Posts Tagged ‘canada customs invoice’


Video: Shipping to Canada & Tips for Avoiding Delays with Canada Customs Clearance

Accurately completed Canada Customs documentation will help your shipment reach its destination on time and reduce the risk of being held up by Canada Customs.

In this video you will learn:

  • What documents are required to ship to Canada
  • Information required on a Canada Customs Invoice
  • How to clear Customs in Canada
  • How to avoid delays at Canada Customs
  • Consequences of noncompliance with Canada Customs’ regulations



Do you have tips or questions on shipping to Canada? Drop us a comment or question below or email  Ask Your Broker.


Canada Customs Invoice: 7 Mandatory Fields

Filling out a customs formA Canada Customs Invoice (CCI) is required for all shipments entering Canada that are valued over $2500.00 CAD. Do not take the chance of delaying your shipment at the border due to an incomplete or inaccurate Canada Customs Invoice (CCI).  Customs brokers see this happen often.

Mandatory Fields on a Canada Customs Invoice:

The following fields on a Canada Customs Invoice are mandatory for customs clearance, and must be provided at the time of release:

1. Date of Direct Shipment – This is the date of the goods leaving the place of direct shipment. This is used to obtain the exchange rate which will be used to convert the value for duty into Canadian dollars. Exchange rates vary day to day, which makes it very important to indicate the correct date of shipment on your invoice.

2. Country of Origin – This field must indicate the country where the products originated from or were manufactured. This will not necessarily be where the products were exported from. The country of origin will help determine if we can apply a free trade agreement to avoid paying duties on the products being imported.

3. Currency of sale – This should indicate which funds were used to purchase the goods. This should never be left blank or assumed. Your customs broker must convert funds to Canadian dollars in order to file an entry with Canada Customs; this makes it very important to know which funds we are working with.

4. Quantity – This field should indicate the total number of pieces being shipped. If Customs examines a shipment, they will want to ensure that the number of pieces declared matches what is loaded on a truck. This makes it very important to ensure accuracy.

5. Value – This field should indicate the fair market value of the goods. This is required for all goods being imported – even if a sale has not occurred. Valuation of the items being imported should be based on one of the six valuation methods: transaction value of the goods, transaction value of identical goods, transaction value of similar goods, deductive method, computed method, or residual method.

6. Weight – This must indicate the weight of the goods. This should match up with the carrier’s bill of lading weight. This can also be used to verify accuracy in the case of a Customs examination.

7. Purchaser/Importer of Record – This field should indicate which party has purchased the goods. It will identify which party is responsible for handling the Customs Clearance, any duty, and taxes that are owing on the items being imported.

Snapshot - Sample Canada Customs Invoice


Here is an example of a properly completed Canada Customs Invoice. Click the link or the thumbnail image for a detailed view.

Sample Canada Customs Invoice Form





Interested in learning more about about documentation for importing into Canada? Pacific Customs Brokers hosts a series of Trade Compliance Seminars throughout the year. To learn more about this topic, we recommend attending an upcoming Canadian Customs Compliance Seminar.

Do you need additional assistance with your customs documentation, contact Pacific Customs Brokers.

Have questions on filling out a Canada Customs Invoice?  Ask us in our comments section below.



Full Appraisal Quality is a Mandatory CBSA Requirement

Electronic Data InterchangePacific Customs Brokers submits the majority of their shipments to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) through an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). The purpose of an EDI release is to provide customs brokers with the ability to transmit release and invoice data electronically, thereby removing the requirement to prepare and present hard copy release packages. To be compliant, Pacific Customs Brokers must ensure that we submit Full Appraisal Quality information to CBSA. This means we must transmit complete and accurate descriptions to Canada Customs as if we were taking a “snap shot” image of the physical invoice. Customs relies on our EDI details for both release decisions and post audit re-appraisals.

Lack of Full Appraisal Quality details on invoices can:

To avoid complications such as these requires a significant amount of co-ordination between the exporter, transporter, customs broker, and importer.

Full Appraisal Quality includes the following major aspects:

1. Complete Product Descriptions

The description of the goods should be in layman’s terms. Your customs broker has to know what they are classifying to Customs. The description should also include the material that the goods are made of (plastic, metal, etc.) A full appraisal description should look as follows:

“12x12 Glazed Ceramic Floor Tile”

2. Fair Market Value

Even if the shipper is giving you free samples, brochures, or whatever else the case may be, Customs requires that a value for the goods must be shown.

Please note: The term “fair market” means the value must be an accurate depiction of the goods being shipped, typically the Blue Book value of goods.

3. Quantities:

The amount of product must be put into a unit of measure, typically how the goods are sold. For example:  Per pound, package, piece, etc.

4. Ship Date:

Ship date refers to the date the goods began their journey to Canada. This is important since GST will be calculated according to this date.

5. Currency:

This is defining the currency that the goods were sold. For example: USD or CAD

6. Weight:

This is often computed on the bill of lading. It is acceptable to estimate the approximate weight of a shipment on the invoice.


*Remember: Full Appraisal Quality is not an option, it is the mandatory minimum information required by CBSA.

Snapshot - Canada Customs Invoice - Full Appraisal Quality

Here is an example of a properly completed Canada Customs Invoice that meets the requirements of Full Appraisal Quality. Click the link or the thumbnail image for a detailed view.

Canada Customs Invoice – Full Appraisal Quality. pdf





If you require further clarification, Pacific Customs Brokers would be happy to consult with you.

Do you have questions about Full Appraisal Quality, leave them in our comments section below or email Ask Your Broker.



Help! My Shipment is Stuck at the Border

Always OpenMany times, we as customs brokers receive phone calls from importers, shippers, dispatchers and carriers frantically trying to find out why their shipment is “stuck at the border”. Lucky for them, we are ALWAYS Open 24/7, with live reception and no voice mail.

Sometimes it is a very simple answer and other incidence’s are more complex. Below are some of the most common reasons why a shipment may be stuck at the border.

1. Documents make no mention of who the customs broker is to assist with the clearance.  “Customs Clearance- contact Pacific Customs Brokers 888.538.1566”

2. Documents are hard to decipher who the actual Importer of Record is. The Importer of Record (IOR) can be;

  •  The receiver of the goods – usually called “consignee”
  • The shipper (acting as a “Non-Resident Importer” (NRI) and already set up with a Canadian customs broker)
  • A third party having their shipments drop shipped from another location and in most cases will also be acting as a “Non-Resident Importer

3. Neither the shipper or the consignee have not set up anything formally with a Canadian customs broker to effect customs clearance.

4. The driver/freight company picking up freight only has a Bill of Lading and is not given any other documents such as a commercial invoice or Canada Customs invoice.

5. Documents/commercial invoice does not have enough information to be able to prepare the entry for presentation and clearance with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Some of the information that can hold this up is:

  • not enough information to  classify the goods (Tariff Classification)
  • total value or individual values are missing
  • country of manufacture is missing
  • total number of pieces is missing
  • weight is missing
  • commercial invoice document only shows product numbers or abbreviated number & item name (no general description of what the goods are). See below for examples.

For example: — 1956842ftp clr scn/cpy/prnt (not an acceptable description)

–   1956842ftp — Scanner/copier/printer unit (an acceptable description)

6. The document is not the correct document to obtain a customs clearance (i.e. purchase order or pick ticket)

7. A few more reasons freight crossing the border is often delayed may be due to the actual commodity being shipped. Perhaps there are other government agencies that are involved in approving the goods for Customs clearance, such as items that are under control of Canadian Food Inspections Agency (CFIA).

They require CFIA approval and some commodities are under quota and require an Import Permit. Perhaps the goods are listed on the Import Control List and require an Import Permit, such as some steel items.    Meat shipments and those requirements are also extensive.

It is always a good idea to check with a customs broker for any special requirements or extra documentation and / or extra steps that may need to be taken to properly clear the goods across the border prior to ordering or shipping.

When in doubt, be sure to contact your customs broker. They’ll properly advise on what you need to do and what they need in order for your shipment (s) to avoid delays and have a seamless Customs clearance process.




7 Key Elements of a Commercial Invoice

In a previous post, we explained the importance of the Canada Customs Invoice (CCI).  We recommend the use of the CCI form, but if a commercial invoice in presented, you need to ensure that your commercial invoice includes all information required for Customs clearance. Please ensure the following is included:

The party that the commodities are being purchased from.

Importer of Record
The party that is responsible for any applicable duties and taxes.

The location that the shipment is being delivered to.

Full Description of Commodities
Including what the goods are made out of — in laymans terms.

Quantity and Value
The quantity of each item being shipped, with corresponding unit of measure, and a broken down value.

The currency of sale on your invoice.

Country of
The country where the good was manufactured in, not the country they are being shipped from.


Without this basic information, the Customs clearance and delivery of your shipment may very likely be delayed until the information is obtained.


Have any questions? Ask Your Broker Knows and we will answer them as soon as possible!