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Shipping Personal Effects From Canada

icontainers_news_1a50488895.svgLogística & Envíos
Updated on 28 Dec 2023
5 min read
Ocean FCL
Ocean LCL
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Moving from Canada to the US? It’s a pretty straightforward process, granted that you have all of your paperwork in order and you’ve hired the best out of all the moving companies. Of course, it can be a challenge to find the official guidelines for what is needed to cross once you arrive at the border—and what isn’t allowed across.

If you’re looking into shipping your personal effects from Canada to the USA, we’ve got everything you need to know. Keep reading.

Shipping your personal Belongings from Canada to the USA

First thing’s first—Customs rules and regulations. Like most countries, US customs forms are very strict when it comes to what’s allowed in the country as well as what’s duty and tax-free. Getting acquainted with US customs rules and regulations should be your number one priority to ensure that all of your personal items make it over the border.

The documents and paperwork you need to make your cross border moving possible are as follows:

  • Your valid and up-to-date Canadian passport
  • An approved visa for work and/or immigration allowing your residency in the US
  • A completed and signed form 3299
  • A completed and signed HS7 form for each vehicle you plan to bring
  • A valid I-94 record (Custom Border Patrol—CBP—will create this document once you cross the border. If they don’t give you a copy, you should be able to access it electronically)
  • A full and detailed inventory list that reflects all household goods and personal items being transported across the border. This list should include the value of each item and its coordinating box so that it can easily be found by CBP if necessary.

It is recommended by CBP that you arrive before your shipment of personal items and household goods to ensure that all the necessary paperwork is processed ahead of time. In case you are a returning US resident, you may have to show your previous documents or others in addition.

Household Goods and Personal Items

Household goods and personal items are typically allowed to enter the US duty and tax-free (import duty free), as long as the items in question have been owned for up to at least one year prior to moving.

Proof of ownership along with the date of purchase may be required for certain items. So, you may want to rethink purchasing anything for your new home prior to moving as household goods such as appliances will be subject to duty and tax upon border crossing.

In terms of transporting antiques, you’ll want to have their value appraised beforehand. Anything under 100 years old may be subject to duty and tax, yet it is up to the discretion of the Customs And Border Protection agent whether or not to charge you, in case you have to, pay duties.


Transporting pets over the Canadian-US border is fairly simple. If you’re bringing along a dog or cat over three months of age, you will have to provide proof of their rabies vaccinations. You’ll also have to provide a recent certificate of health from your veterinarian.

As far as birds and most reptiles go, please note there may be a necessary period of quarantine before they can arrive at their new home.

Alcohol and Medication

Moving companies will not transport liquor, beer, or wine along with your household goods and personal items. The same goes for any narcotics, illicit drugs, and medications.

As far as prescription medications are concerned, as long as they are clearly labeled in their original bottles with a note from your doctor, you should have no issues having them on your person while crossing the border. In fact, you’re allowed to bring up to a six-month supply and have your Canadian pharmacy ship them to you.

Alcohol may be shipped via a third party as well. However, wine or liquor collections are subject to state taxes which also vary by state. In case you need more info about prohibited ans restricted items.

Vehicles and Motorcycles

Any type of motorized vehicle that’s less than 25 years in age must meet the US Department of Transportation (DOT) safety and EPA standards to be accepted into the country. You must obtain** a compliance letter** written by the manufacturer—not dealership—with a statement declaring that the vehicle or vehicles in question meet all the FMVSS standards.

If you are unable to obtain a compliance letter, then you’ll have to use a “Registered Services” importer to determine whether or not your car or motorcycle meets (or can be modified) to meet the US safety and EPA standards. You’ll also have to complete an EPA Form 3520-1 per vehicle in addition to a compliance letter.

If you’re shipping personal belongings from Canada to the US and the total of those belongings weigh less than 15,000 pounds, you may want to look into LTL shipping. Contact us today to see how our team of experienced and professional international movers can help you ship your household goods and personal belongings across the Canadian-US border.

Shipping personal effects from the USA to Canada? Read this first.

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