Canadian Customs Forms 101 |

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Canadian Customs Forms 101

At Clearit, we get a lot of requests about Canadian customs forms. Our clients often turn to us for help with understanding the ins and outs of the documentation process involved in importing and exporting. All too often, clients ask for help with a Canadian customs form, and our representatives respond with “which one?”. 

There are actually quite a few Canadian customs forms! Not to worry, our representatives are experts at assessing our clients needs and will help you identify exactly which Canadian customs form you’ll need to clear your shipment. Still, it can be useful to understand some of the basics. We’ve prepared a quick guide explaining a few of the most common Canadian customs forms that you’ll encounter.

Which Canadian customs form do you need?

General Documents

Canada Customs Invoice: This standard Canadian Customs form is required by Canadian Customs officials to verify the value, quantity, consignor and consignee of a shipment. The Canada Customs Invoice is required on all shipments passing through customs en route to Canada. 

A6A-Freight/Cargo Manifest: This Canadian Customs form is one of the key documents used in freight shipping. It lists all bills of lading airway bills issued for cargo loaded in a specific ship. You will need this basic form to declare consignor, consignee, quantity of goods, origin, destination and value of your shipment. 

Personal Effects Accounting: This Canadian Customs form is used by individuals who are shipping or crossing the border with personals items. It is most often used when someone is moving to Canada from elsewhere. It allows you to avoid duties and taxes on personal items, ranging anywhere from clothing to household appliances. Apart from alcohol, tobacco and wedding gifts, all items declared on this form must have been owned for a minimum of 6 months prior importation.

Free Trade Agreements

Certificate of Origin forms are used to declare goods that are of a certain origin. Even though a  standard Canada Customs Invoice does include a statement of origin, some countries require a separate certificate. Customs officials use these certificates to determine whether or not a preferential duty rate can be applied on the goods being imported. You should use these forms If you’re importing goods that originate from a NAFTA country, Peru, Chile or Colombia.

North American Free Trade Agreement – Certificate of Origin: This is an agreed upon form used by Canada, Mexico and the United States to certify that goods qualify for preferential tariff treatment accorded by NAFTA – which will soon be replaced by CUSMA. Check out our earlier blog on CUSMA to learn more.

Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement – Certificate of Origin: This is an agreed upon form used by Canada and Peru. Enacted in 2009, the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement removed 97% of tariffs on goods which originate from Peru. Tariffs on certain products such as over-quota dairy, eggs and sugar still apply. You can read more about the trade agreement on the Canadian Government website

Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement – Certificate of Origin:  This is an agreed upon form used by Canada and Chile. The CCFTA was Canada’s first Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with a South American Country, back in 1997. Several noteworthy socio-political updates have occurred since then, which you can read more about on the Canadian Government website.

Certificate of Origin – Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: This is an agreed upon form used by Canada and Colombia to certify that goods qualify for preferential tariff treatment accorded by the agreement. It was signed in 2008. You can read more about it on the Canadian Government website.

Accounting Documents

Duty Relief Application: This Canadian Customs form is used to apply for the Duties Relief Program, which enables qualified companies to import goods without paying duties, as long as they later export the goods. If you import and export goods, this form could be relevant to you. 

Drawback Claim: This Canadian Customs form is used to apply for the Drawback Program, which enables qualified companies to import goods and later receive a refund on the duties paid. You can apply if you later re-export the goods or destroy them. If they are destroyed, you must also include a Certificate of Destruction/Exportation.

Still need help with a Canadian Customs form?

If you need further assistance filling out one of these forms, or you’ve encountered a form that isn’t in this guide, get in touch with one of our representatives. Since many of these forms require precise information, employing the help of a customs broker is highly recommended. Our team is trained to handle the import and export process from start to finish, so you can leave the hard part to us.