Clearit.ca's Blog on Customs Brokerage and News Updates
The process behind moving to Canada can be tedious and complicated. It doesn’t matter if you’re a resident moving back after a long stay abroad or an immigrant looking to start a new life in North America, there are many things that you’ll need to consider, like duties, taxes, proper documentation, and border exemptions.
The question of what to bring with you across the border, and what to leave behind for future shipping is a difficult one to answer. So, where do you start?
Are You Eligible for Duties and Taxes Exemption?
There are three ways to qualify for exemption:
- A Canadian resident that left for more than a year, without coming back, and then returns for permanent residence.
- An immigrant moving to Canada for the first time and wishes to stay for more than a year.
- An individual who wishes to work or study in Canada without a permanent residence can be considered for immigrant status but their stay must be longer than 36 months.
This is a rather straight forward rule. If you fit the mold, you’ll be exempt from paying duties and taxes on certain personal items and articles. To see a full list of items that qualify for exemption refer to the Canada Border Services Agency.
Note: There are prohibited items, such as firearms, ammunition, explosives including fireworks, and live plants.
Keeping Track of Personal Belongings
Once you determine where you stand in the exemption list, it’s time to make the extensive list of items that will come with you across the border.
This means detailing all your personal belongings down to a tee, i.e.:
- Listing every item that you’ve used in the last six months while abroad (for former residents).
- Recording the value of each item.
- Recording the brand and model of each item.
- Recording the serial number for each item (if possible).
While you sweat the details on each of your personal items, it’s suggested by the Government of Canada to create two lists. One list would be for the goods that you’re bringing with you across the border, and the other for the goods that will be imported later.
Note: The items you’ve listed to bring across the border must meet certain requirements. They need belong to you, they must be in your possession in such that you’ve used it prior to your arrival in Canada.
Where Does a Customs Broker Fit In?
While all of this can be done independently, it’s often wiser to err on the side of caution and employ a licensed customs broker.
Why? Because, generally speaking, a broker will know the ins and outs of government rules and regulations. Hiring the right broker can make a significant difference in your monetary savings. They aren’t cutting corners — rather, their knowledge of importing procedures can save you time and money.
Here are just a few ways that a broker can help:
- Making sure your passport is up to the proper standard, depending on your status; former resident, immigrant or work visa.
- Acting as a liaison between you and your moving company.
- Ensuring that your import list is perfectly detailed.
- Making sure documentation proving ownership, possession and use are up to standard.
Taking care of the moving process without a broker takes a tremendous amount of patience. Moving to another country is often stressful, so hiring a broker is just another way to keep your sanity.
For more information, contact us at Clearit.