The customs release of a shipment can take anywhere from 20 minutes to several days depending on circumstances. Once your Customs Broker has completed your entry for customs and transmits the data, it takes about 20 minutes for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to receive it. Now that your entry has been received by the CBSA, it is now up to an officer to review the entry and either accept or reject the shipment – This step of course can take anywhere from just a few minutes to a few hours depending on the number of Customs staff available and congestion at the port of crossing.
There is however, the possibility that prior to its release, your shipment may be Held for inspection. If your shipment is inspected, it will be placed in a bonded warehouse and inspected by Customs officers at their earliest convenience. Generally, Customs officers will visit multiple sites during the day and process their releases in the afternoon. The process can take anywhere from 12-48 hours and even longer during high traffic periods.
Customs releases are also not guaranteed. There are a number of reasons a shipment can be rejected:
Temporary rejects: This may happen when information keyed into the entry does not match up exactly with the shipments paperwork. Customs will notify the broker and a change to the entry will be made
Permanent Rejects: There are several reasons why a shipment may be rejected from Canada all together. A mis-declaration (declaring apples when you are crossing with oranges), under-valuing your goods, or simply not permissible in Canada for health and safety reasons. If this is the case, you will either have to have the goods shipped back to the supplier or have the goods destroyed by the CBSA at your own expense.