Canada and the United States share the longest undefended border in the world. The two countries share more trade, family ties and business relationships than probably any two other countries.
Because of this, moving between the two nations is not a difficult process. It does require paperwork, though, and quite a bit more than when moving within Canada. Provided all documentation is completed correctly and you have had your personal belongings/household effects in your possession for a year or more, your posessions 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 occasion, U.S. customs may charge duty on personal items. You should inquire with U.S. customs prior to your move.
Some Common Rules:
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 cross 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.
Any declared 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.
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 www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/import
For cross border moves, we will create the necessary inventory list. Each item on the list will be numbered with a brief description of the item. Boxes will be listed as carton or box, sofa will be listed as sofa etc. Any items which are loose and unwrapped will also have a brief description. At the completion of the inventory process you’re signature is required, ensuring all items crossing the border are listed. At your destination, you will be asked to ensure all items have been accounted for. A copy of the inventory will remain with our office, a copy for 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!
Once you have confirmed the move, you should ensure you have all your documentation completed ahead of time. The following are the forms, depending on your situation, you will need to complete.
To 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:
Work or Study Visa and Letter of Offer of Employment (if applicable).
Proof of Property Ownership or Lease in US.
Returning US Residents:
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.
Purely Canadian Movers is your mover of choice for vehicle transport. We use Searail for shipping vehicles. The service they provide is competitively priced, timely, and very convenient. Their service is a door to door and deliveries are scheduled and strictly adhered to. 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 temporary 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 www.riv.ca or call 1-888-848-8240. 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.
Canada Border Services Agency
(506) 636-5064 or (204) 983-3500
Customs – motor vehicles
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Toll free 1-888-242-2100
Customs Contact Information
U.S. Customs Office
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: http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/