canada Customs and Immigration District Office. All our paperwork was checked and that was it. We had to present the paperwork to claim a box we had couriered over and then send it off to the shipping agents in Vancouver to clear customs at the port of entry. Due to the fluid nature of legislation contact the CBSA for the latest rules!

There is also a scheme for wedding gifts if you are newly married or about to be married within 3 months of your arrival in Canada. It is worth noting that any items you will be using for commercial purposes will be subject to regular duties at the current rates.

With the recent international clamp downs on terrorism and money laundering it is essential that if you physically carry over C$10,000 or foreign equivalent you report it to the customs official. There isn't any limit on settlers funds but failure to follow the rules may result in the seizure of the cash and/or big fines. See the pamphlet BSF5052 Vehicles can also be imported as personal effects but they must meet the strict Customs and Immigration Requirements and tested within 45 days. These requirements apply to vehicles less than 15 years old and buses that were manufactured on or after January 1st 1971. For all the information go to pamphlet BSF 5048 - Importing a Vehicle Into Canada. Firearms are restricted in Canada and it is advisable to contact the CBSA directly regarding this.

Due to the extensive regulations associated with the import of meat, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables it is recommended that you just don't bother. It will delay your arrival if you have them with you - especially if not declared to customs and immigration!

The same goes for house and garden plants. They contribute to the spread of disease and insects and are subject to rigid regulations. Contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency through the links above for more details.