Customs and import to Montreal


Border Crossings

Customs must be cleared at the first point of entry to Canada, such as an airport or road crossing. At these crossings, your identification will be checked and you will be required to answer basic questions such as your destination, length of stay, and purpose of your visit. You must declare all foods, plants, animals, firearms, explosives, and ammunition when entering Canada. In Canada, if you are unsure whether or not you should declare something, it is better to declare it than not.

To check current wait times into the country, go to:


Visitors to Canada may bring into Canada, on their person, a single course of prescribed or over the counter treatment or a 90 day supply based on the directions for usage, whichever is less, of a prescription or over the counter drug, plus one additional course of treatment or 90 day supply. The drug must be for the individual's personal use, or for a person for whom they are responsible for and traveling with.

Drugs must be shipped/carried in hospital or pharmacy dispensed packaging, original retail packaging, or have an original label affixed to it which clearly indicates what the health product is and what it contains. When importing medication to Canada you may also want to carry supporting documentation such as a copy of your prescription or a letter from the prescribing physician.

Importing Goods

All household and personal effects imported to Canada are subject to physical inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Any items that may have come into contact with soil and vegetation (garden equipment, bicycles, shoes, vacuum cleaner bags, golf clubs, etc.) will be inspected. You should thoroughly clean such items before packing and shipping them to avoid extra cleaning costs at Canadian customs. If you are arriving by air, present your inventory list to a customs official at the airport and advise them that you have goods to follow. Even if you are not bringing anything with you to Canada initially, you must present a customs official with this inventory list. Only goods on this inventory list will be considered duty-free imports.

When you arrive in Canada, the customs officer will prepare Form B4 on your behalf, based on the list of goods you provided. The officer will assign your B4 form a file number and give you a receipt copy. You will need to present your receipt copy to claim duty- and tax-free entry of your "goods to follow" when they arrive later. You can make the process easier by completing a B4 form in advance and presenting it to the officer when you arrive (ask to contact the Canadian Embassy).

If you are moving to Canada for the first time, your personal and household effects can be moved to Canada duty-free if the goods were owned before arriving in Canada and if you are taking up residency in Canada. If you intend to live in Canada for 12 months or longer you can include the following personal and household effects in your duty- and tax-free entitlement:

  • Clothing and linen
  • Furniture
  • Furnishings
  • Appliances
  • Silverware
  • Jewelry
  • Antiques
  • Family Heirlooms
  • Private collections of coins, stamps, or art
  • Personal Computers
  • Books
  • Musical Instruments
  • Hobby tools and items
  • Personal vehicles (manufactured in the US or Canada)
  • Pleasure boats and trailers to carry them
  • Mobile trailers less than 9 feet in width
  • Utility trailers
  • Motor homes
  • Private aircraft
  • Stand-alone tool sheds or garages

When you move to Canada, you can import 1.5 liters of wine or 1.14 liters of alcoholic beverages or 8.5 liters of beer or ale to Canada duty-free. You may also import 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 200 grams of manufactured tobacco, and 200 tobacco sticks to Canada duty-free. If you are importing more than $10,000 CAD (or its equivalent in a foreign currency) you must report the amount to a Canadian Border Services Authority office at an airport or point of entry.

Inventory List

Canadian Border Services requests that your inventory list be divided into two:
Goods you are bringing with you on your person
Goods to follow or arrive in Canada after you.
You must provide the value, make, model, and serial number of goods that will arrive in Canada after you.

Example Inventory List:

    Arriving with me:
  • Box 1 - women's clothing
  • Box 2 - men's and children's clothing
  • Box 3 - pet bed and toys
    Arriving with ______ International Shipment Company on March 2nd, 2013:
  • Box 1 - clothing and shoes
  • Box 2 - books and CDs
  • Box 3 - artwork
  • Box 4 - children's toys and clothing
  • Box 5 - Sony Portable DVD player, Model # DVP-FX930, Serial No. 0091028829, Value $229.


If you want to bring your pet abroad, it can be done, but takes planning and preparation. The CFIA establishes import requirements for all animals and animal products entering Canada, and EasyExpat's article on "Expat Pets" covers the basics of transporting pets. Standard requirements:

  • Microchiping - to verify pets identity. All microchips conforming to the ISO standards are easily readable.
  • Vaccination - Vaccinations range from country to country, but in general every pet older than 3 months must be vaccinated against rabies or have a veterinary certificate declaring that the cat originates from a country recognized by Canada as being rabies-free. The vaccination must be administered at least 21 days before arrival. However the vaccination cannot be older than 12 months from the date of arrival. Dogs may also get full shots for Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvo, and DHLPP. Cats may also be vaccinated against Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calcivirus, and Panleukopenia.
  • Certificate of good health - Issued by a vet after an exam. You will usually need to get an official form from the consulate or embassy of the country you are moving to. It is often available on-line from the customs website.

Import requirements apply to pet entering Canada permanently, as well as pets passing through Canada on their way to a final destination. If you are importing a cat three months of age or older or a dog eight months of age or older, you must meet the following import requirements (less than this age animals are exempt from the import requirements). Domestic cats and dogs entering Canada do not have to be quarantined, but will have a documentary inspection by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to ensure the vaccination is current and the animal description matches. During this visual inspection, CBSA ensures that there is no visible signs of illness. Fees must be paid at the time of inspection. All information must be written in English or French, or accompanied by an official translation.


The fee for an import inspection on a domestic dog, cat or ferret is $30. If you are traveling with more than one pet, the inspection fee for each additional animal is $5. (Domestic dogs, cats and ferrets originating from the United States are subject to an import inspection but are exempt from inspection fees.)


When you book your flight, remember to say that an animal will accompany you. Some flights only allow a limited number of pets so you must reserve early. Some airlines allow pets to travel in an airplane's cabin, provided their cage is small enough to fit under your seat. Small birds may also be able to travel in the cabin, but tropical birds such as parrots are usually not allowed. If your pet's cage does not fit under your seat, you will have to ship it as checked baggage. Since the outside air temperature also affects the temperature in the cargo bay, airlines may restrict the transportation of pets during certain times of the year. Airlines have special requirements for containers in the cabin and cargo bay. Make sure you get detailed information from your preferred airlines before purchasing a cage or kennel.

Before leaving, acquaint your animal with the kennel or container. Add some familiar toys or some of your clothing items, so your pet has a sense of familiarity during the transport. Sedation of your pet during the trip is generally not recommended and should only be used as a last resort.

There are also pet relocation service that arrange all the details of the move from vaccinations, to travel, to travel container. These services tend to be quite expensive, but take away the stress of doing it yourself. Remember to read reviews and ask questions until you are comfortable with the company before leaving your pet with them. Also read contracts carefully to make sure you understand all conditions and fees.

Importing Vehicles

Transport Canada imposes restrictions on the importation of cars to Canada. Vehicles manufactured for sale in countries other than Canada and the United States do not comply with the Canada Motor Safety Act and cannot be imported to Canada. The only exceptions to this are vehicles 15 years old or older that have a statement of compliance affixed by the original manufacturer, or vehicles being imported to Canada temporarily. When bringing the vehicle over the border, you must complete the Canada Border Services Agency's Vehicle Import Form to make sure that your vehicle is indeed admissible for importing. The vehicle must also pass an inspection in Canada as final confirmation of admissibility.

Fees & Taxes

If your vehicle is eligible for importation into Canada according to both CBSA and Transport Canada requirements, you will have to pay import assessments that may include duty, excise tax and the goods and services tax (GST). Generally you do not have to pay duty on vehicles imported for personal use that are manufactured in the United States.

The CBSA will assess duty on a vehicle manufactured in a country other than the United States and Mexico. Duty and taxes are assessed on your vehicle's value for duty. This is a value in Canadian funds based on the price you have paid or will pay for the vehicle before any consideration for a trade-in. The price paid or payable for a vehicle includes not only the vendor's invoice price, but also all other amounts such as warranty payments or foreign sales taxes that are collected by the vendor. Any credit you may receive for a trade-in does not reduce the value that must be declared when the vehicle is imported into Canada. Additional charges, like if your vehicle has air conditioning you will have to pay an excise tax of $100 also apply. For example, a 2010 model year automobile may cost $3,780 in duties and taxes. Example import fees and full list of duties and taxes can be found at the CBSA page.

Once your car has been imported to Canada, you must register it with the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) and have a safety inspection conducted. CAA-Québec's Technical Inspection Centres are authorized to perform these inspections, which cost about $100.

Custom's Resources

Update 21/05/2013


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