‘Hand-carried’ importing has become a popular channel for SMEs to collect supplies
Since 2012, the CBSA has allowed customs brokers to release commercial cargo electronically even when conveyed in an importer’s own vehicle. This replaced the previous policy which required importers with hand-carried goods to wait in the traveller’s line before obtaining clearance. The new process–for which any business can obtain pre-clearance for their cross-border runs — has become extremely popular with small businesses, most of whom use pick-up points in the USA to receive their supplies.
FAQs on hand-carried imports
How does it work?
The process is simple: complete our online form
with the required information. When the time comes to select a mode, choose ‘Hand Carried Goods’
Why is pre-clearance valuable?
It saves time. There is also no paperwork or payments to be done at the border.
My business is not a traditional importer, but we have to collect some supplies from the USA. Are we eligible for the HCGH process?
Yes, any Canadian business is eligible.
What if I miss my ETA, can I still proceed to pick up my shipment?
Yes, your entry will stay valid for up to a month. For the CBSA’s sake, please try to keep your ETAs as accurate as possible.
I plan on flying back to Canada with merchandise in my luggage, can Border Bee help me out?
Commercial passengers travelling by air, train or sea cannot be released electronically. Instead, a hard copy entry must be provided by a broker on arrival. Co-ordinating these entries will only be cost-effective if you are returning with a lot of samples, otherwise we recommend self-clearing.
I am entrepreneur interested in using the HCGH program to import my supplies. Do I need to be the person who picks up my goods?
No, an employee can also pick up the merchandise on the company’s behalf.
How long does the process take?
Entries will be set up the same day–it is a question of hours. For larger orders, please wait for our confirmation e-mail before retrieving your shipment.
Should you have any questions about the hand-carry process, please contact us