What you can bring to Canada
When you arrive in Canada, you must inform the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) of all the goods you have with you that you obtained while you were outside Canada.
On this page
- Making your declaration
- Goods to declare
- Personal exemptions
- Restrictions and prohibited goods
- False declarations and the seizure of goods
- Public health
- Travelling with money and valuable items
Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada must declare the goods they are bringing back from outside Canada. The customs declaration process may differ depending on how you are travelling.
Entering Canada by commercial airline
If you arrive at one of Canada’s international airports, you can make an on-screen declaration by using a primary inspection kiosk or through eGate, where you will:
- scan your travel document
- have your photo taken
- answer questions by using the touch screen
You can reduce your time at the kiosk by submitting your declaration before you enter Canada at a participating airport. To do so, use the Advance CBSA Declaration feature in the ArriveCAN travel app up to 72 hours before your arrival in Canada.
Early usage data shows that travellers using the Advance CBSA Declaration feature report through the kiosk 30% faster. Travellers who make their customs and declaration information in advance can take also advantage of Advance CBSA Declaration express lanes at the airport where available.
Entering Canada in a private vehicle
In most cases, you can make an oral declaration to a border services officer when you arrive in a private vehicle such as a car, boat, aircraft or bus.
You must declare:
- purchased goods
- gifts, prizes or awards
- goods bought at a duty-free shop (Canadian or foreign) that are still in your possession
- the value of any work, including repairs, done outside Canada on items that you are bringing back
You may need to pay duty and taxes on these items. When you shop outside Canada, use the duty and taxes estimator to help estimate the amount of duty and taxes you will need to pay when you return to Canada.
Based on the length of time you are outside Canada, you may qualify for a personal exemption that allows you to bring goods of a certain value into Canada without paying regular duty and taxes.
If you aren't sure if you should declare something, always declare it. Border services officers will help you identify your personal exemptions and if duties and taxes are owed.
Your eligibility for an exemption and the amount of goods you can bring back without paying any duty or taxes depend on the length of time you have been outside Canada.
In general, the goods you include in your personal exemption must be for your personal or household use. You do not need to pay duty on goods for personal use that are marked as made in Canada, the United States or Mexico.
Sending goods into Canada
While you are outside Canada, you can send gifts worth no more than Can$60 to someone in Canada free of duty and taxes. These goods do not count as part of your personal exemption, but they cannot be a tobacco product or an alcoholic beverage.
If you have sent goods home from outside Canada, ask the border services officer about claiming these goods when you return to Canada. Otherwise, you may have to pay the regular duty and taxes on them.
You may not be allowed to bring certain goods into Canada. Prohibited goods include:
- food, plants, animals and related products that pose a risk to Canada
- endangered species and anything made from the parts or endangered species (these can be found in some souvenirs)
You may need a permit or written authorization to bring other goods into Canada, including
- health products and prescription drugs
- antiques or cultural objects that have historical significance to their country of origin
- explosives, fireworks and certain types of ammunition
All weapons and firearms must be declared when you enter Canada.
If you fail to declare goods that you bring into Canada or make a false or incomplete declaration, the goods may be seized or you may be fined.
You may have the option to pay a fine to have some seized goods returned to you. Fines can range from 25% to 80% of the value of the seized goods.
Undeclared goods that will not be returned to you include:
- tobacco products
- alcoholic beverages
If you catch a communicable disease, such as a virus, or if you were in close contact with someone with a communicable disease while out of the country, you must inform a border services officer or a quarantine officer upon your return to Canada.
Tell your doctor if you have been ill while travelling or become ill after your return to Canada.
Any time you enter or leave Canada, you must declare any money or monetary instruments, such as stocks, bond or cheques that you are carrying valued at $10,000 or more.
If you are planning to travel outside Canada with highly valuable items that you acquired in Canada or that you lawfully imported, you can take them to a Customs and Border Services Agency (CBSA) office before you leave to have them identified on a wallet-sized card as valuables that were in your possession before leaving the country.
Take the card with you when you travel and show your card to the border officer if you are questioned about these items when you return to Canada.
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