Customs Clearance

“Customs clearance” or “clearing customs” is a phrase we hear a lot in our business. What it really means is the item that’s being imported or exported has met a country’s requirements for entering or leaving its borders. Those requirements vary from country to country and from one item to another.

Did you know that missing or incomplete paperwork along with improper tariff classifications are the reason for most shipment delays at the border?

BorderBuddy can help you “clear customs” fast, with less paperwork and fewer headaches.

In order to help you avoid these hassles, we are providing you with a lay of the land for customs clearance when importing and exporting goods.

Exporting to the United States – Clearing U.S. customs:

You should ensure with your carrier that the importer of record will be notified of your shipment as soon as it arrives at U.S. Customs. The importer of record is responsible for filing all entry documents with the authorities at the port of entry. When exporting from Canada to the U.S., the importer of record can be the exporter (you), your consignee/buyer, or your U.S. customs broker.

If you want to defer payment of duties and processing fees until you have completed the sale of your goods, you can have them sent to a bonded warehouse. Duties and fees are not levied until the goods leave the warehouse.

After the goods have arrived at the port of entry, they will be examined by U.S. Customs officials to determine:

• the value of the goods for customs and duty purposes;

• the validity of the marking and labeling;

• the validity of the invoice;

• whether the shipment contains any prohibited goods; and

• whether the requirements of other U.S. federal agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture, have been met.

Once customs officials have decided that the shipment and its documentation are in order, the goods are allowed to proceed into the U.S. The broker then determines the duties or fees payable and files this information, along with any payment due, with U.S. Customs. After official appraisal of the goods, the entry is “liquidated,” meaning that the final computation of duties and/or drawback is complete.

For more information, see the government site. 

Here is a link to see a checklist for exporting commercial goods from Canada.

Packing List

The packing list outlines key information about your shipment such as:

• Contents

• Weight

• Total number of packages

As your goods will be handled by different logistics and transportation providers, the packing list functions as a verification tool to make sure all goods are accounted for and reach their final destination.

The packing list may also be used to verify information about the shipment against other documents, such as a commercial invoice, to make sure all information is accurate and consistent.

This safety measure may help avoid errors at customs.

Customs Clearance Canada

Before importing, do your homework. Here’s how to determine whether your goods can be imported into Canada:

Identify the country of origin and the manufacturer of the item you plan to export or import. Canada has a range of goods over which it imposes import controls. The Import Control List (ICL) of the Export and Import Permits Act lists these goods.

Is your business registered for import/export?

Do you have an import/export license? Be sure to complete the registration and licensing requirements with municipal, provincial and federal government agencies

Register Your Business For Import Or Export

Before you can import into Canada, you must obtain an import/export account (commonly referred to as an import/export license). To do that you must complete several registration and licensing requirements with municipal, provincial and federal governments early in the process.

Canada Revenue Agency’s Business Registration Online is your destination for all federal business registration requirements.

• Call 1-800-959-5525; or

• Visit Business Registration Online

Tip: since Canada is officially bilingual, shipments must be labeled in both English and French.


Start Importing!

Ready for some help getting your shipment across the border?
You’re just a click away from getting started!

Calculate Import Duty

Jay Mohl, Sales & Marketing, Parksville Boathouse Parksville B.C.

Amanda Burr at BorderBuddy made our shipment seamless and her customer service was outstanding. Without question, we will work with Amanda and BorderBuddy again in the future. Thanks Amanda!

Don Mariutto

“I used BorderBuddy when were in a jam with a small tile shipment to Canada — just called them randomly after a Google search. Blair handled our case, and was in constant communication with updates, and got our shipment released within 24 hours, even though we were starting the process from scratch. Based on this experience, I can’t recommend Blair and the BorderBuddy team highly enough. Even though this was just a small shipment, they handled it like it was the most important on their agenda. We will definitely work with them again in the future – hopefully though, not on an emergency basis! THANK YOU!!”

Nathan Bird

company is always so very helpful in getting things across the border without any headaches. Tara was our agent this time around and she was prompt in answering any questions, super polite over the phone and coordinated everything for us. Highly recommend using their services.