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Attention Canadian importers! Drop this assumption and make shipping from Canada into the U.S. easier

As a Canadian importer moving goods into the U.S. and working with Cole International customs brokers, it's easy to assume if we clear it in Canada, we clear it in the U.S. too. Learn how dropping this one flawed assumption can keep your goods moving seamlessly. 

Who's clearing what?

Every so often, we observe Canadian importers shipping into the U.S. under the assumption that if Cole International clears their shipments into Canada, we automatically clear their shipments into the U.S., too. To be clear, this is an incorrect assumption—and one that could cost your company increased duty or worse, delays or holds on your goods. Canada_US__59016832_s

Consider it this way; making this assumption is not unlike assuming that since you have registered with the federal government to pay taxes this would automatically register you to pay taxes in your state or province. Cole International has customs brokers on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, meaning our brokers work from two unique countries, each with their own framework of rules and regulations. Because of this, the set-up process and documents required for cross-border imports in each country are very different.

Ultimately, this means even if your company has a relationship with Cole International and a Canadian account, if you are not specifically set up with a U.S. account as well, we will not be able to clear your shipment. If this happens, your goods will likely be turned around at the border and sent back to Canada.

Get clear on clearance

The good news is, once you set up a U.S. account with us, the clearance process for you as a Canadian Non-Resident Importer (NRI) becomes exactly the same as it would be for a U.S.-based importer. Essentially, the U.S. treats Canadian importers the same as U.S.-based importers.

After you’ve set up your U.S. account, the following steps are taken to get your goods cleared in the U.S.:

  • You send a copy of shipping documents, along with any required supporting documents (these vary greatly depending on the applicable commodity) to your U.S. Account Representative.
  • Your U.S. Account Representative takes your data and documentation and enters it into the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) system in order to secure a cargo release.
  • Once the cargo release is on file, the carrier can arrive at the border with the shipment.
  • The carrier would have manifested the cargo and referenced the same Shipment Control Number, listing Cole International U.S.A. on the entry. This allows the CBP to match the manifest and entry together.
  • The CBP then reviews the cargo release and determines whether a review or inspection is required.
  • Once the CBP is fully satisfied, they release the shipment and allow the goods into the U.S.

The more you know...

Does your company regularly import goods into the U.S.? Curious to learn more? Check out our other blogs on the topic to find all the details:

Chapter 1: Importing into the U.S. 

Chapter 2: Importing into the U.S.: Change is in the air

Chapter 3: Importing into the U.S.: Tools are available to save you time and money

Chapter 4: Importing into the U.S.: Know your responsibilities 

Chapter 5: Importing into the U.S.: Maximize your likelihood of success  

Part 1: U.S. Customs Compliance. It's important. What's involved?

Part 2: U.S. Customs Non-compliance. Penalties vary, but none of it is good for business

Top 15 Tips for Importing into the USA 

The help you need in the country you need it in

At Cole International, our customs brokers are ready to meet you on either side of the Canada-U.S. border. Our customs brokerage services include clearance for the many different types of customs clearance a company could need, from Temporary Imports to warehouse entries and beyond. An experienced Canadian customs broker can handle the details and make the import process easier. Partner with us today.

Importing. It's what we do.

Contact us today!

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