Moving your household goods from the United States to Canada can be complicated and requires considerable planning in advance.

The moving company van operator is not permitted to deliver your personal possessions to your new home until the owner of the goods meets the van operator at the Canadian Custom’s facility closest to final destination. If you are the owner of the household goods you must meet personally with the van operator at the Custom’s facility. You cannot assign a third party to do this for you.

Returning Canadian Residents – Documents Required:

  • Passport for each family member
  • Proof of length of time away from Canada (lease documents, pay stubs, etc.)
  • Duplicate detailed inventory of goods being transported including value
  • Purchase receipts for goods acquired while out of the country

Non-Residents – Documents Required:

  • Passport for each family member
  • Work or study visa
  • Marriage certificate for spouse
  • Employer letter or offer of employment
  • Duplicate detailed inventory of goods being transported including value

Seasonal Residents – Documents Required:

  • Passport
  • Proof of ownership or lease of seasonal property
  • Proof of US residence
  • Duplicate detailed inventory of goods being transported including value

Duty or Taxes:

Any duty, fees or taxes owing to Canadian Customs must be paid by check, cash, Visa or MasterCard before the goods are released for delivery. Returning Canadian residents must pay duty/taxes on any single item purchased in the United States with a value of $10,000 or more (including an automobile).

Importing Alcohol, Contents of Bar or Wine Collection:

Alcoholic beverages should not be transported in the moving van.

It is permissible to import the contents of a bar or wine collection but there are steps that must be followed. You must contact the appropriate Canadian provincial or territorial Liquor Control Board authority before shipping these items and duties and taxes must be paid in advance.

Importing Motor Vehicles to Canada:

Personal motor vehicles must comply with Canadian safety and emission standards. Vehicles older than 15 years may be imported temporarily under a special provision.

Prior to importing a vehicle to Canada you must contact the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) in Canada at 1-888-848-8240. You will need to provide RIV with the year, make, model and vehicle identification number to determine if your vehicle is eligible for import. You will also need to produce title documents (ownership certificate), sales receipts, registration and proof of insurance.

If you are going to be in Canada for 36 months or less you are exempt from the RIV certification but you must notify US Customs.

Importing Firearms into Canada:

Canada has very strict laws regarding firearms. All gun owners living in Canada must obtain a firearms “Possession and Acquisition” (PAL) license. You will need documentation to prove you are entitled to possess a firearm and obtain prior permission to transport it. Upon arrival in Canada you must declare all firearms and weapons to Canada Customs. If you do not, your weapons can be seized and you could face criminal charges.

Returning Canadians with firearms that were previously acquired in Canada must provide proof to Customs that the firearms were exported and are now being re-imported.

Some firearms are prohibited including semi-automatic weapons, automatic weapons, combat shotguns, assault rifles, carbines and explosives.

Moving Pets to Canada:

Dogs over eight months of age and cats over three months of age must have a current rabies vaccination and you must show the vaccination certificate.