Special Note to Atlas Agents and Customers

Although the formal clearance of a household goods shipment is done in person at a Canada Customs facility in or near the destination city, Canada Customs at border entry points have recently started requesting that the moving company Van Operator present a copy of the passport and work visa for the owner of the goods.

However, the mover is still not permitted to deliver your personal possessions to your new home until the owner of the goods meets the Atlas Van Operator at the Canada Customs's facility closest to your final destination to personally clear your shipment. You cannot assign a third party to clear on your behalf.

When your shipment arrives in Canada, your Atlas driver will contact you to advise where to meet in order to clear your shipment. You will need to bring the following documentation:

Returning Canadian Residents

  • Passport for each family member
  • Proof of length of time away from Canada (lease documents, pay stubs, etc.)
  • Detailed inventory listing of goods including their value (in duplicate)
  • Purchase receipts for goods acquired while out of the country


  • Passport for each family member
  • Work Visa
  • Marriage Certificate for spouse
  • Work or Study Visa
  • Employer Letter or Offer of Employment
  • Detailed inventory listing of goods including their value (in duplicate)

Seasonal Residents

  • Passport 
  • Proof of ownership or lease of seasonal property
  • Detailed inventory listing of goods including their value (in duplicate)
  • Proof of US residence

Duty or Taxes

In the event that there is any duty, fees or taxes owing to Canada Customs, you will be required to pay before the goods are released for delivery. Cheques, cash, Visa or MasterCard are accepted.  Returning Canadian residents will be required to pay duty/taxes on any single item purchased in the U.S. with a value of $10,000 or more (including an automobile).

Importing Alcohol

Please note that alcoholic beverages cannot be transported on the moving van.

Importing Contents of Bar or Wine Collection

If you intend to import the contents of a bar or wine collection, you must contact the appropriate Canadian provincial or territorial Liquor Control Board authority before you ship these items as the duties and taxes must be paid in advance. To obtain release of the shipment in Canada, you must produce proof that these duties and taxes have been paid.

Importing Motor Vehicles to Canada

To be eligible for importation, personal motor vehicles must comply with Canadian safety and emission standards. Vehicles older than 15 years may be imported temporarily under a special provision.

To import your vehicle to Canada, you need to contact the "Registrar of Imported Vehicles" (RIV) in Canada at 1-888-848-8240 (US and Canada).

You will need to provide RIV with the year, make, model and vehicle identification number to determine if your vehicle is eligible for importation into Canada. RIV's web site has step-by-step instructions, fees, and a list of vehicles that can be modified to Canadian standards.

In addition to the certification from RIV, you will also need to produce your title documents (ownership certificate), sales receipts, registration and proof of insurance documentation.

Note: If you are going to be in Canada for 36 months or less you are exempt from the RIV certification but you must notify US Customs on the export of your vehicle(s). See below for more details.

You must also notify US Customs about the export of your vehicle. A copy of your title of ownership must be forwarded to US Customs a minimum of 3 business days prior to the vehicle arriving at the border crossing. If you are hiring a moving company to ship your vehicle instead of driving it across the border, discuss this with your representative from the moving company. Complete details about this procedure can be found here.

Importing Firearms into Canada

Canada has very strict laws regarding firearms.  All gun owners living in Canada must obtain a firearms "Possession and Acquisition" (PAL) licence. If you are moving to Canada and plan to import any firearms, you need to be aware of the regulations and procedures that are in place.

You will need documentation to prove that you are entitled to possess a firearm and obtain prior permission to transport it. When you arrive in Canada, you must declare all firearms and weapons to Canada Customs. If you do not declare them, they can be seized and you could face criminal charges. 

Returning Canadians with firearms that were previously acquired in Canada must provide proof to Customs that the firearms were exported and are now being re-imported.

Prohibited and Restricted Firearms:

  • Semi-automatic weapons
  • Automatic weapons
  • Combat shotguns
  • Assault rifles
  • Carbines
  • Explosives, ammunition

For More Information Contact:

Canadian Firearms Centre
Email: cfp-pcaf@rcmp-grc.gc.ca
Website: www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/import/

Moving Pets to Canada

Dogs over eight months of age and cats over three months of age must have a current rabbies vaccination (within 36 months prior to entering Canada) and the vaccination certificate must accompany the animal.

For more Information on Animal Importation Contact:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Website: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/animals/

Useful Contacts

Customs Contact Informations

Canada Border Services Agency
1-800-461-9999 or 506-636-5064
Email: contact@cbsa.gc.ca
Website: www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca

Immigration and Visa Information

Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Website: www.cic.gc.ca

Motor Vehicle Importation

Registrar of Imported Vehicles
Email: support@support.riv.ca
Website: www.riv.ca

For a list of Canadian Consulate or Embassy offices in the U.S, go to Foreign Affair's website.

We hope you have found this information helpful. If you have any questions please feel free to contact:
Atlas Van Lines Canada

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