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How to apply for an Advance Ruling

What is it?
An advance ruling is a legally binding designation of the classification of goods for the purpose of assigning tariffs. Advance rulings are issued by CBSA under the Customs Act and serve to provide clarity by confirming a good’s tariff classification number under the Canadian Customs Tariff.
Who can apply for it?
The following persons may apply for an advance tariff classification ruling from the CBSA:
  • An importer in Canada
  • A non-resident exporter
  • A non-resident producer
  • A person who is authorized to account for the imported goods (such as a customs lawyer or broker).
What are the benefits?
Tariff classification can be very complex for some goods. The advance ruling ensures that the tariff classification number used is deemed correct by the CBSA. The ruling is binding with no expiry date but may be revoked or amended by CBSA.
The advance ruling provides certainty as to how goods are to be classified and thereby facilitates the documentation requirements for clearing goods at the border.
How do you apply for it?
There is no standard form to complete; the request may take the form of a letter and must include the following information:
  • your name and address
  • your business number (if applicable)
  • a statement that you are the importer, exporter, producer or authorized representative
  • the name and telephone number of a contact person who has full knowledge of the request
  • the principal ports of entry through which the goods will be imported
  • a statement noting whether the item is, or has been, the subject of a verification of tariff classification, an administrative review or appeal, a judicial or quasi-judicial review, request for a national customs ruling or other advice, or a request for an advance ruling
  • whether the goods have previously been imported into Canada
  • a full description of the goods, including trade names, or their commercial, common or technical designation
  • the composition of the goods
  • the process by which the goods are manufactured
  • a description of the packaging
  • the anticipated use of the goods
  • the manufacturer’s product literature
  • drawings and/or photographs
  • schematics
  • the tariff classification you consider appropriate and your rationale.
You may also provide any evidence that you feel is relevant, including experts’ reports, test results, testimonials, U.S. classification rulings, information from government standards bodies, information from other government bodies who enforce laws governing the goods, statements from the manufacturer, etc.
How long does it take?
As a general rule, the CBSA processes the advance tariff classification ruling request within 120 calendar days. If additional information is required, the CBSA will notify you in writing, and you will be given a period of 30 calendar days to provide the required information.
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Information provided by: Canadian Customs Consulting Dept. - Cole International
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