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This publication provides an overview of the laws, restrictions, entitlements and obligations that apply to people who enter Canada as visitors, seasonal residents or temporary residents. For the purpose of this publication, temporary residents are defined as individuals who enter Canada to work for nomore than 36 months or to study.
The information was accurate when it was published; however, legislative provisions and requirements can change at any time. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA ) makes every effort to provide timely updates to this publication and its Web site.
If you have information about suspicious cross-border activity, please call the CBSA Border Watch toll-free line at 1-888-502-9060 .
At your service
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) operates at some 1,200 service points across Canada and 39 locations abroad. It employs approximately 13,000 public servants who handle over 12 million commercial releases and more than 95 million travellers each year.
The CBSA's role is to manage the nation's border by administering and enforcing over 90 domestic laws that govern trade and travel, as well as international agreements and conventions.
The CBSA delivers innovative border management through a network of dedicated professionals who work strategically with domestic and international partners to ensure that Canada remains secure and responsive to new and emerging threats. The CBSA also intercepts, detains and removes those persons who pose a threat to Canada or who have been determined to be inadmissible.
Border services officers are at Canada's entry points to help you when you arrive in Canada. The CBSA is committed to providing efficient, courteous service. At designated bilingual offices, the officers will serve you in the official language of your choice. If you require more detailed information that is not provided in this publication, please call the Border Information Service (BIS ) at one of the telephone numbers listed in the section called "Additional information ".
Table of Contents
Is this publication for you?
You will find this publication helpful if you are:
- a non-resident Canadian visiting Canada;
- a foreign national visiting Canada and your stay will not exceed one year;
- a seasonal resident; or
- a foreign national about to enter Canada to work for a period of no more than 36 months or to study.
It provides information on the goods you can import when you come for a visit; it describes the special benefit that applies if you own a residence in Canada for seasonal use or lease one for a minimum period of 36 months; and/or if you are planning to work in Canada for less than 36 months or to study.
For a printed summary of the information in this document, you may consult one of the following publications:
- Visitors to Canada ;
- Seasonal Residents in Canada ;
- Working or Studying in Canada .
These publications are available at all the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) offices, on the CBSA Web site (Guides & Brochures) or by calling the Border Information Service (BIS) at one of the telephone numbers listed in the section called "Additional information ".
Identification documents required
When you enter Canada, a border services officer may ask to see your passport and a valid visa (if you are arriving from a country from which one is required). If you are a United States citizen (U.S. ), you do not need a passport to enter Canada; however, you should carry proof of your citizenship such as a birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization or a Certificate of Indian Status, as well as a photo ID. If you are a permanent resident of the U.S. you must bring your permanent resident card with you.
All travellers, including U.S. citizens, are encouraged to visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Web site at www.cbp.gov for information on the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and its traveller requirements to enter or return to the United States.
Bringing children into Canada
Border services officers are on alert for children who need protection. Children under the age of 18 seeking to enter Canada are classified as minors and are subject to the entry requirements set out under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act .
A more detailed examination will be conducted for minors entering Canada without proper identification or those travelling in the company of adults other than their parents or legal guardian(s). This additional scrutiny helps ensure the safety of the children.
Minor children travelling alone must have proof of citizenship. We also strongly recommend that the children carry a letter from both parents (if applicable) that authorizes the person meeting them to take care of them while they are in Canada. The letter should include the length of the stay and the address and telephone numbers of the parents.
If you are travelling with minors, you must carry proper identification for each child such as a birth certificate, passport, citizenship card, permanent resident card or Certificate of Indian Status. If you are not the parent or guardian of the children, you should also have written permission from the parent/guardian authorizing the trip. The letter should include addresses and telephone numbers where the parents or guardian can be reached.
Divorced or separated parents should carry custody or legal separation documents and/or a letter of authorization to facilitate their entry into Canada.
If you are travelling with a group of vehicles, make sure you arrive at the border in the same vehicle as your children, to avoid any confusion.
If you are suffering from a communicable disease upon your arrival to Canada, or if you have been in close contact with someone with a communicable disease, you are obligated to inform a border services officer or a quarantine officer, who can determine if you require further assessment. If you become ill after your arrival in Canada, consult a Canadian doctor and inform the doctor where you were and what, if any, treatment or medical care you've received (e.g. medications, blood transfusions, injections, dental care or surgery).
Visitors to Canada
What you can bring with you
As a visitor, you can bring certain goods into Canada for your own use as "personal baggage". Personal baggage includes clothing, camping and sports equipment, cameras and personal computers. It also includes vehicles, private boats and aircraft.
You must declare all goods when you arrive at the first CBSA port of entry. Border services officers do conduct examinations of goods being imported or exported to verify declarations. If you declare goods when you arrive and take them back with you when you leave, you will not have to pay any duty or taxes. These goods cannot be:
- used by a resident of Canada;
- used on behalf of a business based in Canada;
- be given as a gift to a Canadian resident; or
- disposed of or left in Canada.
The border services officer may ask you to leave a security deposit for your goods, which will be refunded to you when you export the goods from Canada. Should this occur, the officer will issue a Form E29B. Temporary Admission Permit. retain a copy and give you one for your records. When you leave Canada, present your goods and your copy of Form E29B to the officer who will give you a receipt copy of the form and your security deposit will be refunded by mail.
You can import gifts for friends into Canada duty- and tax-free as long as each gift is valued at CAN$60 or less. If the gift is worth more than CAN$60, you will have to pay duty and taxes on the excess amount. You cannot claim alcoholic beverages, tobacco products or business-related material as gifts.
If you are a non-resident of Canada and you acquire or lease a residence in Canada for seasonal use for at least 36 months, you have a one-time entitlement to furnish the residence with certain goods, duty- and tax-free. This does not apply to a mobile or portable home, a time-share residence, a residence that you will share with a resident of Canada or a residence that you will rent or lease to others in your absence.
Preparing to enter Canada
Before arriving in Canada, you should prepare two copies of a list (preferably typewritten) of all the goods you intend to bring into Canada as your personal effects. Include the value, make, model and serial number (when applicable).
Divide the list into two sections. In the first, list the goods you are bringing with you; in the second, list the goods that will follow at a later date. Goods that arrive later will only qualify for duty- and tax-free importation under your entitlement as a seasonal resident if they are on the original list.
Declaring your goods
When you arrive in Canada to occupy your seasonal residence, for the first time. you must give both
copies of your list of goods to the border services officer, as well as provide proof of ownership or a long-term lease for your seasonal residence.
Based on the list of goods you submitted, the border services officer, at the first port of entry, will complete a Form B4. Personal Effects Accounting Document for you, assign a file number and give you a copy of the completed form, as a receipt. Keep this receipt as proof that you have permanently imported these goods. You can make the process easier by filling out Form B4, as completely as possible, in advance. Form B4 is available by selecting "Publications and forms " on the CBSA Web site.
Ownership, possession, and use requirements
For your personal effects to qualify for duty- and tax-free importation under your seasonal resident entitlement, you must have owned, possessed and used them before you arrive to occupy the seasonal residence for the first time .
Duty and taxes
If you are a seasonal resident and your goods fall within the duty- and tax-free exemption under the seasonal resident provision, you do not have to pay any duty, the goods and services tax (GST ), provincial sales tax or harmonized sales tax on those goods, regardless of your intended destination in Canada. However, if your goods fall outside the provision, you will have to pay duty (where applicable) and the GST on those goods.
Entering Canada to work or study
When entering Canada to work for less than 36 months or to study, you can temporarily import your personal and household goods (such as furniture, tableware, silverware, appliances and motor vehicles) duty-and tax-free. as long as the following conditions are met:
- The goods cannot be used by a resident of Canada;
- You are not permitted to sell or otherwise dispose of the goods in Canada; and
- You must take all non-consumable items with you when you leave the country at the end of your temporary residence.
Preparing to enter Canada
Prior to their arrival in Canada, temporary residents are advised to prepare two copies of a list (preferably typewritten) of all items to be imported temporarily, indicating the approximate value, make, model and serial number, where applicable.
Since jewellery is difficult to describe accurately, it is best to use the wording from your insurance policy or jeweller's appraisal and to include photographs that have been dated and signed by the jeweller or a gemologist. This information makes it easier to identify the jewellery when you first enter Canada, and later if you return from a trip abroad with this jewellery.
Declaring your goods
When you arrive in Canada, you should give your list of goods that are accompanying you to the border services officer at the first point of arrival in Canada. The border services officer may ask you to leave a security deposit for your goods, which will be refunded to you when you export the goods from Canada. Should this occur, the officer will issue a Form E29B, Temporary Admission Permit. retain a copy and give you one for your records.
On arrival, you are required to provide adequate identification and proof of your status in Canada (i.e. documentation issued by CBSA/CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada), such as your work permit or study permit). If you are entering Canada to work, you should provide a letter of introduction from your employer.
While you are in Canada
After the initial arrival to take up residence in Canada, temporary residents may not claim free importation of alcoholic beverages, tobacco products or other consumable items under the temporary resident entitlement. Such commodities may, however, be imported under the personal exemption entitlements as described in the publication called Travelling Outside Canada available on the CBSA Web site or by calling the Border Information Service at one of the telephone numbers listed in the section "Additional information ".
Temporary residents are reminded to pay attention to the date when the temporary admission permit for their goods is due to expire. A few days before it expires, visit your local CBSA office and arrange for a renewal. The border services officer will want to know if you still have in your possession all the non-consumable goods you brought with you to Canada and whether you have changed your address and telephone number.
Should you change your immigration status with CIC after arriving in Canada, or decide to work for a period longer than 36 months, it is important that you notify the CBSA immediately since this may affect your residential status.
Once you have completed your work or studies in Canada and you are about to return to your permanent place of residence, advise the nearest CBSA office when and how your personal effects will be exported from Canada. The border services officer will tell you what steps you should take. Be sure to leave a forwarding address. Any refunds you are entitled to will be mailed to the address you provide.
Alcohol and tobacco
As a visitor or a temporary resident. you may import, free of duty and taxes, the following amounts of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, as long as these items are in your possession when you arrive in Canada .
Alcoholic beverages are products that exceed 0.5% alcohol by volume. If you meet the minimum age requirements of the province or territory where you enter Canada, you can include limited quantities of alcoholic beverages in your personal entitlement. Minimum ages for the importation of alcoholic beverages, as prescribed by provincial or territorial authorities, are as follows: 18 years for Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec; and 19 years for the remaining provinces and territories.
You are allowed to import only one of the following amounts of alcoholic beverages free of duty and taxes:
- 1.5 litres (53 imperial ounces) of wine; or
- a total of 1.14 litres (40 ounces) of alcoholic beverages; or
- up to 8.5 litres of beer or ale.
The CBSA classifies "cooler " products according to the alcoholic beverage they contain. For example, beer coolers are considered to be beer and wine coolers are considered to be wine. Beverages not exceeding 0.5% alcohol by volume are not considered to be alcoholic beverages.
The quantities of alcohol you can bring in must be within the limit set by the province or territory where you enter Canada. If the value of the goods is more than the free allowance, you will have to pay duty and taxes, as well as provincial/territorial assessment on the excess amount. In Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, you cannot bring more than the free allowance. For more information, check with the appropriate provincial or territorial liquor control authority before your arrival to Canada.
You are allowed to bring all of the following amounts of tobacco into Canada free of duty and taxes:
- 200 cigarettes;
- 50 cigars;
- 200 grams (7 ounces) of manufactured tobacco; and
- 200 tobacco sticks.
In addition, the Excise Act, 2001 also limits the quantity of tobacco products that can be imported (or possessed) by an individual for personal use if the tobacco product is not packaged and stamped "CANADA DUTY PAID ● DROIT ACQUITTÉ ." The limit is currently five units of tobacco products. One unit of tobacco products consists of one of the following:
- 200 cigarettes;
- 50 cigars;
- 200 grams (7 ounces) of manufactured tobacco; or
- 200 tobacco sticks.
Currency and monetary instruments
If you are importing or exporting monetary instruments equal to or greater than CAN$10,000 (or the equivalent in a foreign currency), you must report the amount to the CBSA when you arrive or before you leave Canada. This applies to either cash or other monetary instruments. For more information, please refer to the publication called Crossing the border with $10,000 or more? that is available on the CBSA Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca under "Publications and forms."
The importation of certain goods is restricted in Canada. The following are examples of some of these goods. Make sure you have the information you require before attempting to import these items. You can obtain further information by consulting the CBSA Web site at www.cbsa.gc.ca or by calling the BIS at one of the telephone numbers listed in the section called "Additional information ".
Firearms and weapons
You must declare all weapons and firearms at the CBSA port of entry when you enter Canada. If not, you could face prosecution and the goods may be seized.
For more detailed information on importing a firearm into Canada, see the publication called Importing a Firearm or Weapon Into Canada or call the BIS at one of the telephone numbers listed in the section called "Additional information ".
For information about applying for a Canadian firearms licence or a firearms registration certificate, or to obtain an Application for an Authorization to Transport Restricted Firearms and Prohibited Firearms (Form CAFC 679 ) in advance. please contact:
Canadian Firearms Program
Ottawa ON K1A 0R2
Telephone: 1-800-731-4000 (toll-free in Canada and the United States)
506-624-5380 (from all other countries)
Explosives, fireworks and ammunition