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Canada Customs Invoice: What you Need to Know

From the declarations you have to file to the invoices your supplier has to provide and beyond, getting the details right on all your required importing paperwork is crucial to success at the border.

Your Canada Customs Invoice (CCI) is a crucial part of your imports — you’re going to need to get it right. Without a proper commercial invoice for importing, your goods will get delayed at the border. Don’t forget that Clearit is just a click away if you want any help!

It is important to note that your CCI is not a preliminary invoice, which is used to obtain a letter of credit. Preliminary invoices are issued before the actual importing process has begun. A Canada Customs Invoice — or a commercial invoice equivalent — is issued after you’ve paid for your goods.

When do I Need a Canada Customs Invoice?

Any commercial import into Canada requires a commercial invoice, as per the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Your CCI can be in English or French, and it can be handwritten or typed (make sure it’s legible either way). As an alternative to preparing your own, you can fill out Form CI1.

Your CCI is one of four key documents CBSA needs to release your goods:

  • Canada Customs Invoice, or a Commercial Invoice
  • Bill of Lading
  • Manifest or Cargo Control Document
  • Shipper’s Export Declaration

You don’t have to use the Canada Customs Invoice template — Form CI1 — if you already have a commercial invoice. That said, a scrap of paper with the names of the supplier and buyer isn’t going to be enough. Your CCI needs to be a little more detailed than that.

You’ll find it easiest to fill out your Canada Customs Invoice if you’ve been keeping clear records from the start. Details you’ll need to know include the date of the final sale, country of origin, exact price, and more.

Make sure your Canada Customs Invoice is prepared as soon as possible, because it can be a valuable supporting document for more than just importing. Insurance claims will want a detailed commercial invoice, and a bank may want to see it before reimbursing funds under a letter of credit.

Canada Customs Invoice Instructions

If you’d like to try filling yours out yourself, you start by recording the vendor of the goods (including a full address), the date of shipment, and your name and address as the purchaser.

Next, you’ll need to record any relevant order codes or invoice numbers. Make sure you clearly label each. You’ll also need to make sure you specify the country of origin of your goods.

Your Canada Customs Invoice will need to specify the method of transport your goods take to Canada, and what country they’re being shipped from. If you’ve done any importing before, you’ll know that the country of origin and country of shipment aren’t always the same thing.

This is an invoice, so you’re going to need to detail the terms of sale at some point, of course. Include the currency that you paid for your goods in and the number of packages they’re being shipped to you in. You should also have a detailed description of the goods in the package on the invoice as well.

In addition to all these details, you’ll need to record if you have a consignee, what countries your shipment passed through, and more — like we said, you’ll need to keep good records! If at any point you want advice on how to fill your Canada Customs Invoice, get in touch with us. We can even prepare your CCI for you, if you’d like.