Here at BorderBuddy, we have often handled the clearances of live animals such as horses. In our experience, the best way to avoid stress at the border, for you or your animals, is to be prepared. If you have never done this before, these are some tips for importing a horse into Canada.
1. State whether this is a temporary or permanent basis
If the animal will be in Canada on a temporary basis you can bring it in on an E29B import entry for a period up to 12 months from the U.S. If the horse will be here on a temporary basis, for example, a competition, they may enter free of tax. You will be required to show proof of your intention to bring the animal back after the event. Horses entering for less than 30 days may not require a veterinary inspection at the border.
If you are bringing a horse into Canada on a permanent basis, you must state whether this is for race, show, breeding, or other purposes. You will be required to pay the applicable taxes upon entry, and the horse will need to have a veterinary inspection. You will be required to show a bill of sale listing the value of the horse as well. Horses that are bred in Canada that have lived in the U.S. for more than 60 days are considered American horses, which means that if you purchase such an animal and return it to Canada you will still be required to pay the tax.
2. US Paperwork
When importing a horse into Canada, the animal must be accompanied by an export certificate issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certificate VS 17-140 or VS 17-145.
3. Canadian paperwork
When filling out the Canada Customs Invoice be sure to list the country of origin correctly. Country of origin refers to the country where the horse was born. The name and address for the destination in Canada must be clearly stated, and all invoices must match the health documents. Be sure the horse is not referred to by different names, this could cause problems at the border.
4. Bill of sale
CBSA is targeting valuation of horses and they will want to see the bill of sale. Again, be sure the name of the horse matches across all documents.
5. Veterinary records
You will need to show up-to-date vaccinations and paperwork. You will need a current health certificate including a current Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) also known as the Coggins and International Health Certificate which may be one or two pages but must show that the horse(s) have not been in the state of Texas or New Mexico within the past 21 days.
Make sure you use a veterinarian who is familiar with the border crossing requirements so that he or she will help you with a smooth crossing.
6. Veterinary inspections
Not all border crossings offer veterinary inspections, so make sure you choose a port where the service is available. It is unlikely that inspections will be offered on a weekend, so make sure you verify you are arriving at a time when they are available. If you choose BorderBuddy to handle the importation of your animal, we will handle all the details and have an appointment set up for you in advance.
7. Do your research
Certain states in the US have different regulations and requirements, and the same goes for certain Canadian provinces. Horses that are born in countries other than the US or Canada may be more highly-regulated, and in some cases prohibited, so it is essential to have this all sorted before you set out to cross the border.
Horses shipped from Texas or New Mexico need a CFIA import permit which the importer must apply for in advance.
Consistency is key when filling out these documents. If the name of the horse is different on the health certificate than what is stated on the bill of sale, you will run into problems. If you’re planning to change the horse’s name, it’s best to wait until you have crossed the border.
Pregnant horses: if the horse you are importing is pregnant, you may need to determine a value for the foal.
8. Trailer hitch
If you have purchased a trailer to transport the animal, be aware that there are certain regulations and transport-related requirements.
It’s important to note that rules about importing horses into Canada are often subject to change because animals can be affected by various outbreaks of diseases such as Vesicular Stomatitis (VS).
At BorderBuddy, we provide border solutions. We are on top of all the latest changes in requirements, and if you contact us in advance we can definitely ensure a smooth crossing for you and your animals so that everything comes off without a hitch!