How do I become an NRI in Canada? |'s Blog on Customs Brokerage and News Updates

How do I become an NRI in Canada?

Looking for potential customers for your business? Look no further; Canada is a huge market comprising of 37.5 million people. In consumer businesses, getting eyes on your products is one of the best ways of gaining brand awareness, and ultimately, sales. 

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

James Cash Penney

In essence, expanding your business onto Canadian soil will drive profitability. Thankfully, Canada has a robust Non-Resident Importer (NRI) Program that provides clear guidance for those wishing to import goods into the country. Being an NRI will allow the importer — in this case you/your business — to include shipping, customs clearance, duties, taxes, and other fees directly in the selling price for the customer. 

Avoid nasty surprises upon delivery for them by keeping the ordering process transparent and stable for the customer (which certainly doesn’t make for good customer experience.)

What is the definition of a Non-Resident Importer (NRI)? 

Simply put, a Non-Resident Importer can be either a company or a person that doesn’t live in Canada, but wishes to act as an Importer of Record (IOR) for their shipment of goods into the country. 

All About Non-Resident Importing

What are the benefits of becoming a Non-Resident Importer (NRI)? 

When you prioritize your Canadian customers’ shopping experience by becoming an NRI, the process becomes more moe simple for both parties. We’ve laid out a few key benefits below:

  1. You can ship items directly to the customer’s Canadian address, customers won’t need to go to a customs representative to obtain their purchase. 
  2. The tracking process becomes a lot more transparent, so customers can estimate when an order will be delivered.
  3. The customer is not surprised by additional taxes or fees upon the delivery of their order. 
  4. Due to the fact that you pay taxes directly to the Canadian government, customers can see exactly what the prices are for the items they browse and order.

NRI canadian customer

Quick tips for new NRIs: 

  • Duties and taxes need to be paid when goods valued at $20 or greater are imported. At less than $20, they can be imported without paying the aforementioned fees.
  • How is the rate of duty calculated? It’s calculated by the tariff applicable to the goods, along with their values, and their country of origin. Click here to read our recent blog post: How Much Can You Expect to Pay in Customs Duties? 
  • There are certain specific importation documents that need to be given to customs at the port of entry. 
  • It is possible that your shipment is taken in for a customs inspection and/or audit, before or after importing. Additional fees can be applied at this time. 
  • You must keep documentation of your import records on hand for 6 years — you can be audited by customs at any time!

At the end of the day, it’s not necessarily the process of becoming a Non-Resident Importer that’s the challenge, it’s keeping your documentation in order — which can be tricky while juggling things like product development, customer service, business growth, returns, etc. Customs audits can be a big inconvenience for businesses. That’s why it’s ideal that they partner up with customs brokers. 

customs broker NRI

Customs brokers can take on the burden of proper documentation, clearing customs, handling of fees, and much more. They bring their expertise working with other businesses like yours, so the process moves smoothly. You can learn more about choosing the right customs broker for you at this blog post here: 5 Tips for Choosing The Right Customs Broker.

You can reach out to our team of experts here.