How and Why You Should Ship to Canada Via US Address

Diana Zheng
July 4, 2022

Retailers from all over the world purchase their products from the United States. It’s no trade secret that there are certain advantages to buying your goods from the country. Canada, as the neighbor to the north, enjoys a bustling trade deal with the US. Canadian retailers even have the easy option to ship to Canada via US address

The North American Free Trade Agreement created prosperous trade links between the three countries. Data even shows that Canadian imports from the US in 2019 alone almost totaled about $200 billion. Suffice to say, importing from the US is a significant part of the Canadian economy. Logistics companies have been connecting the two countries since the conception of the trade agreement. 

Canadian retailers are also a big part of this healthy economy. They purchase goods from the US for distribution in the North. There are many methods retailers use, but this article will be detailing how to ship goods to Canada using a US address. 

Research and Prep Work

Sellers and merchants definitely know the importance of researching their next business venture. Finding suppliers from outside the country is a long and tedious process. Once they have nailed down prospective stores to buy from, the logistics work is next in line. Unfortunately, a lot of time can be consumed with just finding the right shipping options for every merchant. But in this article, the process has been somewhat simplified to the basic terms and steps. 

Step 1. Visit the Canada Revenue Agency

Before anything else, this agency should be at the top of your list if you haven’t yet. Like any legal business, all types of merchants should register with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The CRA is where you can file your taxes if you live in the country or its territories. It is crucial to be in touch with the CRA not only for legal purposes but also because it is the agency in charge of distributing benefits to the citizens. 

The CRA will issue you with a tax number that will be similar to a permit you can use to operate your business. The agency’s online website will be a great help too when you are calculating your taxes later on. 

Step 2. Know the Requirements of Shipping Products from Canada to US and Vice Versa 

There are many things you need to know about shipping products to the US from Canada. The first thing you have to note is the number of products you are going to transport. According to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) guidelines based on the NAFTA: 

  • Goods amounting to $800 or less is considered an informal entry and is free of customs fees;
  • While goods more than $800 are subject to customs fees as formal entry products.

For an informal entry, the CBP asks to present a commercial invoice and a Certificate of Origin from NAFTA. A formal entry would need more documents. Preparing an Importer ID Number, Bill of Lading, and HS Code in addition to the documents for an informal entry is needed. 

Exporters should also remember that formal entries cost money, and it’s better to contact customs beforehand to avoid problems on that end. There are specific fees for various reasons, and they may need to pay for a customs broker too. 

For product resellers in Canada, different guidelines may apply when importing. It is easy to access the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) online. Paying the website a visit is highly recommended for merchants who plan on importing goods. All the information on what kind of goods could be imported, the processes, and other key details are laid out on the website. The agency has funneled the particulars in importing and exporting into one page, so it is easily understandable. 

A pro-tip when importing to Canada is to check the list of allowed import goods. Every country has a list like this. Ensure that your products will go through customs breezily and check it beforehand. 

Step 3. How to Ship from US to Canada

As a Canadian distributor of US products, you might have a few concerns. First among these is probably how to find a courier service that is reliable and not so costly. When looking for cheap shipping to the USA from Canada, distributors should have a few things to consider before jumping on a logistics company

Set your expectations about the time period you allot for shipping. Canada to US shipping time or the other way around varies due to many factors. There is no specific time frame for the customs agency to clear your goods for entry. This can take as soon as four days to as long as 12 days or more. Prepare yourself for the waiting game that is going to happen. Make sure to book your clients’ orders when you have the products on hand so they won’t wait for a long time. 

The type of transport service you choose will also factor in on the time before your goods reach you. Courier services are the lifeblood of distributors and resellers. Choosing a logistics company that works with trusted couriers is your best move. 

Step 4. Ship to Canada Via US Address 

There are products that are not available internationally. As a reseller, your best bet is to buy them using a US Address. If you have relatives or friends who can help you out, that’s great! You can have them deliver the products to their addresses and let them send them to you up north.

However, if you don’t have anyone you can ask for a favor in the US, there are companies who help you purchase from abroad using a local address. They will receive your goods and have them delivered to you. They’ll even help you with other bumps like stores not accepting foreign cards. Get in touch with them and start your business! 

Points to Remember

Starting your business far from your suppliers is going to be tricky. Do enough research and give yourself some time to have a grasp on things. Like everything in life, figuring out the logistics of shipping your goods has a learning curve you’ll go through. 

There are many factors and agencies to consider, so organize everything, most importantly the documents you need. Expect a little setback due to customs fees and include that in your expense calculations. 

Lastly, don’t rush your decisions, and remember to find a shipping partner you can trust. If you are still confused, consider us here at Stallion Express. We’ll help transport your success! 

Written by Diana Zheng

Diana leads the growth marketing initiatives at Shippsy. She is obsessed with providing Canadian shoppers with easy access to all U.S. brands. You can catch her doing yoga or hitting the tennis courts in her spare time.

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