Canadian Customs Clearance:
Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by Koichi Sato

Canadian Customs Clearance: <br>Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions regarding Customs Clearance.

Border Bee Customs Brokers has developed digital solutions to simplify the process of Customs Clearance. We understand that the process can seem a little daunting, so we’re here to help! Here are answers to frequently asked questions.

Can you help with the Customs Clearance of Alcohol Shipments?

Are you importing alcohol into Quebec or British Columbia? If yes, we can help!

For us to assist, please make sure that the following applies to your shipment:

  • Alcohol Shipments can only be for personal or internal use (for your household or your office) or samples for a business. In other words, it cannot be for resale.
  • Alcohol Shipments have significant fees associated with them. Please get a quote using this calculator.
  • There is a limit of 45L of alcohol per shipment. You can import more than one shipment of alcohol, but if you import too often the liquor board might contact you for more information.
  • It is important to make sure that the shipment does not contain anything other than alcoholic products.

For more information on the subject, we invite you to read this blog post

Are you looking to import that limited edition bottle of wine? We have your back!

How do I open an account with Border Bee Customs Brokers?

First of all, thank you for choosing Border Bee Customs Broker! We’re happy to assist with your Customs Clearance needs.

You can open an account online here

Do I have to hire a Customs Broker to clear my shipment?

The option to self-clear is always available to you. That said, in order to self-clear you have to present yourself at the CBSA office in the city where your shipment is being held. For more information on how to self-clear, here’s a blog post we wrote to guide you on that process.

Hiring a broker is strongly recommend for most all commercial shipments, as delays in clearance can result storage and other additional transport fees if not performed expediently.

Why should I use Border Bee?

Border Bee allows importers to manage and view their entire account online.

How do I assign Border Bee Customs Brokers to my shipment? 

Please submit a clearance via your web account.

If a vendor or transporter is requesting our contact information, please find it below:

  • FAX: (800) 491-7063

I asked UPS/DHL/FEDEX to assign you the shipment, but they just contacted me for Customs Clearance, what should I do?

Unfortunately, large integrators don’t always pay close attention to your shipments’ documents. If they are trying to clear your shipment without your permission, please contact them and let them know that the shipment should be assigned to Border Bee Customs Brokers. Unfortunately, this is not something that we can do for you, since transportation companies don’t usually allow brokers to assign themselves shipments. If you call them please make sure that you speak with their Customs Brokerage Department.

Why do I have to clear this shipment? I didn’t have to for another shipment.

 All shipments coming into the country do clear Customs, but a number of factors could mean that the clearance was done without any action on your part.

Sometimes foreign vendors have Canadian Importer Numbers and clear shipments themselves so that you don’t have to. In this case, you would not have been contacted for clearance.

Have you received a small shipment and paid fees upon delivery? That was most probably to cover the item’s Customs clearance! Smaller shipments can be delivered prior to official clearance from the CBSA, this is not the case for high-value shipments. 

What is a Commercial Invoice?

A Customs Invoice, a Commercial Invoice, an Invoice… what is the difference!? Well, there isn’t really much of a difference between them. All these terms refer to a document where the following information appears: 

  • Vendor’s information
  • Purchaser’s information
  • Description of the time
  • Value per item
  • Total Invoice Value
  • Country of Origin (where are the goods made)

Other information that is great to have on the invoice is the following: 

  • Product’s HS-CODES
  • Number of packages 
  • Weight of the products
  • Total weight of the shipment

Here is a great template to use:

What is a Certificate of Origin, do I need one?

You’ve probably been told that if you import goods from a certain country that you wouldn’t have to pay duties. Well, that is only partly true. Here’s a breakdown of what is needed for you to be able to take advantage of trade agreements the following points:

  • The goods have to be made in the country with which we have a trade agreement
  • The goods have to be shipped from that region
  • A certificate of origin must be provided (a document that is dated and signed certifying where the goods were made in a specific country)

In other words, it is not usually enough for an invoice to simply state that good is made in a specific country to fall under the trade agreement. Moreover, certain types of goods, such as clothing, require a little more paperwork. You can read these articles for more information on that you can read this article

We’ve created an online tool to help your vendor/exporter complete a CUSMA/USCAM. You can send them this link to complete the certificate of origins for goods made in Canada, the USA, or Mexico:

How do I get a quote?

Please use our online calculator