Moving to Canada guide

Moving to Canada

Canadá / Kanada

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A Guide to Relocating to Canada

Want to move to Toronto? Considering moving to Montreal? Or thinking about an international removal to Vancouver. Here’s the moving advice you’ll need for any international removal to Canada…

Moving Household Goods And Personal Effects To Canada

Below is a list of the documents you will need when planning an international removal to Canada:

  • Copy of Passport (Of the individual moving/importing the goods) (photo page only)
  • Proof of Residency abroad for at least 1 year (bank statements, utilities, rent receipts, income tax statement, etc. for first and last month of 12-month period) (returning citizens)
  • Originial Detailed moving inventory / Removal packing list including “goods to follow” in English or French – We will complete this if you want us to undertake a full packing service for your removal
  • Receipts for new items
  • Personal Effects Accounting Document (Form BSF186 formerly known as form B4)
  • Original Bill of Lading (OBL) / Air Waybill (AWB) – We will take care of this if completing the entire international removal to Canada for you.
  • Immigration papers, if applicable
  • Proof of residence in Canada (copy of Deed / Sales Agreement / Lease Agreement) (seasonal residents)
  • Copy of Death Certificate (import of inheritance items)
  • Copy of Will or Letter from the Executor of an estate (import of inheritance items)
  • Obligation for Privilege from the Canadian Ministry of External Affairs (applicable only to diplomatic relocations / diplomats moving)
  • Liquor Permit, if applicable
  • Work Permit / Student Visa holders, if applicable

We recommend providing these as soon as possible to reduce delays with your removal to Canada. Late receipt of documentation can lead to missed shipments, additional charges and penalties at Canadian Customs. For your own protection, we will almost never ship your goods without the above in place.

Additional Removal Advice

Below is a list of the documents you will need when planning an international removal to Canada:

  • The owner of the goods must be present for Customs clearance, or use a licensed Customs broker to handle the clearance on their behalf.
  • Returning Canadians may import household goods and personal effects duty free under the following conditions:
  • The goods were owned and used by the owner of the goods for at least 6 months prior to importation.
  • The owner of the goods lived abroad for a minimum of 12 months.
  • If the owner of the goods lived abroad for a period greater than 5 years, the owner of the goods is exempt from the 6-month ownership rule.
  • The goods must still be owned and used and the shipment does not include goods that are for resale or otherwise disposed of within 12 months of importation.
  • Shipments must be declared to Customs at the port of entry (POE) (airport/U.S-Canada border) when the owner of the goods arrives in Canada.
  • Customs will then issue documents needed for Customs clearance:
  • B4e personal effects accounting document
  • B15 casual goods accounting document.
  • The owner of the goods must present a list of items to be imported.
  • It is recommended that a copy of the removal packing list / moving inventory be hand carried for presentation to Customs.
  • Customs may request a value on the shipment (returning citizens).
  • For immigrants and holders of work / students visas, the goods must be owned and used prior to importation and the shipment must not include goods that are to be sold or otherwise disposed of 12 months after importation for duty-free import.
  • Any single item of household goods or personal effects, including automobiles, that were acquired after March 31, 1977, and are valued at more than $10,000 are subject to regular duty and taxes on the excess amount.
  • Seasonal residents may import household items and personal effects duty free under the following conditions:
  • The shipment can include household furniture and furnishings for a seasonal residence, excluding construction, materials, electrical fixtures or other goods permanently attached to or incorporated into a seasonal residence and tools and equipment for the maintenance of a seasonal residence.
  • The goods must have been owned and used prior to arrival.
  • The goods cannot be sold for at least 1 year.
  • The goods are for the personal use of the owner of the goods or their family and are not for any commercial, industrial or occupational purpose.
  • Proof of purchase or a copy of a lease agreement is required for any person who is not a resident of Canada but owns a residential property or has leased a residence for at least 3 years for personal use.
  • Only one shipment of this type is allowed.
  • The copy of the will or letter from the executor of an estate must state that the owner of the goods is the beneficiary of the named items for duty-free import (duty-free inheritances).
  • Diplomats can import household goods and personal effects duty and tax free.
  • The Canadian Government adopted ISPM-15 (International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures Publication 15) Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging Material in International Trade (aka NIFM-15) to standardize the treatment of wood packing materials used for the transport of goods.
  • ISPM -15 requires that wood packaging either be heat-treated or fumigated with methyl bromide and marked with the internationally recognized International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) mark, or in lieu of the mark, the consignment must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate specifying the treatment used.

Popular Destinations in Canada

Global Moving Services is vastly experience in international removals to cities all over the globe. Their long history and detailed knowledge of different countries makes them the perfect choice for your move. Here are some of the most popular destinations we are asked to move people to in Canada:

Calgary (Alberta), Edmonton (Alberta), Vancouver (British Columbia), Surrey (British Columbia), Winnipeg (Manitoba), Saint John (New Brunswick), St. John’s (Newfoundland and Labrador), Halifax (Nova Scotia), Toronto (Ontario), Ottawa (Ontario), Mississauga (Ontario), Brampton (Ontario), Hamilton (Ontario), London (Ontario), Markham (Ontario), Montreal (Quebec), Québec (Quebec), Laval (Quebec), Saskatoon (Saskatchewan), Regina (Saskatchewan). Get a quote to one of these places

Need Help?

If you are unsure about what you need, one of our international move managers is always willing to help. Just call us on +44 121 392 1720, or fill out an international removal enquiry, and we’ll ease you through the process.

Moving Your Money

If you’re moving to Canada, it’s very likely you’ll have to exchange a large amount of currency. Many people waste thousands doing this through their bank as they think there is no alternative; but we partner with Global Reach who specialise in doing just this. Global Reach will offer all Global Moving Services customers preferential rates when exchanging currency and guarantee to beat other rates you’re receiving. Ask one of our move managers about this, to find out more click here or give us a call: +44 121 392 1720.

Get Insurance

We always advise taking out an insurance policy with us on every move. Although we like to think we’re the best in the industry, the odd accident can occasionally happen. For added peace of mind, make sure to speak to one of our move managers about this.

If you have already contracted us for your international removal to Canada, then you can download the insurance form and email the completed form back to your international relocation manager.

Moving Your Car Or Motorcycle

Below is a list of the documents you will need when planning to move your vehicle to Canada:

  • Original proof of ownership (can be sent with the vehicle)
  • OBL
  • Must pass Canadian safety and pollution standards test
  • Proof of insurance
  • Previous registration

Additional Import Advice

Additional Import Advice

  • The car must comply with Canadian standards.
  • All vehicles are inspected by the Canadian Agricultural Inspection Agency upon arrival into Canada.
  • The vehicle must be owned and used for more than 6 months in order to qualify for tax and duty relief.
  • For returning residents, a tax and duty exemption applied to the first $10,000 of the vehicle’s value.
  • Anything in excess of $10,000 will be charged applicable duty and taxes.
  • For work permit / student visa holders, duty and tax will be waived for the duration of the permit.
  • The vehicle will be imported on a temporary basis for the duration of the work permit / student visa must be re-exported upon departure from Canada.
  • All cars / motorbikes should be clean on arrival and free of any soil or containments.
  • It is recommended to include proof of cleaning (receipts) with the shipping documents.
  • Steam cleaning may be required.
  • The vehicle cannot contain household goods and personal effects items.
  • Motor vehicles imported into Canada cannot be licensed in Canada unless cleared through Canadian Customs.

Relocating Your Pets to Canada

These documents will be required when planning to relocate your pet to Canada:

  • Veterinary health certificate
  • Vaccination record

Additional Import Advice

  • The veterinary health record certificate must identify the animal by breed, age, gender and color.
  • Check with agent for specific information prior to import.
  • Antiques, Artifacts, Carpets, Paintings
  • No documents are required if the items are part of the household effects shipment.
  • Proof of age will be required if item is over 100 years old.
  • The items are permitted duty-free entry if the following conditions are met:
  • The works of art are part of a bona fide household removal.
  • The works of art are not for sale or other disposal.
  • Antiques and works or art imported into Canada for resale, are subject to different regulations.
Restricted & Dutiable/Taxable Items

Think very carefully before moving these items to Canada. Items on this list will be taxed and/or require specific permission to import. In all cases they must be declared prior to you relocating to Canada:

  • Alcohol (a detailed list including type, size, and quantity is required and an import permit must be obtained prior to importation; duties and taxes apply)
    • Import permit must be obtained from the Provincial Liquor Control Board.
  • Do not ship wine between October 1 and March 31 to avoid the possibility of freezing.
  • Tobacco products are subject to duties and taxes.
  • Foodstuffs can cause extensive delays / additional charges (importation is discouraged)
  • Meat (authorization is required; importation is discouraged)
  • New items (a bill of sale may be required by Customs)
  • Hunting trophies (restrictions apply, especially for endangered species; a CITES Certificate may be required; check with agent before shipping).
  • Firearms (strict regulations apply; check with agent for details)
  • Any one item valued at $10,000 or over is subject to duties and taxes.
  • Pornographic materials
Prohibited/Banned Items
Do not move any of these items to Canada:
  • Live plants
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Live ammunition and explosives
  • Narcotics, drugs, incitements
  • The following additional items are prohibited in GMS Baggage/Courier Consignments:
    • Aerosols (all kinds, Hairspray, Deodorant etc)
    • Aftershaves / Perfumes / Fragrances
    • Airbags
    • Alcoholic Drinks or Bottles
    • Ammunition of any kind
    • Animals of any kind (Dead or Alive)
    • Any items containing Petrol (Liquid, Gas or Fumes)
    • Biological Samples
    • Car Batteries
    • Cash & Cards (Credit / Debit)
    • Chainsaws
    • Cheques (Bank)
    • Christmas Crackers
    • Counterfeit Currency
    • Dangerous Goods
    • Driving Licence
    • Drugs (Including Prescription)
    • Engines
    • Excrement / Filth
    • Fire Extinguishers
    • Fish (Dead or Live)
    • Foodstuffs (all kinds)
    • Hazardous Goods
    • Human Remains (including ashes)
    • Infectious Substances
    • Knives
    • Laptop Computers, Mobile/Smart Phones or Tablets
    • Lighters
    • Lottery Tickets
    • Nail Varnish / Nail Varnish Remover
    • Oils
    • Paints
    • Passports
    • Perishable Goods (All)
    • Plants / Seeds etc
    • Printer Toner
    • Seatbelt Tensioners and Steering Wheels
    • Stamps
    • Tobacco
    • Water
    • Weapons (all kinds, including replicas)
    • Windscreens

Disclaimer: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This information is provided as a guide only. While Global Moving Services has exercised reasonable care in publishing this information, Global Moving Services makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.