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The truth about bringing guitars in from the U.S.

8746 Views 46 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  elindso
This question was raised that we as Canadians do not have to pay duty on U.S. goods because of the Free Trade Agreement know the facts before you have anything shipped in from the U.S.
Fact Sheet
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May 2006

Visiting friends or relatives outside Canada? Proper planning can help ensure you have a worry-free cross-border trip. Whether you've been gone for only a few hours, or for several days, returning to Canada means a stop at a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) office. Here are a few tips to get you on your way.

Bring Identification
Make sure you carry the proper identification for yourself and any children travelling with you, including any documents the country you intend to visit requires, such as passports, birth certificates, and visas. Proper identification includes birth certificates, baptismal certificates, passports, citizenship cards, records of landing, permanent resident cards and certificates of Indian status. These will help prove your citizenship and residency when you return to Canada.

Travelling with Children
Our officers watch for missing children and may ask detailed questions about the children who are travelling with you. If you have legal custody of the child(ren) or if you share custody, have copies of relevant legal documents, such as custody rights. If you are not the custodial parent or not the parent or legal guardian of the child(ren), carry a letter of permission or authorization for you to have custody when entering Canada. A letter would also facilitate entry for any one parent travelling with their child(ren). This permission should contain contact telephone numbers for the parent or legal guardian. If you are travelling as part of a group of vehicles, be sure that you are in the same vehicle as your child(ren) when you arrive at the border.

Check Border Wait Times
Check our border wait times () for the latest waiting time of the border crossing along your route. Border wait times are updated every hour.

What can I bring back with me?
When you return to Canada, you may qualify for a personal exemption. Personal exemptions allow you to bring goods of a certain value into the country without paying the regular duties. If you have been outside Canada for:

24 hours or more, you can bring in CAN$50 worth of goods free of duty and tax;
48 hours or more, you can bring in CAN$200 worth of goods free of duty and tax;
7 days or more, you can bring in CAN$750 worth of goods free of duty and tax.
Alcohol and Tobacco - Restrictions apply to the amount of alcohol and tobacco you can bring into Canada under your exemption. If you have been outside Canada for at least 48 hours and are of legal age, you can bring in these amounts of alcohol and tobacco products free of duty and tax as part of your personal exemption:

Alcoholic beverages:

1.14 L (40 oz.) of liquor; or
1.5 L of wine; or
24 X 355 ml (12 oz.) containers of beer.
Tobacco products (all of the following):

200 cigarettes;
50 cigars or cigarillos;
200 tobacco sticks; and
200 g (7 oz.) of manufactured tobacco.
If you bring in more than the free allowance of alcohol or tobacco, you will be required to pay the applicable duties and taxes.

As of October 1, 2001, if you include cigarettes, tobacco sticks, or loose tobacco in your personal exemption allowance, only a partial exemption will apply. You will have to pay a minimum duty on these products unless they are marked "CANADA - DUTY PAID - DROIT ACQUITTÉ." You will find Canadian-made products sold at a duty-free shop marked this way. You can speed up your clearance by having your tobacco products available for inspection when you arrive.

What if I want to bring back more alcohol and tobacco?
Except for restricted items, you can bring back any amount of goods as long as you are willing to pay the duties and any provincial and territorial assessments that may apply.

Restricted items / Prohibited Items
Handguns and weapons like mace and pepper spray are prohibited from entering Canada. Also, some fruits, vegetables, meats and plants from other countries cannot be brought into Canada. Review our travellers’ frequently asked questions for more information.

What if I'm away for only a few hours?
If you don't qualify for a personal exemption, you can still bring back any amount of goods - except for restricted items - as long as you are willing to pay the duties and any provincial and territorial assessments that may apply.

Keep all your receipts handy
CBSA officers may ask you to show receipts for the goods you've purchased while out of the country. They may also ask to see your hotel receipts to verify the length of your stay outside Canada. Keeping these items all together and readily accessible will help to avoid unnecessary delays.

Make a full declaration
If you are not sure what to declare when you arrive in Canada, declare all items first and then discuss them with the officer.
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US shipping Gear

I've ordered two guitars and several necks from Warmoth and Ed Romans and have been fortunate to have had everthing arrive. Mail ordering is by far the cheapest route. Canadian retailers dont like us buying elsewhere but when you figure in the cost of travel especially if you dont live in a major metro centre, it makes a lot of sense. Havent tried an amp yet though........has anyone ordered large amps and how much was the shipping cost??
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