Sending Parcels to the US

The eCommerce industry continues to grow and grow in the US and almost half of that is due to Amazon sales. Growth shows no sign of slowing down. By 2022, the retail ecommerce sales are expected to reach well in excess of $700.5 billion dollars.

The sources of information on this page come directly from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the US International Trade Commission, and number of other government sources.

Shipping Rates to the US

Easily compare Economy International Shipping options to the United States through a variety of carriers

find the cheapest way to ship to the US from Canada
Secureship provides safe and affordable shipping from Canada to the USA. Whether you are an everyday shopper or a business, you can easily save up to 50% on your international shipping costs by way of accessing our group buying power.
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Tracking Information

All shipments through Secureship come
with full tracking information to the United States

Full tracking information for parcels to the United States is available with Secureship
Tracking #:780123123123
Tel: 1-800-463-3339
Signed By: Pikwalia @ Residence
Aug 23, 2019
8:49 am
San Francisco, CA, US
Delivered
Aug 22, 2019
7:18 am
Las Vegas, NV, US
In transit
Aug 21, 2019
9:03 pm
Dallas, TX, US
International Clearance
Aug 21, 2019
8:14 am
New York, NY, US
In transit
Aug 21, 2019
12:17 am
Toronto, ON, CA
In transit
Aug 20, 2019
4:30 pm
Ottawa, ON, CA
Pickup Scan

Disclaimer!

While we have made every effort to ensure that the information on this page is accurate, Customs laws and procedures change regularly so it is important to consult a licensed broker in the United States before shipping any goods.

Types of Shipments

Not all types of shipments are created equal. Shipping a television will require different paperwork, duties, and taxes than shipping an accounting statement, for example.

Low Value Shipments (LVS) vs High Value Shipments (HVS) to the United States


High Value Shipments (Formal) versus Low Value Shipments(Informal) flow diagram for shipments to the United States

Low Value Shipments - Shipment valued under $2,500 USD

A Low Value Shipment (LVS) destined for the US undergoes Informal Entry or Informal Custom Clearance Process. It is designed to provide the courier industry with an expedited release of your package(s) when shipments are value at less than $2,500 USD.

  • Faster customs clearance process
  • HS Code is not required (but still recommended)
  • Goods may be for personal or commercial use
  • Duties and taxes may have to be paid before the items are released. Customs may decide to process such informal shipments as formal entries at their discretion.
  • Grouping of items on the Commercial Invoice is permitted but a detailed description is still highly recommended


High Value Shipment - Shipment valued at $2,500 USD or more

A High Value Shipment (HVS) destined for the United States undergoes a Formal Entry or Formal Customs Clearance Process when the value of the shipment is $2,500 USD or more. Formal Entries/Clearance are different than Informal Entries/Clearance. The process is typically longer and meant for commercial shipments. Here are some key differences:

  • Each line item on the Commercial Invoice must describe each item within your shipment (grouping of goods is not allowed)
  • You must include an HS Code for each line item on your Commercial Invoice
  • Goods are used for commercial selling purposes (i.e. not eligible for duty-free exemption)
  • Customs requires a bond to ensure the payment of the duties
  • CBP Form 7501 must be filed for the release of the goods


NOTE: The most common reason for export shipments having trouble entering the United States (US) is due to inaccurate information or incomplete documentation.

Sources:
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/215/~/filing-an-informal-entry-%28for-goods-valued-at-less-than-%242500%29 https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/214/kw/formal%20entry https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/214


Shipping Documents Only Image to the United States

Documents Only

Shipping documents to the United States (US) is very simple and only requires a shipping label (no commercial invoice required). Document shipments enter the country duty and tax free provided they qualify (see Document Type list).

It's important to note that US Customs can perform an examination should they wish which can add a day delay to the transit time however, this does not happen very often.

Document Type Restriction
Business cards Blueprints
Cheques Advertising brochures/pamphlets
Exam papers Drawings, technical/architect/eng
Greetings cards and invitations Publication not for public resale.
Passports Documents, general business
Stationery Annual reports
Visa applications Charts/graphs

For a complete list of restrictions see here

Shipping Gifts to the USA

Shipping Gifts

Gifts that are valued at $100 USD or less (approximately $130 Canadian Dollars) can be shipped to the United States (US) without having to pay duties and taxes provided the following conditions are met:

  • The words "Gift Shipment" or "Unsolicited Gift" are included on the commercial invoice (see sample)
  • A detailed description and name of each item is provided on the commercial invoice
  • Any alcohol, tobacco, and perfume products have a retail value of less than $5
  • The value of all gifts is $100 USD or less

If the value of the gift exceeds $100 USD or contains dutiable items such as alcohol or tobacco, duties and taxes would be charged on the shipment.


NOTE: If you are shipping food, chocolate, or candies, you'll also need to review the
Shipping Food section of this guide.



Shipments from Individual-to-Individual

Only the above 4 conditions must be met to have your shipment exempt from duties and taxes.

Sending multiple gifts to the same location? See Multiple gifts in one shipment to the US.

NOTE:You cannot ship gifts to yourself.


Shipments from Business-to-Business

The receiver of the package will have to pay duties and taxes on gifts sent between businesses.


Shipments from Business-to-Individual

Gifts sent by a business to an individual may qualify for duty and tax free entry providing certain conditions are met:

  • The above 4 conditions are met
  • The gift cannot be divided amongst multiple recipients
  • There must be no payment or promise of payment
  • It cannot be a gift given as a bonus to an employee

Sample Commercial Invoice for Gifts

Ship To Invoice
Smith Family in New York
James Smith
1 Abbott Street
New York City, NY, 10011

Phone: 613-555-1234
Carrier tracking number: 736534736
General Description:
Personal Shipment / Gift Shipment

Invoice number: 123456MGEP4916926
Customs Broker: UPS
Date: 20 Aug 2019
QTY Description of Goods C/O SubTotal
1 Each Gift Shipment: LEGO Star Wars Rebel UWing Fighter, 659 piece set

CA $79.99
Terms of Sale: None
Total number of packages: 1
Reason for export: Gifts
Contact Name: James Smith
Total Invoice Amount: $79.99
Total Weight: 10.0 lbs
Declaration Statement: I hereby certify that information provided is true and complete to the best of my knowledge



Multiple gifts in one shipment to the US

Multiple gifts can enter the United States (US) in a single shipment tax and duty free when the following is written on the commercial invoice:

  • Words "Unsolicited Gift: Consolidated Gift Package" appear in General Description of Goods as well as the Detailed description of goods (see sample)
  • Recipients' names; and
  • Nature and value of the gifts inside. For example, tennis shoes, $50; shirt, $45; toy car, $15.

NOTE: The gifts will need to be individually wrapped and tagged with the name of a different recipient on each.


Sample Commercial Invoice for Gifts

Ship To Invoice
Smith Family in Los Angeles
James Smith
1 Abbott Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90021

Phone: 613-555-1234
Carrier tracking number: 736534736
General Description:
Unsolicited Gift: Consolidated Gift Package

Invoice number: 123456MGEP4916926
Customs Broker: UPS
Date: 20 Aug 2019
QTY Description of Goods C/O SubTotal
1 Each Unsolicited Gift - Roger: LEGO Star Wars Rebel UWing Fighter, 659 piece set

CA $39.99
1 Each Unsolicited Gift - Erica: Handwoven French Canadian Catalogne Blanket

CA $49.99
Terms of Sale: None
Total number of packages: 1
Reason for export: Gifts
Contact Name: James Smith
Total Invoice Amount: $89.98
Total Weight: 10.0 lbs
Declaration Statement: I hereby certify that information provided is true and complete to the best of my knowledge

Sources:
https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/kbyg/gifts
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/717/kw/shipping%20gifts
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/354/kw/shipping%20gifts
https://www.ups.com/ga/CountryRegs?loc=en_US


Shipping personal effects/belongings to the United States

Shipping Personal Effects

Personal effects can be shipped to the United States fairly easy. It refers to moving your personal belongings cross border.

Just like all non-document packages, your shipment will need to be properly declared and will go through the US Customs clearance process. Shipping personal effects does require additional paperwork (CBP Form 3299) and without it, your shipment will be held at customs until one is included.


In order to qualify for duty free exemption, the following conditions must be met:

  • Items must be for your use only;

    OR
  • Items must have been used in your household for a minimum of 1 year.

NOTE: Customs may ask for proof that you have owned the items for at least 1 year. Receipts, invoices and warranties can be used as proof.

Documents Required

  • A Commercial Invoice clearly declaring that they are Personal effects
  • Form CBP3299 for personal effects (in order to avoid paying duties and taxes). Restrictions apply depending on your US citizenship status
  • A copy of your passport photo page

More information on forms needed for shipping personal effects can be found here.

NOTE: Custom border patrol may require documents proving your residency status in the US, it is at their discretion. They may also request a packaging list of the goods shipped.

Sources:
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/107/~/moving-to-u.s.---household-and-personal-effects%2C-packing-%2F-inventory-list
https://secureship.ca/learningcenter/shipping-206-common-international-shipping-documents/#personal-effects
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/351/related/1


Sample Commercial Invoice for Personal Effects

Ship To Invoice
Smith Family in Chicago
James Smith
1 Abbott Street
Chicago, IL, 60624

Phone: 613-555-1234
Carrier tracking number: 736534736
General Description:
Personal effects being delivered to my new address.

Invoice number: 123456MGEP4916926
Customs Broker: UPS
Date: 20 Aug 2019
QTY Description of Goods C/O SubTotal
5 Pairs Personal Effects: 5 pairs of various types of shoes

IN $40.00
1 Each Personal Effects: Arc'terix Winter Jacket

CA $478.00
Terms of Sale: None
Total number of packages: 1
Reason for export: Personal Effects
Contact Name: James Smith
Total Invoice Amount: $678.00
Total Weight: 10.0 lbs
Declaration Statement: I hereby certify that information provided is true and complete to the best of my knowledge
Shipping Food, Chocolate, Candies to the United States

Food, Chocolate, Candies

Shipping food into the United States (US) can be a straightforward process. Individual to individual shipments do not require Prior Notice.

If you are a business, you must Submit a Prior Notice with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before shipping if you are a business.



Explanation as to when Prior Notice is required for Individuals or Businesses for your items going to the United States (US)


Generally accepted foods:

  • Unopened or commercially packaged food
  • Bakery items
  • Most Cheeses
  • Condiments
  • Chocolate
  • Candies

General Items to Avoid or that Are NOT permitted:

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Rice (tend to harbor insects)
  • Meat (regulation varies visit here and here for more information).
    Generally, fresh, dried, or canned meats are not permitted into the US (including products prepared with meat)

Complete list of prohibited and restricted food entering the US can be found here.

Why is a Prior Notice Needed?

The prior notice is intended to help protect the United States (US) from things that can hurt or destroy their local economy (such as insects, viruses, or bacteria) by alerting them that a consumable product will be entering the United States (US). Any items subject to FDA normally incur at least 1-day delay in customs.

How a business can ship Food to the United States?

In order for a business to ship food or anything that requires Prior Notice to the United States, they must:

  • Check with your carrier before shipping as not all will accept food shipments (or they will but it is considered ship-at-your-own risk)
  • Ensure you are not shipping a prohibited food item
  • Complete Prior Notice (PN) through the FDA Web Portal
  • The PN Number is included on the shipping label
  • The PN Number and Receiver's DUNS number are included on the commercial invoice

NOTES:
  • When an individual ships homemade food as a personal gift, or when an individual ships food or a food gift basket to another individual a Prior Notice is NOT required.
  • DUNS Number - This is a unique nine-digit identification number, for each physical location of a business registered with the US federal government. You can simply ask the receiver to provide you with this number

How to Submit a Prior Notice?

Submitting a Prior Notice is quite easy. You simply have to complete an electronic form via the FDA Web Portal site and normally takes 5 minutes.

NOTE: Any business shipping food, even on behalf of a customer, would need to submit Prior Notice.


Sources:
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/944/kw/meat https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/ImportsExports/Importing/ucm082154.htm#gifts https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/1272/~/food---general-food

Sample Commercial Invoice for Food, Chocolate, Candies

Ship To Invoice
Smith Family in Alaska
James Smith
1 Abbott Street
Alaska, AK, 99833

Phone: 613-555-1234
Carrier tracking number: 736534736
General Description:
Food Shipment - Assorted chocolate bars in their original manufacturer's packaging

Invoice number: 123456MGEP4916926
Customs Broker: UPS
Date: 20 Aug 2019
QTY Description of Goods C/O SubTotal
1 Box Nestle Chocolate Bars in original packaging expiring May 2021 (shelf life of 6 months or longer)

CA $20.00
Terms of Sale: None
Total number of packages: 1
Reason for export: Permanent / Sold
Contact Name: James Smith
Total Invoice Amount: $20.00
Total Weight: 10.0 lbs
Declaration Statement: I hereby certify that information provided is true and complete to the best of my knowledge
Shipping Promotional Material to the United States

Samples

Commercial samples are goods imported to facilitate the placing of an order and are used only for demonstration purposes only.

Commercial samples can be imported duties and tax free provided the following conditions are met:

  • The word "Sample - Not for Resale " is stated on the commercial invoice under General Description and Detail Description of Goods
  • Specify the HS Code for the sample on the Commercial Invoice
  • The sample are not resold under an exact duplicate or replica (i.e. knock-offs)
  • Samples that are marked, defaced, torn, perforated or otherwise treated so that they are unsuitable for sale
  • Does not contain food to be eaten or consumed. See Food Samples for more info

Additional notes

  • The sample can be a different size or material than the good it is representing
  • The sample can be a miniature version or have a cutaway sample revealing the construction of the product (i.e. cut in half showing the inside of the item)
  • Cloth samples and color cards that display the different colors of merchandise are eligible

Although food samples (and other consumables) may be brought in as "commercial samples" for display and solicitation of orders, they may not be distributed as samples to be eaten or consumed.

If they are to be eaten (or otherwise consumed in a normal matter), regular entry and duty payment (if any) are required

Businesses shipping food samples must also complete a Prior Notice. See Shipping Food to the US

Sources:
https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/icp066_3.pdf

Sample Commercial Invoice for Commercial Sample

Ship To Invoice
Smith Family in California
James Smith
1 Abbott Street
California, CA, 90002

Phone: 613-555-1234
Carrier tracking number: 736534736
General Description:
Commercial Sample - Not for Resale

Invoice number: 123456MGEP4916926
Customs Broker: UPS
Date: 20 Aug 2019
QTY Description of Goods C/O SubTotal
1 Box Commercial Sample - Advanced reading copy of Dan Brown's novel.

CA $20.00
Terms of Sale: None
Total number of packages: 1
Reason for export: Commercial Sample
Contact Name: James Smith
Total Invoice Amount: $20.00
Total Weight: 10.0 lbs
Declaration Statement: I hereby certify that information provided is true and complete to the best of my knowledge
Sending Promotional material to the United States

Advertising Material

Advertising material can be shipped free of duties and taxes includes promotional material that is given away, such as flyers and brochures. In order to qualify, the following conditions must be met:

  • the words "Promotional Material - Not for Resale" is stated on the commercial invoice in the general description of goods

Sources:
https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Importing%20into%20the%20U.S.pdf (p47) https://www.gov.uk/guidance/exporting-to-the-usa

Sample Commercial Invoice for Promotional Material

Ship To Invoice
Smith Family in Texas
James Smith
1 Abbott Street
Texas, TX, 73301

Phone: 613-555-1234
Carrier tracking number: 736534736
General Description:
Promotional Material - Not for Resale

Invoice number: 123456MGEP4916926
Customs Broker: UPS
Date: 20 Aug 2019
QTY Description of Goods C/O SubTotal
1 Each Promotional Material: Not for Resale. Product pamphlets to hand out at trade show.

CA $163.00
Terms of Sale: None
Total number of packages: 1
Reason for export: Promotional Material
Contact Name: James Smith
Total Invoice Amount: $163.00
Total Weight: 10.0 lbs
Declaration Statement: I hereby certify that information provided is true and complete to the best of my knowledge
Have your goods warranty repaired in the United States

Repairs

Sending Product for Repair to the United States:

If you're sending your package for repair to the US, then the following is required met in order to obtain duty free exemption:

  • The words "REPAIR & RETURN" are stated on the commercial invoice under General Description or Remarks
  • Serial/Product number must be indicated under the Detailed Description of Goods section on the commercial invoice
  • Copy of Repair Contract included with all your export documentation

NOTE: Goods that are no longer under warranty for repair would have to pay any duties and taxes when the shipment returns to Canada.


Returning product after Repairs are Completed:

If your product has been repaired in Canada and is being returned back to the United States, then the following conditions must be met in order to obtain duty free exemption:

  • The words "REPAIR & RETURN" are stated on the commercial invoice under General Description or Remarks
  • Value of the product INCLUDING the Cost of the Repair must be indicated under the Detailed Description of Goods section
  • Original shipping docs or tracking number from when the item was first exported to the US

NOTE: If you don't have the original tracking information or documentation then the recipient may be charged duties and taxes on the shipment.

Sources:
https://www.cbp.gov/trade/nafta/guide-customs-procedures/effect-nafta/en-repairs-alterations
https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/forms-formulaires/e15-eng.html

Sample Commercial Invoice for Warranty Repair

Ship To Invoice
Smith Family in Georgia
James Smith
1 Abbott Street
Georgia, GA, 30002

Phone: 613-555-1234
Carrier tracking number: 736534736
General Description:
Repair and Return - Watch being sent for repair

Invoice number: 123456MGEP4916926
Customs Broker: UPS
Date: 20 Aug 2019
QTY Description of Goods C/O SubTotal
1 Each Fossil Watch being sent for repair - Model E5, serial # 789456FG7E2 - Repair Cost $76.00

US $163.00
Terms of Sale: None
Total number of packages: 1
Reason for export: Warranty Repair
Contact Name: James Smith
Total Invoice Amount: $163.00
Total Weight: 10.0 lbs
Declaration Statement: I hereby certify that information provided is true and complete to the best of my knowledge
Temporary Imports / Exports for shipments to the United States

Temporary Imports

If goods are to be temporarily imported for use in the United States, there are 3 options you can exercise in order to avoid having to pay any import duties or taxes. Your goods must also qualify for temporary imports. More information here.

Each option has its pros and cons. Regardless, each of the following methods requires you to complete a Commercial Invoice (CI).


Option # Temporary Import Method Risk of paying Duties and taxes
1 Commercial Invoice Only (no other documentation is provided) High - if broker cannot clear goods temporarily
2 Commercial Invoice + Temporary Import under Bond (TIB) Very Low
3 Commercial Invoice + ATA Carnet Very Low


1. Complete a Commercial Invoice (CI) only


This is the simplest and quickest option. See example.

NOTE: You should be aware that shipping using this method doesn't guarantee that your items will be imported duty/tax free. Not all brokers will clear goods as temporary imports (i.e. UPS, FedEx, DHL) nor is it a guarantee that customs won't charge any duties and taxes.



2. Commercial Invoice (CI) + Temporary Importation under Bond (TIB)

When completing a TIB in addition to a Commercial Invoice (CI), goods can enter the US free of duty and taxes provided:

  • The goods are not being sold once they enter the US
  • The importer agrees to export the goods or destroy the goods within a certain time frame (one year) or to pay damages, which are generally equal to twice the usual customs duty

TIB's have the capability of being extended up one year at a time, to a maximum of three years. It is also highly recommended to include a TIB for any shipments valued at $2500 USD or over.

It is also recommended that you contact a local customs broker to assist you with filing a TIB. Otherwise, you will need to submit the bond and entry documents described in the link.



3. Commercial Invoice (CI) + an ATA Carnet

Completing an ATA Carnet is great option for items that frequently travel in and out of the country. It's also great because once you have an ATA Carnet, it is accepted by 176 countries worldwide making the application process a one-time thing.

In addition to declaring your commercial invoice as a temporary import, you can get an ATA Carnet for the items that are of temporary nature.

ATA Carnets are beyond the scope of the article however, you can find more information here: http://www.chamber.ca/carnet/

NOTE: It is highly recommended to get an ATA Carnet for items that frequently travel in and out of the country and especially so when it is valued over $2500 USD



In addition to 1 of the 3 items above, the following conditions must also be met:

  • the goods leave the United States within one (1) year (potential extension available if you include a TIB)
  • the goods remain in the same condition as they were imported.
  • the words "Temporary Import/Not for Resale" are stated on the commercial invoice under General Description.
  • the words "Temporary Import" and the anticipated return date are stated on the commercial invoice under the Detail Description of Goods (for all applicable items)
  • customs broker selected can clear goods of temporary nature
  • include the original tracking number and the import date if the product is returning

NOTE: If the above conditions are not followed, duties and taxes will be charged as though the goods have been imported permanently.

Sources:
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/139/~/carnets---advantages%2C-issuance%2C-obligations-and-expiration
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/1212/kw/tib

 

Sample Commercial Invoice for Temporary Imports

Ship To Invoice
Smith Family in Santa Fe
James Smith
1 Abbott Street
Santa Fe, NM, 87501

Phone: 613-555-1234
Carrier tracking number: 736534736
General Description:
Temporary Imports - Trade show booth and display equipment returning Jan 2020

Invoice number: 123456MGEP4916926
Customs Broker: UPS
Date: 20 Aug 2019
QTY Description of Goods C/O SubTotal
1 box Temporary Imports - Trade show booth and display equipment

CA $1032.00
Terms of Sale: None
Total number of packages: 1
Reason for export: Temporary Imports
Contact Name: James Smith
Total Invoice Amount: $1032.00
Total Weight: 10.0 lbs
Declaration Statement: I hereby certify that information provided is true and complete to the best of my knowledge



Permanent Goods / Sold To an individual or business within the United States

Permanent/Sold Goods

All products sold that enter the United States (US) are subject to duties unless they fall under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The NAFTA agreement was designed to improve trade between Canada, Mexico, and the United States and is designed to reduce or eliminate Duties on a number of different items.

Thanks to NAFTA, the eCommerce industry continues to grow increasing jobs, wages, investment and reducing costs of such items as oil hence cheaper gas prices.

Sources:
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/535/~/transporting-and-importing-commercial-goods-to-sale-in-the-u.s.
https://www.cbp.gov/trade/programs-administration/entry-summary/cbp-form-7501
http://www.naftanow.org/

Sample Commercial Invoice for Permanent/Sold Goods

Ship To Invoice
Smith Family in Washington
James Smith
1 Abbott Street
Washington, WA, 98004

Phone: 613-555-1234
Carrier tracking number: 736534736
General Description:
Permanent/Sold: Parts and accessories for Canon B78n camera

Invoice number: 123456MGEP4916926
Customs Broker: UPS
Date: 20 Aug 2019
QTY Description of Goods C/O SubTotal
15 Each Camera Lenses: Canon EF 50mm, Canon EF 85mm & wide-angle lenses.

CA $132.00
Terms of Sale: None
Total number of packages: 1
Reason for export: Permanent/Sold
Contact Name: James Smith
Total Invoice Amount: $1980.00
Total Weight: 10.0 lbs
Declaration Statement: I hereby certify that information provided is true and complete to the best of my knowledge

Required Documents


Shipping packages internationally requires a lot of documentation. This process alone can be confusing and time consuming. So we’ve narrowed down what documents you might need and ranked them based on likeliness of being needed.

Document Type When? Details
Shipping Label / Bill of Lading Always required This is a label provided by the carrier (UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.). Always required because the carrier needs to know the parcel’s destination.
Commercial Invoice Required for all non-document shipments
For all non-document shipments, you will require 3 copies of the commercial invoice (to be included with your shipping labels - These are for customs purposes and need to be included inside a document pouch outside of the box.

When creating a shipment through the Secureship website, the system will help you create this document automatically.

B13a Required if value exceeds $2,000 per shipment or is a controlled good
A B13a is required if your shipment exceeds $2000 CAD or is a controlled good

Learn more about the B13a form here.
Certificate of Origin (COO) Infrequently required

Allows a reduced or zero-rated import duty.
Canada has a preferential trade agreement with the United States. A COO proves that an item has been produced, manufactured or processed in Canada.

When an item with a COO is imported into the United States, it will incur a reduced or zero-rated import duty.
Certificate of Insurance (COI) Infrequently required

Shows that the shipment has been insured.
Banks may request a certificate of insurance when providing letters of credit for the goods. Otherwise, it is generally your choice whether to purchase insurance for the shipment.
ATA Carnet Infrequently required

Used to avoid duties and taxes on shipments of temporary nature.
If you ship goods of temporary nature to and from a country, you can obtain an ATA Carnet to expedite the customs clearance process and ensure that anything of temporary nature is not charged duties and taxes.

See temporary import section
Packaging List Infrequently required Required if value exceeds $2,000 per shipment or is a controlled good
FDA Prior Notice Infrequently required

Used when shipping food.
An FDA prior notice must be electronically submitted before a food shipment arrives at the first port in the United States.

FDA Web Portal
TSCA - Toxic Substances Control Act Infrequently required

Imports of items containing chemical substances.
The TSCA form is required when shipping any chemicals, especially ink. This includes items like Pens, Markers, Highlighters, etc.

TSCA Form
Personal Effects - CBP Form 3299 Infrequently required

Required when shipping Personal Belonging.
All unaccompanied personal effects being shipped to the US must include a CBP form 3299 to avoid any delays or refusal at the border.

CBP Form 3299

Prohibited & Restricted Imports

The list of restricted and prohibited items changes often, so it's always best to check the official customs page prior to sending your packages. The United States (US) has a list of goods which are either prohibited or restricted.


Prohibited

  • Soil
  • Plants & seeds
  • Animal skins, ivory, furs
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Marijuana (including medicinal and synthetic)
  • Any item that is an illegal substance
  • Lottery tickets
  • Dangerous toys (i.e. Kinder Surprise Eggs)
  • Switchblades
  • Any item from an embargoed or US sanctioned country

Restricted

A restricted item is something that requires a special license or permit from a federal agency before the item is allowed to enter the country. There are heavy restrictions on a lot of items, especially exports of food to the US, it is essential that you check the official customs advice to ensure you comply with local laws.

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco Products
  • Seeds
  • Pets
  • Medication
  • Firearms
  • Ammunition
  • Explosives

NOTE:
  • Carriers will refuse to accept any parcels containing prohibited goods
  • Falsely declaring good on your exportation documents can lead to your products being seized and even criminal prosecution.

Sources:
https://www.cbp.gov/travel/us-citizens/know-before-you-go/prohibited-and-restricted-items https://crossborder.fedex.com/us/assets/prohibited-restricted/united-states/index.shtml https://www.ups.com/ga/CountryRegs

Duty & Taxes

Import duty and taxes in the United States are calculated based on the FOB price, which in other words means the Declared Customs Value indicated on your commercial invoice.
FOB Price = Declared Customs Value

Using the FOB Price, you can predict how much Duty & Tax the recipient would have to pay the US government to receive their goods.


Thresholds

Some countries provide a Duty & Tax Threshold (i.e. de minimus) which means that below a certain amount, no Duties or no Taxes are charged on the import of that shipment.

Currency American Dollar (USD)
Sales Tax (highest) 7.25%
Duty Exemption
(De minimus Value)
$800 USD *
Tax Exemption
(De minimus Value)
$800 USD *
Threshold Method FOB
Tax & Duty Calc Method FOB
* excluding Alcohol & Tobacco
Duties on Imports
  • Candy 0 - 12.2%
  • Chocolate > 2 kg, 0 - 5%
  •   <= 2.0 kg, 5.6 - 8.5%
  • Spirits and Wines0 - 19.8¢ / liter
  • Tobacco $9.92/kg + 25%
  •   (could go up to 350%)
  • Books0%
  • Documents0%
  • Video Games & Consoles 0%
  • Computers & Laptops 0 or 35%
  • Tablets 0 or 35%
  • Mobiles 0 or 35%
  • Cameras 0 - 3.9%
  • Accessories for Electronics0 - 12.5%
  • Coats 0 - 28.2%
  • Beauty Products & Cosmetics 0 - 6%
  • Jewelry 0 - 10.5%
  • Shirts & Pants 0 - 28.2%
  • Home Appliances 0 - 15%
  • Toys 0%
  • Sports Equipment 0 - 9.2%

NOTES:

  • Taxes may apply depending on the state and product you are shipping.
  • Please keep in mind that we do make an effort to keep the numbers above updated but if exact numbers are needed, please consult a customs broker at the destination country.

Sources:
https://hts.usitc.gov/
https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/national-media-release/de-minimis-value-increases-800

the United States Shipping Insurance


You can purchase insurance through Secureship and it is provided by the carrier that will be transporting your shipment.

Each carrier will charge a different amount per $100 of declared insurance. If you indicate that you need insurance for your shipment our system will automatically include the insurance costs for your shipment.

Insurance is great to have in case your package is accidentally lost or damaged by the carrier. But be careful, not everything you ship is insurable. Worse - even if your package contains items that are insurable, if it doesn’t meet the ISTA 3A packaging standard, the insurance purchased through the carrier would not be available to you.

Here are some items that cannot be insured by the carrier:

  • Personal belongings
  • Antiques
  • Artwork
  • Liquids (including alcohol)
  • Television
  • Jewelry in excess of $500
  • Perishable goods
  • Glass or Ceramic
  • And many more items

For more information, please see the carrier's terms and conditions.

Additional Resources

Questions about Shipping to the US



What does it cost to ship to the United States?

The costs to send a box to the US will vary based on the weight, size, and destination city within the United States. Obtain real-time quote for boxes to the US by visiting our shipping calculator here.


Does UPS ship to the United States?

Yes they do. You can send your packages with UPS through Secureship and save up to 50% off the list UPS price. Get an Instant Shipping Quote to USA here.


Does Canada Post ship to the United States?

Yes they do. Packages sent through Canada Post are typically handed off to USPS once your shipment crosses the border. A lot of shipper's like to send their packages through a Courier company instead because they get detailed tracking information. You can send your packages through Secureship and save up to 50% off the list price of major carriers.
Get an Instant Shipping Quote to the United States here.


What is the Cheapest Way to ship a Package from Canada to the United States?

The cheapest way to ship to your packages to the United States (US) will vary based on the size, weight as well as the from and to address. Rather than trying to figure this out yourself, you're better off using a shipping platform like Secureship. Secureship will help you find all the available shipping options. Plus, you'll save up to 50% off the list price of the carrier because of their group buying power. Find the cheapest way to ship to the US here.


Can I ship food to the United States?

You can ship some food to the United States with relative ease but of course, there are some items that you should avoid or that are not permitted. Note: If you are a business shipping food, you will need to complete a prior notice before shipping your items.

Generally accepted foods include: Unopened or commercially packaged food, Chocolate, Candies, Most Cheeses, Bakery Items, Condiments.

General Items to Avoid or that Are NOT permitted include: Fruits, Vegetables, Rice, Meat.

See our Food, Chocolate, & Candies section for more information.


How long does it take to ship from Canada to the United States?

Delivery times will vary by carrier and service level chosen. Shipments can be delivered by as early as 8 AM the next business day with the carriers on the Secureship network. Slower and more economical services can take up to 7 business days. See delivery times for shipments from Canada to the US here.