A customs guide for
Canadian residents returning to Canada
This pamphlet is an overview of the
laws, restrictions, entitlements, rights, and obligations of
Canadian residents returning from travel outside Canada.
Legislation takes precedence and you should consult it for
exact information. The information in this publication was
accurate when it was published. However, legislative
provisions and requirements can change at any time. We make
every effort to provide timely updates.
La version française de cette
publication est intitulée Je
The Canada Customs and Revenue
Agency is at Canada's entry points to help you when you
return from abroad. In carrying out our responsibilities, we
are committed to giving efficient, courteous service. At
designated bilingual offices we will serve you in the
official language of your choice. Our customs officers want
to make your return to the country as pleasant and
problem-free as possible.
Our presence at the border helps to
monitor and control the movement of people and goods into
Canada. We stop goods that could threaten our health,
environment, and agriculture, as well as prohibited goods
such as drugs, firearms, and pornography. Also, we watch for
missing children and runaways.
In this pamphlet, you'll find
information to help make your return to Canada enjoyable and
problem-free. If you would like more detailed information,
please call our Automated Customs Information Service at
Crime Stoppers is a national
organization dedicated to serving Canadians by making it
possible for those who have information about a crime to
contact police and stay anonymous. If you have any
information that could lead to solving a crime, please call:
Crime Stoppers / Échec au
Table of contents
this pamphlet for you?
to expect when you return to Canada
If you are a Canadian resident
intending to travel abroad or returning home after
travelling to another country for any length of time, you
may find this pamphlet helpful. We have included information
you should know about government requirements for travellers
To avoid problems and delays in
clearing customs when you return, there are several things
you can do before you leave.
Make sure you carry proper
identification for yourself and any children travelling with
you, including any documents the country you intend to visit
requires, such as passports, birth certificates, and visas.
Proper identification includes birth certificates, baptismal
certificates, passports, citizenship cards, records of
landing, and certificates of Indian status. These will help
prove your citizenship and residency when you return to
Parents who share custody of their
children should carry copies of the legal custody documents.
When travelling with a group of vehicles, parents or
guardians should arrive at the border in the same vehicle as
Adults who are not parents or
guardians should have the children's identification as well
as written permission from the parents or guardians to
supervise the children. The permission letter should include
addresses and telephone numbers where the parents or
guardians can be reached.
Our customs officers watch for
missing children and may ask detailed questions about the
children who are travelling with you.
Before travelling abroad with
valuable items, you can take advantage of a free
identification procedure at any of our customs offices. This
service is available for items that have serial numbers or
other unique markings. For items that do not have such
markings, we can apply a sticker to give them a serial
When you show your valuables to the
customs officer and state that you got them in Canada or
lawfully imported them, the officer will list your valuables
and their serial numbers on a wallet-sized card. If you are
questioned about your goods when you return to Canada,
simply show your card to the customs officer. This will help
identify the valuables that were in your possession before
leaving the country.
Because jewellery often has
significant value and can be difficult to identify, we
cannot list it on this card. We suggest that you travel with
as little jewellery as possible. Taking the following steps
before you leave Canada will make it easier for you to
re-enter the country with jewellery.
Get an appraisal report from a
gemologist, jeweller, or insurance agent, as well as a
signed and dated photograph.
Get written certification that
the items or jewellery in the photograph are the ones
described in the appraisal report.
Carry the appraisal report, the
certified photograph, and a copy of the bill of sale
when travelling abroad. If you imported the goods
previously, make sure you have a copy of your customs
Modifying an item outside Canada
Under customs law, if you take any
item outside Canada and change it in any way or make it more
valuable, we do not consider it to be the same item when you
bring it back into the country. You have to declare the full
value of the new item.
You take an old diamond ring with
you on a trip outside Canada. While abroad, you replace the
diamond. When you return to Canada, we consider the whole
ring to be new.
Even if part of the ring is made
from Canadian material, we have to treat the ring like any
other piece of jewellery you got outside the country. This
rule applies unless you have previous authorization from us
to have those repairs or alterations made abroad.
If you intend to have repairs or
modifications made to your vehicle outside Canada, check
with us before you leave. Under customs law, we can no
longer consider your vehicle, vessel, or aircraft to be
Canadian if you increase its value, improve its condition,
or modify it while abroad. As a result, you may have to pay
duties on its entire value when you bring it back.
Repairs or alterations to vehicles,
aircraft, or vessels carried out in the United States,
Mexico, Chile, or Israel will be free of customs duty when
the vehicles are exported to these countries for the
declared purpose of repair or alteration. Goods and services
tax (GST) or harmonized sales tax (HST) will apply to the
value of the repair or alteration.
You can have incidental minor
repairs made or parts replaced while you are travelling
abroad to maintain your vehicle in an operating condition.
Although these minor modifications do not make the whole
vehicle subject to assessment, you may still have to pay
duty on the repairs and parts.
If you had to make repairs or get
replacement parts to ensure the safe return of your vehicle
to Canada, we may be able to apply a special provision that
waives any duty payable. Be sure to declare the value of all
repairs and replacement parts when you return from abroad.
Transport Canada also has
requirements for vehicles that are extensively modified. For
more information, contact them at: 1-800-333-0371.
Some of the places you plan to
visit or pass through may be plagued by cholera, yellow
fever, or malaria. Before you leave to travel abroad, find
out what vaccinations and medications you might need. You
can get this information from your federal, provincial, or
territorial health officer, or you can contact:
Ottawa ON K1A 0K9
Telephone: (613) 957-2991
Fax: (613) 941-5366
The following are some of the goods
that are restricted in Canada. Make sure you have the
information you need about these items before you try to
bring them into the country.
Before you carry a firearm into
another country or bring one back to Canada, be sure to
contact the Canadian Firearms Centre to find out what
documents you need. They can be reached by calling
1-800-731-4000 from anywhere in Canada and the United
States, or (506) 624-5380 from outside Canada and the United
States, or by going to www.cfc.gc.ca.
If you are planning to get a
firearm while you are abroad, you should read the pamphlet
called Importing a Firearm or Weapon Into Canada.
You can get a copy from any of our customs offices or by
calling our National Distribution Centre at
Replica firearms are designed or
intended to exactly resemble a firearm with near precision.
You should be aware that replica firearms are classified as
prohibited devices and you cannot import them into Canada.
You need authorization to bring
explosives, fireworks, and some types of ammunition into
Canada. You may also need a permit to bring such items into
the country. For more information, contact:
Explosives Regulatory Division
Natural Resources Canada
580 Booth Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0E4
Telephone: (613) 995-8415
To be eligible for importing into
Canada, vehicles have to meet customs and Transport Canada
Under customs law, import
restrictions apply to most used or second-hand vehicles that
are not manufactured in the current year.
To find out about customs
restrictions and the exceptions that apply, read our
pamphlet called Importing a Vehicle Into Canada. You
can get a copy from any of our customs offices or by calling
our National Distribution Centre at 1-800-959-2221.
Under the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA), customs restrictions do not apply to
vehicles imported from the United States, as long as they
meet certain conditions. In addition, vehicles that qualify
for the United States tariff rate are duty-free. Excise tax
and goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST)
Under NAFTA, customs restrictions
still apply to vehicles imported from Mexico.
The duty rate on vehicles that
qualify for the Mexico tariff rate began to drop on
January 1, 1994. The rate will continue to drop
each year until 2003, when vehicles become duty-free. Excise
taxes and GST/HST still apply in the usual way.
Transport Canada restrictions apply
to vehicles that are less than 15 years old, and to
buses built on or after January 1, 1971. If you're
thinking about importing such a vehicle, be sure that it
meets the Transport Canada import requirements or that it
can be modified to meet their requirements after you import
it. Not all vehicles from the United States can be imported
You usually cannot import vehicles sold in countries other
than the United States into Canada.
If you've acquired a
vehicle from the United States, you can find
out if your vehicle can be imported by contacting:
Registrar of Imported Vehicles
405 The West Mall
Toronto ON M9C 5K7
Telephone: (416) 626-1803
1-888-848-8240 (toll free from Canada and the United States)
If you've acquired a
vehicle from a country other than the United States,
Road Safety and Motor
Vehicle Regulation Directorate
Place de Ville, Tower C
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0N5
Telephone: (613) 998-8616
1-800-333-0371 (toll free from
Canada and the United States)
Fax: (613) 998-4831
Remember that Transport Canada
defines a vehicle as any vehicle that is capable of being
driven or drawn on roads, by any means other than muscular
power exclusively, but does not run exclusively on rails. Trailers
such as recreational, camping, boat, horse, and stock
trailers are considered vehicles, as are
wood chippers, generators, and any other equipment mounted
on rims and tires. Before importing your vehicle, call
Transport Canada to determine if the vehicle qualifies for
importing. Finally, if your vehicle meets both customs and
Transport Canada requirements, it may also be subject to
provincial or territorial taxes. If you need more
information, contact the motor-vehicle authority in your
province or territory.
If you buy, lease, rent, or borrow
a vehicle while abroad, customs law does not allow you to
bring it into Canada for your personal use, even
temporarily, unless it meets all the requirements and you
pay the duties and federal taxes that apply. However, in the
case of a one-way rental, you can go to the authorized
rental agent closest to your destination in Canada to drop
off the vehicle.
To monitor the effects of imports
on Canadian manufacturers, there are import controls on
items such as clothing, handbags, and textiles. These
controls are outlined in the Export and Import Permits
Act. Depending on the value, the quantity, or the type
of goods you intend to import, you may need an import permit
even if you qualify for a personal exemption. For more
information, contact any of our customs offices or:
Export and Import Controls Bureau
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
P.O. Box 481, Station A
Ottawa ON K1N 9K6
Meat, eggs, and dairy products
Canada has complex requirements,
restrictions, and limits that apply to importing meat, eggs,
dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables, and other food
from around the world. You can avoid problems by not
bringing such goods into Canada.
You can import some meat and dairy
products from the United States. There are limits on the
quantity or dollar value of certain food products you can
bring into Canada free of duty, or that you can include in
your personal exemption. If you bring in quantities of these
products over and above the limits, you will have to pay a
high rate of duty (from 150% to 300%). You may also need an
agricultural inspection certificate.
The following are some examples of
the limits that apply to each person:
two dozen eggs;
$20 worth of dairy products
(for example, cheese and butter);
three kilograms of margarine;
20 kilograms of meat and
meat products, including turkey and chicken. Within the
20-kilogram limit, more restrictions apply as follows:
- a maximum of one
whole turkey or 10 kilograms of turkey products; and
- a maximum of
10 kilograms of chicken.
All meat and meat products have to be identified as products
of the United States.
To protect plants and animals from
pests and disease, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
has controls, restrictions, and prohibitions on the entry of
plants, animals, and their products, including food. To
import some of these goods you will need certificates or
permits. Many goods do not need mandatory inspection by the
CFIA, but if the goods you are importing need to be
inspected, you may have to pay a fee. In some cases, customs
officers collect fees for the CFIA.
If you plan to import agricultural,
forestry, or food items, contact one of the following CFIA
Import Service Centres (ISCs) for information before
you leave. ISC staff handle all enquiries about import
requirements for all commodities regulated and inspected by
the CFIA. There are three ISCs:
Eastern ISC (Montréal)
Hours: 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Telephone: 1-877-493-0468 (toll free from Canada and the
United States); or
(514) 493-0468 (from all other locations)
Fax: (514) 493-4103
Central ISC (Toronto)
Hours: 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Telephone: 1-800-835-4486 (toll free from Canada and the
United States); or
(905) 612-6285 (from all other locations)
Fax: (905) 612-6280
Western ISC (Vancouver)
Hours: 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Telephone: 1-888-732-6222 (toll free from Canada and the
United States); or
(604) 666-7042 (from all other locations)
Fax: (604) 541-3373
You can also get information from
the CFIA Web site at www.inspection.gc.ca.
Canada has signed an international
agreement that protects species of animals and plants that
are or may be threatened with extinction by regulating their
international trade. These restrictions extend to their
parts and to products made from the fur, skin, feathers,
bone, or other parts of these species.
You should find out in advance what
goods you can bring back to Canada by contacting:
Canadian Wildlife Service
Ottawa ON K1A 0H3
Telephone: (819) 997-1840
Certain antiquities or cultural
objects, considered to have historical significance to their
country of origin, cannot be brought into Canada without the
appropriate export permits. Before you import such items,
you should contact:
Movable Cultural Property
15 Eddy Street
Hull QC K1A 0M5
Telephone: (819) 997-7761
Fax: (819) 997-7757
When you return to Canada, you may
qualify for a personal exemption. Personal exemptions allow
you to bring goods of a certain value into the country
without paying the regular duties. However, a minimum duty
may apply to some tobacco products.
The term duties
can include excise taxes, and goods and services
tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST). It does not include
provincial or territorial sales tax. However, we have
working agreements with some provinces and territories that
allow us to collect provincial and territorial tax, levies,
and fees on goods that are more than your personal
If you reside in one of the
provinces that has a working agreement and you return to
Canada through your province, you will be subject to the
provincial assessment on goods over your personal exemption.
If you bring in more than the free allowance of alcohol, you
will have to pay the provincial assessment for the province
where you enter Canada, even if it is not your province of
The federal government has
agreements with New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and
Newfoundland to collect HST at a rate of 15%. If you live in
a participating province, and the value of the
non-commercial goods you import is more than your personal
exemption, you have to pay HST instead of GST regardless of
where you enter Canada.
Except for restricted items, you
can bring back any amount of goods, as long as you are
willing to pay the duties and any provincial or territorial
assessments that apply. This rule applies even if you do not
qualify for a personal exemption.
To find out if the goods you are
bringing back are worth more than your personal exemption,
convert foreign-currency values and any foreign sales taxes
you paid to Canadian dollars at the appropriate rate of
After each absence of 24 hours or
You can claim up to CAN$50 worth of
goods without paying any duties. This is your personal
exemption. You must have the goods with you when you arrive
and you cannot include tobacco products or alcohol beverages
in this exemption.
If the goods you bring in are worth
more than CAN$50 in total, you cannot claim this exemption.
Instead, you have to pay full duties on
all goods you bring in.
After each absence of 48 hours or
You can claim up to CAN$200 worth
of goods without paying any duties. You must have the goods
with you when you arrive. Although you can include some
alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, only a partial
exemption will apply to cigarettes, tobacco sticks, or loose
tobacco. You may have to pay a minimum duty on these
products. You can find more details on the next page under
"Tobacco and alcohol."
After each absence of seven days
You can claim up to CAN$750 worth
of goods without paying any duties. With the exception of
alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, you do not need to
have the goods with you when you arrive. Although you can
include some alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, only
a partial exemption will apply to cigarettes, tobacco
sticks, and loose tobacco. You may have to pay a minimum
duty on these products.
To calculate the number of days you
have been absent, do not include the date you leave Canada
but include the date you return. It is dates that matter,
not times. For example, we consider you to have been absent
seven days if you left Friday the 7th and returned
Friday the 14th.
You are eligible for a personal
exemption if you are a:
Canadian resident returning from
a trip abroad;
former resident of Canada
returning to live in this country; or
temporary resident of Canada
returning from a trip abroad.
Even young children and infants are
entitled to a personal exemption. As a parent or guardian,
you can make a customs declaration for a child, as long as
the goods you are declaring are for the child's use.
If you spend part of the year in
another country for health reasons or pleasure, that country
usually considers you to be a visitor. As such, you are
still a resident of Canada for customs purposes. This means
you are entitled to the same exemptions as other Canadians.
When you import foreign goods or vehicles for your personal
use in Canada (even temporarily), you have to meet all the
import requirements and pay all the duties you owe.
You cannot combine your personal
exemptions with another person's or transfer them to someone
In addition, you cannot combine
your 48-hour (CAN$200) with your 7-day (CAN$750) exemption
for a total exemption of CAN$950.
In general, the goods you include
in your personal exemption have to be for your personal or
household use, souvenirs of your trip, or gifts. Goods you
bring in for commercial use, or for another person, do not
qualify for the exemption and are subject to full duties. In
all cases, goods you include in your CAN$50 or CAN$200
exemption have to be with you.
Except for alcohol and tobacco,
goods you claim in your CAN$750 exemption may precede or
follow you by mail or other means.
You can include alcoholic beverages
and tobacco products in your 48-hour (CAN$200) or your
7-day (CAN$750) exemption, but not in your 24-hour
(CAN$50) exemption. All tobacco products and alcoholic
beverages have to accompany you in your hand or checked
The following conditions apply:
If you meet the age requirements
set by the province or territory where you enter Canada, you
can include up to:
- 50 cigars or
- 200 tobacco
- 200 grams of
However, as of October 1, 2001, if
you include cigarettes, tobacco sticks, or loose tobacco in
your personal exemption allowance, only a partial exemption
will apply. You will have to pay a minimum duty on these
products unless they are marked "CANADA-DUTY PAID ·
DROIT ACQUITTÉ". You will find Canadian-made products
sold at a duty-free shop marked this way. You can speed up
your clearance by having your tobacco products available for
inspection when you arrive.
If you bring in more than your
exemption allowance, you will have to pay regular
assessments on the excess amount. These regular assessments
can include duties, taxes, and provincial or territorial
fees. The customs officers will give an allowance for
products that are marked when they calculate the amounts
If you meet the age requirements
set by the province or territory where you enter Canada, you
can include one of the following:
- 1.5 litres of
- 1.14 litres (40
oz.) of liquor; or
- 24 × 355 ml
cans/bottles (8.5 litres) of beer or ale.
You can bring in more than the free
allowance of alcohol except in Nunavut and the Northwest
Territories. However, the quantities have to be within the
limit the province or territory sets and, in most cases, you
have to bring the quantities with you.
If you bring in more than the free
allowance, you will have to pay both customs and provincial
or territorial assessments. For more information, check with
the appropriate provincial or territorial liquor control
authority before you leave Canada.
We classify coolers according to
the type of alcohol they contain. For example, we consider
beer coolers to be beer and wine coolers to be wine, and
apply the quantity limits accordingly.
We do not classify beer or wine
that contains 0.5% alcohol by volume or less as an
alcoholic beverage. As a result, no quantity limit applies.
While you are abroad, you can send
gifts free of duties to friends in Canada under certain
conditions. To qualify, each gift has to be worth CAN$60 or
less and cannot be an alcoholic beverage, a tobacco product,
or advertising matter. If the gift is worth more than
CAN$60, the recipient will have to pay regular duties on the
It is always a good idea to include
a gift card to avoid any misunderstanding. While gifts you
send from abroad do not count as part of your personal
exemption, gifts you bring back do.
In most cases, you have to pay
regular duties on prizes and awards you receive outside
Canada. For more information, contact any of our customs
Making a full declaration and
paying any duties and taxes you owe is a simple,
straightforward process. You can pay by cash, traveller's
cheque, VISA, American Express, or MasterCard. We also
accept debit cards at most offices. If an amount is not more
than CAN$2,500, you can sometimes pay by personal cheque. A
customs inspector will give you a receipt showing the
calculations and amounts you paid.
After each trip abroad of
48 hours or longer, you are entitled to a special duty
rate. The rate applies to goods worth up to CAN$300 more
than your personal exemption of CAN$200 or CAN$750, that do
not qualify for duty-free entry under the North American
Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This rate applies only to
goods that come with you, and does not apply to alcohol or
tobacco products. The special duty rate is 7% under the Most
Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff treatment. You still have to
pay any GST/HST that applies. In some provinces we also
collect provincial sales tax.
If you do not qualify for a
personal exemption, or if you exceed your exemption limit,
you will have to pay GST/HST, as well as any duty or other
tax or assessment that applies on the excess amount. Duty
rates vary according to the goods you are importing, the
country where the goods were made, and the country from
which you are importing them. You may also have to pay
provincial sales tax if you live in a province where we have
an agreement to collect the tax and you return from your
trip through your province.
Your goods qualify for the U.S.
duty-free rate under NAFTA (North American Free Trade
Agreement) if they are:
Your goods qualify for the lower
Mexican duty rate in a similar way.
If you would like more information
on goods eligible under NAFTA, visit us at www.ccra.gc.ca
and look for Memorandum
D11-4-13, Rules of Origin for Casual Goods
Regulations, under customs technical publications or
contact one of our customs offices and ask for a copy.
The duty on a wide range of
products originating in non-NAFTA countries has been cut or
will be reduced to zero over the next few years. NAFTA goods
also qualify for the WTO agreement rate. If the duty rate
payable on the goods you are importing is lower under the
WTO agreement than under NAFTA, customs officers
automatically assess the lower rate.
Value for duty is sometimes called
customs value. It is the amount we use to calculate duty on
your goods, and is generally based on the price you paid for
In most cases, we consider any
foreign sales tax added to, or included in the price, to be
part of the value. However, some foreign governments will
refund sales tax to you if you export the items you bought.
In such cases, you do not have to include the amount of the
foreign sales tax that was or will be refunded to you.
When you return to Canada, you have
to declare all of the goods that you got abroad such as
purchases, gifts, prizes, or awards that you are bringing
with you, or having shipped to you. Include goods still in
your possession that you bought at a Canadian or foreign
duty-free shop. As well, make sure you declare any repairs
or modifications you made to your vehicle, vessel, or
aircraft while you were out of the country.
If you aren't sure if an article is
admissible or should be declared, always declare it first
and then ask the customs officer. Remember that customs
officers are there to help you and will work out your
personal exemption and any duties you owe in the way that
benefits you most.
We want to make your experience of
returning to Canada as pleasant as possible. If you have any
difficulties with the customs process, we want to resolve
them quickly. Please ask to speak to the superintendent on
duty. In many cases, the superintendent will be able to
resolve your concerns at once
If you are returning to Canada by
commercial aircraft, you will receive a customs declaration
card to complete before you arrive.
These cards are also used at some
locations for travellers arriving by rail, vessel, or bus.
If you have any questions about the card or Canadian
regulations, please ask the customs officer when you arrive.
If you arrive in Canada in a
private vehicle such as an automobile, aircraft, or bus, you
can usually make an oral declaration.
If you are declaring goods claimed
as part of your CAN$750 exemption that preceded or will
follow your arrival in Canada, ask the customs officer for
Personal Exemption Customs Declaration. You will
need your copy of the form to claim these goods. Otherwise,
you may have to pay the regular duties on them.
We have areas at most major
airports where you can pay any duties or taxes you owe while
waiting for your baggage to arrive. If you want to claim
more than your exemption limit, or if you have something to
declare, follow the red signs to the declaration area. If
you are within your exemption limit and have nothing to
declare, follow the green signs to an exit.
In co-operation with Citizenship
and Immigration Canada, we have introduced the CANPASS
program to streamline customs and immigration clearance for
low-risk travellers. CANPASS participants arriving by either
private aircraft or private boat report by telephone before
leaving the United States. Any duties or taxes they owe are
billed to their credit cards. We have also introduced the
CANPASS - Highway program at selected land borders
across Canada. Participants using the CANPASS lane declare
their goods on a special declaration card. Any duties or
taxes they owe are billed to their credit cards.
You may occasionally find yourself
going through a more detailed customs procedure. In some
cases, this simply means that you may have to complete a
form. In other cases, a customs officer will need to
identify the goods you are bringing into the country or
examine your luggage.
If you are travelling with
children, do not be surprised if our officers talk to them,
or ask you questions about them. Keep in mind that they are
looking for missing children.
You should also know that our
officers are legally entitled to examine your luggage as
part of their responsibility to protect Canada's safety,
economy, and environment. You are responsible for opening,
unpacking, and repacking your luggage. We appreciate your
By making your goods easily
accessible for inspection and having your receipts handy,
you will be helping us to help you. It is a good idea to
keep all your receipts for accommodations and purchases, and
for repairs done or parts you bought for your vehicle. We
may ask to see them as evidence of the length of your stay
and the value of the goods or repairs.
If you disagree with the amount of
duties and taxes that you had to pay, please ask to speak
with the superintendent on duty. A consultation can often
resolve the issue quickly and without cost. If you are still
not satisfied, our officers can tell you how to make a
If you do not declare goods, or if
you falsely declare them, we can seize the goods. This means
that you may lose the goods permanently, or that you may
have to pay to get them back.
Depending on the type of goods and
the circumstances involved, we may impose a penalty that
ranges from 25% to 80% of the goods' value.
The law also allows us to seize
vehicles you use to unlawfully import goods. When this
happens, we impose a penalty you have to pay before we
return the vehicle. We usually seize commodities such as
alcohol and tobacco products outright when they are not
properly declared, and you cannot get them back.
We keep a record of infractions in
our computer system that can influence the customs
inspection process. If you have an infraction record, you
may have to undergo a more detailed customs examination on
If you have had your goods seized
and disagree with the action taken, you can appeal. To do
this, you should write a letter to us within 30 days of
the date of the seizure, to tell us you want to appeal. You
can send the letter to any of our customs offices. You can
find more information about the appeal process on the front
of your seizure receipt form.
When goods arrive that preceded or
followed your arrival in Canada, you have 40 days to
claim them by producing your copy of Form E24,
Personal Exemption Customs Declaration. This is the
form you had to complete when you returned from abroad.
The carrier who delivers the goods
will ask you to pay the duties that apply, along with a
processing fee. You then have two options. You can:
If you refuse delivery, the carrier
will return the package to us and ask you for a telephone
number where we can reach you to discuss the assessment. The
carrier will give you a copy of the assessment notice for
your reference. Once we have determined that the goods are
eligible for free importing as declared on your Form E24,
we will release them for delivery to you without an
If you refuse delivery, the courier
company will hold the package until you have personally
cleared the goods through customs. We will determine if the
goods are eligible for free importing as declared on your
Once you receive proof of release from customs, you should
provide this proof to the courier company to release the
package to you.
If you have to replace any of the
goods you brought in under your personal exemption, and you
want to avoid paying more duty, you have 60 days from
the date you imported them to do so. Contact us for advice
on how to do this.
To find out the duty rate of an
article, or to learn more about your rights and
responsibilities under customs law, contact our Automated
Customs Information Service (ACIS).
ACIS is a computerized 24-hour
telephone service that automatically answers all incoming
calls and provides general customs information. You can use
a touch-tone telephone to hear the recorded information in
either official language. If you call during office hours,
you can also speak directly to an agent if you need more
If you use a rotary-dial telephone,
you cannot hear the ACIS message. However, if you call
during office hours, your call will be transferred directly
to an agent.
You can access ACIS free of charge
throughout Canada by calling:
If you are calling from outside of
Canada, you can access ACIS by calling
(204) 983-3500 or (506) 636-5064.
Long distance charges will apply.
If you have comments or
suggestions, we would like to hear from you. Please write or
fax us at:
Operational Policy and Coordination Directorate
Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Sir Richard Scott Building
191 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa ON K1A 0L5
Fax: (613) 954-4570