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International Shipping to Canada

Updated: July 25th, 2021

Planning your physical move to Canada? If yes, you're in the right place. International shipping to Canada can include shipping the entirety of your household belongings or a few specific things like sporting equipment or a painting. While you could purchase extra checked baggage for clothes and smaller items, you might want to consider your international shipping options for bigger and bulkier items, and know what to expect at customs.

Getting Your Belongings Shipped to Canada

Container-forklift-shipping-on-freight | International Shipping to Canada

Customs Fees

Just like with any other country, all international shipments to Canada must be cleared by customs. That means you must declare what goods (make, model, and serial number, where applicable) are included in your shipment and the value of the items you’re shipping to Canada.

Canadian authorities will then calculate how much tax and duty needs to be applied to your goods. Most goods above $20 will be subjected to tax and duty. The Goods and Service Tax (GST) is set at five percent, which is automatically applied to any import valued at more than $20 CAD. On top of that, if you’re planning to move to British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, or Saskatchewan then you will have to pay a Provincial Sales Tax (PST) too. 

Note: Most international shipping companies provide you with the appropriate customs declaration to complete, print, sign, and attach to your shipment ahead of time.

Items You Can Import Duty - And Tax - Free

To import goods duty- and tax-free when you’re moving to Canada with the intention of living in the country for one year or more, you must have owned, possessed, and used the goods abroad prior to arriving in Canada.

What you can include in your duty and tax-free entitlement

  1. clothing and linen;
  2. furniture;
  3. appliances;
  4. furnishings;
  5. silverware;
  6. jewellery;
  7. antiques;
  8. family heirlooms;
  9. private collections of coins, stamps, and art;
  10. personal computers;
  11. books;
  12. musical instruments;
  13. personal computers;
  14. hobby tools and other hobby items;
  15. personal vehicles;
  16. hobby tools and other hobby items;
  17. pleasure boats and the trailers to carry them (trailers are subject to Transport Canada requirements);
  18. mobile trailers, no more than 2.6 meters (9 feet) wide, that the owner is capable of moving on his or her own;
  19. utility trailers;
  20. motor homes;
  21. private aircraft; and
  22. tool sheds or garages that do not attach to or form part of a dwelling.

What Types of International Shipment to Canada Can I Use?

delivery-truck-toy-concept | International Shipping to Canada

Sea Freight

Container shipping is generally the most affordable method of shipping your belongings overseas. You will save significantly when you opt for sea freight over air freight but the waiting time is much longer. It can easily take two to three months before your belongings arrive in Canada. You should enquire if your belongings will arrive at your door or if you need to arrange transport from the port.

Air Freight

Air freight is a much faster method of shipping your belongings but it’s typically priced by weight and volume and is more costly as a result. It’s not always guaranteed that your belongings will arrive at your door. This is something that depends on your shipping company and the services they offer.

Is it Expensive to Ship to Canada?

When it comes to international shipping to Canada, there are two major costs to take into consideration. The custom import fee and the international shipping company service fee. My Baggage, for example, offers a 30kg weight allowance per item for CAD $201 to Canada. However, how much you will pay to ship your items to Canada differs from company to company, the type of shipping options you choose, and the amount and/or weight of your items. You can use Sirelo to get free non-obligatory quotes from up to five qualified removal companies.  

International Shipping Companies to Canada

new-earth-globe-in-box | International Shipping to Canada

5 Popular International Shipping Companies
Company More Details
1. My Baggage My Baggage ships luggage, boxes and sports equipment around the world, and delivers it to your door.
2. Seven Seas Worldwide Seven Seas Worldwide can send excess baggage or personal belongings to Canada in containers via sea freights.
3. Ship Lilly Ship Lilly can send excess baggage or personal belongings to Canada via sea freights or air freights.
4. FedEx You can send smaller items in boxes of up to 25kg to Canada via air freight.
5. DHL You can send smaller items in boxes of up to 25kg to Canada via air freight.

What Can’t I Ship to Canada?

Some items are prohibited while others are controlled by the government of Canada. For controlled items, you may need to get an import permit to ship the items and/or consumer goods such as food and plants. You may also need to get an import permit for your pet. Other items are strictly prohibited from entering Canada such as baby walkers and used mattresses.  

What Else You’ll Need

If you’re planning on moving to Canada then you will need to obtain a visa when working or permanently settling in the country. With over 100 visa programs, knowing which one you qualify for can be tricky. Luckily, there are agencies like that help you find the correct visa for your stay and handle all the complex documentation on your behalf. Simply, fill in the form below to get started on your visa application with certified professionals.

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