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Cross-Border Moving Between the US and Canada

Proud members of Great Canadian Van Lines

Proud members of Great Canadian Van Lines.

US-Canada Cross Border Moving

US-Canada Cross Border MovingMoving from Canada to the US is not a difficult process provided all documentation is completed correctly and provided you have had your personal belongings/household effects your possession for a year or more, they are permitted to enter the United States duty-free. You must declare all items and state actual values when completing the necessary documentation. If U.S. customs finds that you understated values or that you did not declare all items, they can confiscate your personal belongings/household effects or charge you penalties and duty on them. On accession, U.S. customs may charge duty on personal items and therefore, you should inquire with U.S. customs prior to your move.

Some common rules of interest are;

  • Alcohol - Based on carrier liability limitations, Purely Canadian can not transport alcohol on our truck with your belongings. If you do plan to carry alcohol cross border, you should transport it yourself, or we can make arrangements to have it separately transported. Just so you know some alcohol, may be subject to duty or taxes.
  • When transporting pets across border you need to look into the rules;
    • for dogs and cats over 3 months of age, you must produce proof of rabies vaccinations and a letter of good health of the animal from a veterinarian.
    • Birds may need to be quarantined.
  • Antiques - must be 100 years or older in order to transport cross border without being subject to duty. You must have your receipt or appraisal available if U.S. customs requests proof. .
  • Motorized vehicles - all road vehicles including motorcycles, must meet U.S. safety and environmental standards in order to be allowed entry into the United States. Vehicles which do not meet these standards can be permitted on a "temporary" basis but must be exported within one year or they will be seized. If you are planning on moving a vehicle, we suggest you inquire with U.S. customs prior to your move.

To find out more information regarding the rules, regulations, list of eligible vehicles and requirements, visit The National Highway Traffic Safety Association - US Department of Transport's web site at

Packing Services

When you are moving cross border between the US and Canada, we will create a inventory list. Each item on the inventory list will be numbers and will include a brief description of the item. Boxes will be listed as Carton or box, sofa will be listed as sofa etc. At the end of the process you will be required to sign the inventory sheet, ensuring all items are listed. At your destination, you will be asked to be involved in the inventory process, to ensure you agree all items are accounted for.

When you are using our packing services, check that everything that you want to include in the shipment has been packed. We will create an inventory during the packing process. The inventory will be brief, boxes will be labeled as boxes with a brief description and items which are loose and unwrapped will have a brief description. You will be asked to sign the inventory form after the packing has been completed. A copy of the inventory will remain with our office and a copy will be provided to you and another copy to the delivery driver to arrange customs clearance and delivery at destination. Remember to keep a copy of this important document!

Planning Ahead

Once you have selected your cross-border mover of choice, you should ensure you have all your documentation completed ahead of time. The following are forms, which depending on your situation, you will need to complete.


US-Canada Cross Border MovingTo allow us to clear your household goods through U.S. Customs, we will require you to provide us the completed documentation whichever is applicable to you as below;


  • Completed Customs Form 3299
  • Work or Study Visa and Letter of Offer of Employment (if applicable)
  • Valid Passport

Part-time Residents:

  • Completed Customs Form 3299
  • Proof of Property Ownership or Lease in US
  • Valid Passport

Returning US Residents:

  • Completed 3299 Customs Form
  • Valid Passport

U.S. customs requires the customer to be present at the border, to clear their own shipment for delivery to residence, prior to the truck crossing. If the customer is not present and there is a problem, the shipment will be placed 'IN BOND' at the closest customs office to your new home. You will be required to personally appear to clear your goods.

Unless you are a returning US Resident, you need to enter the United States before your shipment arrives at the border. To ensure your status is properly established, people entering on a work/study visa should have completed the immigration process prior to their shipment.

Ensuring all documents are correct, ensuring there are no problems with immigration status, and ensuring there are no other problems regarding your shipment or personal ID when we arrive at the border, will help assure that US Customs will not turn your shipment back. If your shipment is turned back, you will incur additional charges for border delays, the cost of returning your shipment to origin and storage until the matter is sorted out.

Motor Vehicles

When it comes to transporting vehicles, Purely Canadian Movers should be your mover of choice. We use Searail for shipping vehicles. The service they provide is competitively priced, timely, and is very convenient. Their service is a door to door service and deliveries are in a timely manner.

All personal motor vehicles which are imported, must comply with Canadian standards. For vehicles which are older than 15 years and being imported, there are temporarily provisions.

Because you will need to provide a RIV with the year, make, model and vehicle identification number to determine if your vehicle is eligible for importation into Canada, you should visit RIV's web site at or call1-888-848-8240. You will also be required to prove certificate of ownership, sales invoice, registration and proof of insurance.

In addition to the certification from RIV, you must also notify US Customs about the export of your vehicle. A copy of your title of ownership must be forwarded to US Customs a minimum of 3 business days prior to the vehicle arriving at the border crossing. If you would like to use Purely Canadian Movers to ship your vehicle, please discuss the details with our sales associates.

Contact Numbers

Canada Border Services Agency
(506) 636-5064 or (204) 983-3500

Customs - motor vehicles

Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Toll free 1-888-242-2100
(416) 973-4444
(604) 666-2171

Customs Contact Information
U.S. Customs Office
Washington, DC
(202) 354-1000

Immigration and Visa Information
US Citizenship and Immigration Service
Arlington, VAS
1-800-375-5283 (within USA)

For a list of Canadian Consulate or Embassy offices in the U.S., go to Foreign Affair's website at:


Request an estimate online or call 1-877-485-MOVE (6683) to let Purely Canadian Movers Inc. move you wherever you are in Canada or around the world.

We regularly move customers in the Vancouver area, including BurnabyCoquitlam, Surrey, Vancouver, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, North Vancouver City, Port Moody, West Vancouver, Surrey, White Rock, Delta, Pitt Meadows, Richmond, Langley and throughout BC.