Whenever you move jewelry across borders, in most situations you will have to declare it. Whether you are bringing it with you as you travel and intend to use it as a personal item, or you are shipping it abroad for commercial purposes, you must adhere to customs requirements.
What do you need to keep in mind when shipping jewelry across the border?
Jewelry declaration requirements when shipping
If you are importing jewelry shipments into Canada for resale or commercial use, you must provide specific information to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). CBSA uses Form B3 to code this information. To fill out Form B3, you will need several pieces of information regarding your business and your jewelry shipment, including:
- Importer name and address
- Importer Business Number
- Description of the imported jewelry
- The total value of the shipment
- Vendor’s name
- Country of origin (if it’s from the US, you’ll have to put the three-digit alphabetic state code)
- Country of export
- Tariff treatment (indicates under which tariff agreement the goods fall, if any)
- Direct shipment date
If you want to claim preferential tariff treatment, you must have valid certifications and certificates of origin.
Commercial imports that exceed $2,500 (USD) are considered formal entries by US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), including imports of diamonds, jewelry, pearls, precious and semi-precious metals. For a formal entry, you must fill out CBP Customs Bond Form 301 and obtain a surety bond. A surety bond ensures that you will pay applicable customs duties to CBP when you import your jewelry. You may also have further restrictions and requirements for importing gems and precious metals under the Patriot Act.
As a commercial importer of jewelry to either Canada or the US, you face several obstacles and requirements. If you want to ensure your goods clear customs properly and comply with all CBSA or CBP regulations, consider hiring a customs broker to handle the process for you.
Are there import duties on jewelry?
Both the US and Canada levy duties on imported jewelry, although the rates vary by jewelry type. Duties also apply whether you’re importing for personal use or commercial resale.
In Canada, import duties on jewelry may vary from 0%-8.5%. Some jewelry imported to Canada from the US, however, falls under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), making it exempt from Canadian import duties. Diamond rings manufactured in the US, for example, do not have an import duty when brought to Canada. Although some jewelry may not be charged an import duty upon entry into Canada, keep in mind that you will still have to pay Provincial Sales Tax (PST).
In the US, jewelry is considered a personal effect and therefore not duty-free upon import. However, you do not have to pay duty on jewelry valued below $800 from most countries.
To find the exact duty rates for the jewelry you’re importing, you can check the Harmonized Tariff Schedules of either Canada or the US. Or, to make things much simpler, you can use BorderBuddy’s import duty calculator to estimate how much you’ll have to pay when bringing your jewelry into the US or Canada.
Do I have to declare watches or jewelry when crossing the border?
To put it simply, yes, you should declare watches and jewelry when passing through customs. If you purchased it abroad and you’re travelling back to your home country, it’s always safer to declare it, according to CBP. Most customs authorities around the world have a similar recommendation.
If you declare it, you may have to pay import duty on it, but this tax is lower than the fee you’d have to pay if you’re supposed to declare it and you don’t. US citizens and residents returning to the US with foreign-bought jewelry typically qualify for a value exemption, meaning that if their jewelry is under $800, they won’t have to pay duties on it.
If you are leaving your home country to travel abroad and you bring watches or jewelry you already own, you don’t have to declare them. But CBP does recommend registering these high-value items before you go, so there’s no confusion as to where you got them when you make your return trip. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) also recommends validating your jewelry before traveling abroad by taking a written appraisal and photographs of the items to a CBSA office before your trip.
Purchasing jewelry in duty-free shops
Many people purchase jewelry at duty-free shops at airports, to avoid having to pay import duties. However, the duty-free status of your items only applies in the country in which you purchased them. If you purchase a new necklace at a duty-free shop in Canada, you may still have to pay import duties on it if you bring it to the US.
Working with a certified customs broker
Shipping jewelry internationally can be a complex process, as there are factors to consider that don’t apply to other goods. Instead of incurring penalties or paying huge fines for not following the rules, work with a customs broker who can ensure you’re compliant. For questions about shipping jewelry or other items across borders, contact BorderBuddy today.