Before You Import a Live Horse: A Document Checklist

Over the years, the importation of live horses has become highly regulated. Canada and the U.S. have regulations governing the movement of horses across their shared border. This has led to importers being required to prepare well in advance of their trip.

Basic requirements for importing a live horse into Canada:

As an importer you are legally responsible for the accuracy of information provided to CBSA, even if you use a customs broker, freight forwarder or service provider to prepare your documents. The importer must also ensure that the carrier has the proper health documents when transporting your horse across the border.

  • Canada Customs Invoice – When filling out the Canada Customs Invoice be careful with the ‘country of origin’. Often mistaken, this refers to the country in which the horse was born.  The horse’s name must be shown on all invoices and must match the health documents and include the name and address for the destination in Canada.
  • Bill of Sale – Horse’s name must be shown on all invoices and must match the health documents. CBSA is targeting valuation of horses and they have requested many times that customs brokers provide the bill of sale. Therefore, we make it part of our required documents to avoid delays at the border.
  • Health Documents – You must have a current Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) also known as the Coggins and International Health Certificate which may be one or two pages but must show that the horse(s) have not been in the state of Texas or New Mexico within the past 21 days.
  • Entry Type – Your customs broker will want to know whether the horse is a temporary or a permanent entry.
    • If permanent, they will need to know its end use (race, show, breeding, other)
    • If temporary, they will need to know the reason and length of stay to determine if it can clear under a temporary import authorization D8-1-1 or if you will have to pay full taxes. Horses that are leased do not qualify for temporary import and must be fully GST/PST/HST paid depending on whether it is a personal or commercial importation. Horses imported temporarily for pasturage, competition, training or breeding qualify for temporary entry. The maximum length of stay is 12 months. Your horse must be exported prior to that time unless an extension is applied for and granted, or else it will be entered for consumption.

Canadian Horses Being Returned to Canada

Canadian horses returning to Canada can only be re-entered under 9813 or 9814 if:

  • Returning to the original owner and
  • Accompanied with proof of export (POE)

The usual POE for horses is the stamped copies of the health documents used to export the horses into the USA. However, a U.S. Customs entry and invoice or the transaction number covering the original entry into Canada will also be sufficient. Even in this instance, your customs broker will need to know “reason” for export to the USA.

Be careful for any dutiable costs while in the USA. For example, if the horse is now pregnant, you may need to determine a value for the foal.  If the information is already on the invoice, it will be included it in the value of the horse. If not, the information is only required if Canada Border Services Agency requests it at the time of release at the discretion of the Border Service Officer.

Horses Shipped from Texas or New Mexico

Texas and New Mexico currently have restrictions on horses importing to Canada. Horses shipped from Texas or New Mexico need a CFIA import permit which the importer must apply for in advance. Also, the carrier will need to make a vet appointment at the border.


Following the above general guidelines for importing a horse into Canada will streamline the crossing of borders to the satisfaction of all concerned, making your next trip with your horse a smooth ride.

Pacific Customs Brokers has years of experience handling the clearances of live animals such as horses. Should you require assistance in importing a live horse, our import specialists can simplify the process for you.


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The Importance of an Ironclad Record Keeping System

In today’s compliance driven world, where U.S. Customs is enforcing rules more than ever and issuing penalties, importers are left wondering how to best utilize their resources to remain compliant. One of the most effective ways to ensure doing business in a compliant fashion is to create a solid “ironclad” record keeping system.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a lot of requirements for record keeping and as a result importers are often left with many questions:

  • Who is responsible for keeping records?
  • Isn’t my customs broker responsible for keeping my records?
  • How long do the records have to be maintained?
  • Do the records have to be kept on my premises?
  • What are the liabilities for improper record keeping?


The term “records” in the language of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is defined in the Customs regulations under Part 163.

Part 163 defines the term “records” to mean any information made or normally kept in the ordinary course of business which pertains to the following activities:

  • any importation, declaration or entry;
  • the transportation or storage of merchandise carried or held under bond into or from the Customs territory of the United States;
  • the filing of a drawback claim;
  • the completion and signature of a NAFTA export Certificate of Origin pursuant to Part 181;
  • the collection and payment of fees and taxes to CPB; and
  • any other activity required to be undertaken pursuant to laws or regulations administered by CBP.

“Records” include any information required for the entry; this includes but is not limited to:

  • statements, declarations, documents;
  • electronically generated or machine readable data;
  • electronically stored or transmitted information or data;
  • books, papers, correspondence;
  • accounts, financial accounting data;
  • technical data; and
  • computer programs necessary to retrieve information in a usable form.

Who exactly is responsible for record keeping?

Any owner, importer of record, consignee, customs broker or any other party that:

  • imports merchandise into the United States;
  • files a drawback claim;
  • transports or stores product that is transported or held under bond;
  • an agent or customs broker of any person referenced above; or
  • a person whose activities require the filing of a declaration or entry, or both.

Additional record keeping requirements exist for:

  • any party who completes and signs a Certificate of Origin for goods exported to Canada or Mexico pursuant to NAFTA
  • customs brokers
  • Importer Security Filings

Are there any exceptions to the rules?

Exceptions to record keeping requirements can include:

  • Any traveler that makes a baggage or oral declaration upon arrival into the United States is not required to keep records regarding non-commercial merchandise acquired abroad;
  • A person that orders merchandise from an importer which knowingly causes the products to be imported , but does not:
    • furnish technical data, molds, equipment; other production assistance, material, components, or parts with knowledge that the goods will be used for further manufacturing of the imported merchandise or;
    • controls the terms and condition of importation.

How long is the responsible party obligated to keep the records?

Records that importers are required to keep under Part 163 must be kept for 5 years from the date of entry. There are of course exceptions to that rule. Below is a list of documents that have a different time limit requirement:

  • drawback claim records – 3 years
  • packing lists – 60 calendar days
  • a consignee who is not the owner and who appoints a U.S. customs broker must keep all records that pertain to the merchandise covered by an informal entry – 2 years
  • NAFTA certificate and all supporting documents pertaining to that certificate – 5 years (from the date of signature on the certificate)
  • ISF records – 6 years (from the date of export)

Do original documents need to be maintained?  

Yes. Original records must be kept unless the record keeper has adopted an alternative storage method.  The record keeper must maintain the original records whether on paper or electronically. Visit 163.5 Methods for storage of records for more information.

Certain records must be kept in their original format for a limited time or may not be alternatively stored at all even if proper alternative storage methods have been approved:

  • with the exception of packing lists, entry records must be maintained in their original format for a period of 120 calendar days from the end of the release or conditional release period.   If re-delivery has been requested for a period of 120 calendar days from the date the goods are re-delivered or from the date specified in the demand as the latest re-delivery date;
  • records required by other federal agencies are subject to the same record keeping requirements

Customs records that are kept in original format or under an approved alternative method of storage must be capable of being retrieved upon request by Customs.

What are the liabilities?

Consequences can be severe if the proper records are not retained.

  • willful failure to maintain, store or retrieve a demanded record, U.S. Customs can issue an administrative penalty for each release of merchandise, not to exceed $100,000 or an amount equal to 75% of the appraised value of the merchandise, whichever is less; or
  • negligent failure to maintain, store or retrieve a demanded record, U.S. Customs may issue an administrative penalty for each release of merchandise, not to exceed $10,000 or an amount equal to 40% of the appraised value of the merchandise, whichever is less.

Record keeping is a shared responsibility between all parties involved in Customs transactions. Just because you hire a third party to process your clearances does not absolve you from record keeping requirements. Reviewing your current record keeping procedures today and making sure you have a strong record retention program in place will save you from potential sanctions and penalties against your organization.

Remember, importing is a privilege you cannot afford to lose.


Mandatory AES Filing for Used Vehicles Exported to Canada Effective April 5th


Update April 4, 2014: The U.S. Census Bureau in concurrence with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), agrees to provide an additional 180 days to come into compliance with the new export reporting requirements. During this 180 day period the Census Bureau and CBP will use “informed compliance” to educate the trade on the new requirements. During this time, no penalties will be issued for failure to comply with any new requirements found in the March 14, 2013 rule. Penalties may be issued for violations of regulations that remain unchanged from the FTR published on June 2, 2008. The period of informed compliance will take place from the revised FTR effective date of April 5, 2014 through October 2, 2014.

Read more: AES Informed Compliance Period Announced


On March 14, 2013, the United States Census Bureau published a final rule amending its regulations to require new export reporting requirements. Previously scheduled to take effect on January 8, 2014, the FTR final rule published on March 14, 2013, will now be effective April 5, 2014.

Additionally, the Office of Management and Budget has approved the collection of two new data elements (license value and ultimate consignee type) in the Automated Export System (AES) under control number 0607-0152.

New Requirements for used self-propelled vehicles:

Some of the new requirements for used self-propelled vehicles include:

  1. The vehicle must be filed in the AES regardless of value or country of destination
  2. The vehicle must be filed 72 hours prior to export

What is the Automated Export System (AES)?

The Automated Export System (AES) is a computer system that collects Electronic Export Information (EEI). The AES is the primary instrument used for collecting export trade data, which is used by the United States Census Bureau  for statistical purposes only and by other federal government agencies for purposes of enforcing U.S. export laws and regulations.

What is considered a self-propelled vehicle?

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), self-propelled vehicles as includes any automobile, truck, tractor, bus, motorcycle, motor home, self-propelled agricultural machinery, self-propelled construction equipment, self-propelled special use equipment, and any other self-propelled vehicle used or designed for running on land but not rail.

Impact on importers and exporters:

As of April 5, 2014, the current AES exemption for used self-propelled vehicles destined for Canada will no longer be valid. Thereby requiring mandatory filing of export information through the Automated Export System (AES) and accompanying electronic information submitted to CBP 72 hours before the vehicle’s arrival at the border. Non-compliance with this mandatory AES filing may result in very severe penalties, enforced by CBP, on behalf of the Census Bureau.


If you have questions regarding these new changes to the FTR final rule or for more information regarding the key changes, please contact our customs and trade experts. Additionally, Pacific Customs Brokers can handle these filings on your behalf. Contact us to learn how we will help you meet your AES obligations.

Additional Resources:


Cross-Border Expo June 2014

Trade Show, Seminars, Business-to-Business Networking Social

The Ferndale Chamber of Commerce and Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa present the Second Annual Cross-Border Expo, June 12th in Ferndale, Washington. This event will showcase over 60 exhibitors and feature three educational sessions aimed at Doing Business in the USA, Doing Business in Canada, and Cross-Border (USA) Real Estate Investment.

It will be FREE of charge for attendees, although (free) pre-registration is recommended for the seminars, as seating will be limited. Priority seating will be given to those who pre-register.

Pacific Customs Brokers is proud to participate as a sponsor, exhibitor and speaker at each of the Doing Business in Canada and Doing Business in the USA sessions.

The Cross-Border Expo will be an exciting opportunity for exhibitors to meet and network with several hundred affluent BC and Whatcom County visitors. The goal is to attract both tourism and business visitors for a one to five-day visit.

Register Now

Seminar Overview

Thursday, June 12, 2014

1:00 pm – 1:30 pm

  • Seminar Registration (seminars are concurrent)

1:30 pm – 4:15 pm

  • Session One: Doing Business in the USA
  • Session Two: Doing Business in Canada
  • Session Three: Cross-Border (USA) Real Estate Investment

2:00 pm

  • Trade Show Exhibit Floor Opens

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

  • Multi-Chamber Business-After-Business Networking/Social

7:00 pm

  • Trade Show Exhibit Floor Closes

To view the full schedule, visit: Seminar/Tradeshow/Networking Schedule

Register Now


  • Pacific Customs Brokers
  • Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa
  • International Market Access, Inc.
  • Print & Copy Factory
  • Wells Fargo
  • Port of Bellingham
  • Cascadia Cross-Border Law
  • VSH CPAs
  • US Bank
  • Charter College
  • White Rock Courier Ltd.
  • The Northern Light
  • KNV Chartered Accountants LLP

Event Location

Event Center at Silver Reef
4876 Haxton Way
Ferndale, WA 98248

Contact Information

Ferndale Chamber of Commerce
5683 2nd Ave, Ferndale, WA 98248
Phone: 360.384.3042

Expo Specials

Register Now


Trade Show Imports into Canada from the United States

Trade Show ImportsExhibiting at a trade show can be an exciting opportunity. Companies get a chance to showcase their goods and services to prospective buyers, network with colleagues in the same industry, and build brand equity. There are a few options for handling the Customs release to get your goods into Canada and minimize the costs when the goods are returned.

Customs Release of Event Goods

For the most part, the show organizer will appoint a customs broker and refer the customs broker to the exhibitor. Customs brokerage is a service industry, so professional fees vary from customs broker to customs broker. It is always worth shopping around – exhibitors do have the option of having their goods clear Customs at the border instead of moving in bond to clear at the show.

Tip » The sooner you get prepared to ship, the more alternatives you have to handle the Customs formalities, and get your goods to the show in time.

Customs Release Options for Canada

1. A.T.A. Carnet

Carnets can be obtained from your local Chamber of Commerce. They are considered to be similar to a passport for goods. The Carnet gets stamped by the exporting country on the way out and on the way into the importing country. The same process happens when the goods are leaving Canada. There is a bond charge that would be associated with a Carnet that is usually based on the value of the good and they are usually valid for a one year period.

Carnets are great if you are taking the same goods in and out of Canada multiple times a year. The disadvantage to Carnets is the quantity of the goods and equipment must be exactly the same at the time of export and import. So if the plan is to give away some samples and literature while you are attending the trade show, a Carnet may not be well suited for your company. Promotional giveaway items will need to be entered for consumption and duty paid into Canada, so shipping the giveaway items separately is a feasible option.

For more information about A.T.A. Carnets, please visit the Chamber of Commerce’s web site.

2. E29B – Temporary Admission Permit

If you plan to participate in multiple trade shows, an E29B gives you the flexibility of changing up the equipment you are bringing back and forth across the border. The temporary admission permit can be issued by a customs broker against the customs broker’s E29B bond. An E29B would be prepared each time you exhibit. The E29B must be canceled prior to the goods exiting Canada. There is a charge for preparation and use of the customs broker’s E29B bond and a refundable security deposit may also be required. The security deposit gets returned when the customs broker receives proof the bond has been properly canceled with Canada Border Services Agency. If there are giveaway items, a separate B3 consumption entry will need to be prepared for the goods that will remain in Canada. Even if they are free, they will require a value for Customs purposes. Depending on the types of giveaway items and where they are made, there may be duty payable upon import and they will likely be subject to the 5% Canadian Goods and Services Tax (GST).

For a sample Form E29B and detailed instructions for each field on the form please see the Appendix of Memorandum D-8-1-4.

3. B3 – Consumption Entry

Depending on the value of the goods, sometimes it makes more sense to duty pay the goods into Canada and pay the 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST). For example, shipments that are valued less than $5000 Canadian dollars that are made in the United States or Mexico, and are eligible for the benefit of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the cost of duty paying them would only be the GST. With the dollar currently being very close to par, the cost works out to be around $275 Canadian dollars. A professional fee would apply for preparing the Customs entry. There would also be no bond cancellation to worry about for goods entered on a B3 consumption entry.

Note: Additional documentation may be required depending on the type of goods coming into to Canada.

Returning Event Goods to the United States

For ease of return to the United States, a 4455- Certificate of Registration is recommended. It must be signed off by U.S. Customs prior to the goods exiting Canada. It registers the goods as U.S. goods and is proof that the goods landed in the United States to avoid duty paying them back into the U.S. on their return home. The basic form required to declare the shipment to Canada Customs is a Canada Customs Invoice. This form and others are available on our website.

Tip » Using the same customs broker for your import and export activities simplifies the process.

Choosing a Service Provider

Customs brokerage services vary from company to company. At Pacific Customs Brokers, we specialize in handling shipments for various industries and clients of all sizes. We are open 24/7, understand the urgency of getting shipments delivered on time, and can look after Customs releases at all ports of entry into Canada and the United States. Our friendly and professional customs brokers are at your service to help cut through the red tape and clear your trade show goods into Canada.

To learn more about trade show event logistics visit our website.

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