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Important news for clients: new process

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Dear Border Bee clients,

Please note we are merging services with fellow customs broker Carson International. Carson will soon handle the clearances for all your shipments into Canada. We are excited to offer improved service in a number of areas while maintaining our SME-friendly approach.


What exactly is changing?

You will receive invoices for your clearances directly from Carson and their staff may contact you regarding shipment inquiries.

Is there anything I need to do?

No, we are handling the service transition for you.

Who should I contact if I need help?

Please continue to contact Border Bee directly at the following points:

T: (800) 604-4121

Please have your carriers send clearance requests directly to the contact information on our webpage footer.




Chers Clients,

Veuillez noter que nous fusionnons nos services avec un autre courtier en douane: Carson International. Nous sommes heureux d’offrir un service amélioré tout en maintenant notre approche favorable aux PME.


Qu’est-ce qui change exactement ?

Vous recevrez des factures pour vos dédouanements directement de Carson et son personnel pourra vous contacter concernant les demandes d’expédition.

Y a-t-il quelque chose que je dois faire ?

Non, nous gérons la transition de service pour vous.

Qui dois-je contacter si j’ai besoin d’aide ?

Veuillez continuer à contacter Border Bee directement aux points suivantes :

T: (800) 604-4121

Pour tous les dédouanements, veuillez envoyer les documents au point approprié indiqué en bas de notre site Web


Canadian Customs Clearance:
Frequently Asked Questions

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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

CUSMA: short answers

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The most important thing most small business importers in Canada need to know about CUSMA is nothing. The majority of the rules will not impact you, unless your supply chain involves agriculture, dairy, the manufacture of auto parts or one of the other select industries being impacted by stricter Rules of Origin. Please find below our short answers to your questions on CUSMA:


Will we still be able to use our existing NAFTA certificates?

No, this is the key change. The NAFTA certificates provided by your current supplies will be redundant as of July 1st, replaced by a certification included on an invoice. We’ve created an autoCUSMA Certification wizard to help our clients transition.*

What should I do to prepare?

When ordering from your suppliers, remind them that a new certification is required to obtain duty-free status (NAFTA certificates will all be invalid as of July 1st, 2020).

How will I know if CUSMA is being claimed on my entries?

The tariff treatment (10 for USA origin goods, 11 for Mexico) has not changed.

I’m concerned my products will no longer be valid under the new Rules of Origin. How can I verify this?

Most of the Rules of Origin have not changed under the new Agreement, but you can check the new Rules of Origin here (Chapter 5 of the Agreement). Make sure you have the HS codes for your products handy, as this is the key element in determining a product’s eligibility.

Do we still require a Exporter’s Certificate of Origin for Textiles?

Yes, the procedures to import garments duty-free remains largely unchanged and a permit from Global Affairs will still be needed.


*Certifications under CUSMA may take any format, as long as all the required details are included (the details are found here in Annex 5-A)

The HS Classification of Drones

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Look up in the sky! its a … helicopter of an unladen weight not exceeding 998 kg

What is a classification?

HS classification is the process of determining a products place in the universal index of international trade. Proper classification is essential to compliance, but finding the true classification of a certain product can be challenging and sometimes  absurd.

Drones pose an interesting challenge for classification since their end use can vary significantly — most rulings to date have focused on their end use (as either surveying equipment or videography) leading to a variety of different headings and duty rates. The admissibility in Canada as Transport Canada has yet to regulate such products at time of import. Perhaps even more interesting from a Customs perspective, is how cargo drones will be regulated when it comes to cross-border traffic!?




Description HS Code Current Duty Rate PGA Requirements* Detail
Drone (UAV) 8802.11.00.14  0%  n/a  Drones for carrying cargo are classified as mini-helicopters. We would place other drones — including hobby and racing drones — under this heading as well.
Video Drone 8525.80.00.50  0%  n/a  Drones outfitted with video cameras — for which the principal purpose is taking video — will be classified as cameras.
Drone for Surveying 9006.30.90.00  5%  n/a  Some specialized drones, such as those for aerial surveying, have been classified by the CBSA as surveying cameras.
Drone Propellers and other parts 8803.10.00.00  0%  n/a  Parts for drones — excluding cameras — will be classified as parts of helicopters.

*Note that the PGA requirements can vary depending on the country of origin, end use and state (dried, chilled, fresh) of the items you are importing. For more information, please contact us.

**Classifications are provided by Border Bee Customs Brokers as a reference guide for importers and should not be relied upon solely for commercial classification.

The HS classification of Drones and Drone Parts

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Drones pose an interesting challenge for classification since their intended use will have a large impact on their tariff heading: Drones outfitted with HD cameras will be classified as cameras, whereas drones for carrying packages

No permits are yet required to import drones so the admissibility is not an issue.

Description HS Code PGA Requirements* Explanation
Drone (UAV)  8802.11.00.14  Drones (or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) designed for carrying cargo or delivery will fall under the “other aircraft” heading as lightweight helicopters
Video Drone  8525.80.00.50  Brokers note: if the camera installed in the drone is less valuable than other components, or if its primary function is not take video, it can be arguably classified as a drone.
 Survey Drone  9006.30.90.00  CBSA ruling  #272335. Drones meant for geographical surveying are classified as “cameras specially designed for aerial survey”
Drone Propellers  8803.10.00.00  Propellers for drones are considered parts of aircraft where imported separately from drones


*Note that the PGA requirements can vary depending on the country of origin, end use and state (dried, chilled, fresh) of the items you are importing. For more information, please contact us!

**All classifications are the opinion of Border Bee Customs Brokers Inc. and are meant to assist trade companies in their HS determinations. Unpredictable changes in classification may occur as a result of even minor modifications so we encourage importers to seek binding rulings where possible and not to use this article as legal advice.


Ecommerce, Customs and You provides answers to your questions on importing goods, written by the Border Bee staff.

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