If your business is based in the US and you’re interested in tapping into the Canadian market, becoming a Canadian Non-Resident Importer (NRI) might be your best option.
The Non-Resident Importer Program is run by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), and its purpose is to enable international exporters to sell their products to Canadian customers without having a physical business presence in Canada.
There are numerous benefits to becoming a Non Resident Importer as well as some risks to consider. Is your import-export business just starting? Don’t miss our complete guide.
Advantages of Becoming a Non-Resident Importer
US companies receive lots of benefits when they are both the exporter of record and the non-resident importer of record. These include:
- Price certainty. The US company can incorporate fees (such as customs clearance fees, taxes and duties, and transportation costs) into the sale price of the product so Canadian customers don’t have to deal with unexpected costs.
- Convenience for customers. Canadian customers can buy the US company’s products as easily as they can purchase domestic products.
- Reduced costs. The US company can clear the consolidated shipment faster and save money on shipping costs.
- Improved tracking. The US company has total control over the shipment throughout the process and can track it easily, avoiding customs delays.
- Competitive advantage. The US company can expand its market reach into Canada while maintaining an edge over its competitors.
- Supply chain efficiency. The US company is not required to have any warehouses, distribution centers, or stores in Canada and can build a supply chain that suits its business model.
Risks and Responsibilities
It’s important to be aware of the risks and responsibilities inherent in becoming a non-resident importer of record. They are as follows:
- The non-resident importer of record is held responsible for the import declaration.
- The non-resident importer of record must calculate and pay all taxes and duties.
- The non-resident importer of record is expected to follow all participating government agency regulations.
As you can see, the non-resident importer needs to be familiar with customs documentation, import tax Canada, and all relevant rules and regulations.
Curious which products are illegal to ship internationally? Click here.
How to Become a Non-Resident Importer in Canada
Are you ready to take the next step and become a non-resident importer in Canada? There are two main steps to this process.
First, you’ll need to apply for a Business Number (BN) from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You will be assigned a 15-digit number that will allow you to transact with government agencies.
Next, you’ll need to register an Agreement for Maintaining Books and Records Outside of Canada with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) informing them of where your records will be kept. You’ll need to write a letter of undertaking that states you will pay for a CBSA agent’s travel expenses in the event of a company audit.
Hiring a Customs Broker (Canada) to Establish Your Non-Resident Importer Account
The International Trade Administration of Canada recommends that you hire a customs broker to assist you with the non-resident importer process. But what is a customs broker exactly? Here are the ways a customs broker can support your company as you start exporting goods internationally to Canada:
- The customs broker will ensure your company is fully compliant as an exporter to Canada.
- The customs broker will inform you of any United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) benefits you are eligible for.
- The customs broker will calculate the fees which influence the product’s final price (such as duties, taxes, transportation costs, and brokerage fees).
- The customs broker will clarify Canadian taxes.
- The customs broker will help compile the necessary documentation.
- The customs broker will create the non-resident importer account by procuring a Canadian Business Number and developing the Agreement for Maintaining Books and Records Outside of Canada.
If you want to hire the best customs broker Canada has to offer, look no further. At BorderBuddy, our goal is to make the customs process cheaper, faster, and easier for you. We offer solutions for businesses of all sizes, so give us a call today.