Canada Border Services Agency
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The Customs Bonded Warehouse Program

Importing to a customs bonded warehouse

A customs bonded warehouse is a facility operated by the private sector but regulated by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Through the Customs Bonded Warehouse Program, you may qualify for a complete deferral of customs, anti-dumping and countervailing duties and excise duties and taxes, including the goods and services tax and the harmonized sales tax. You only pay duties and taxes on the portion of goods entering the Canadian market. If you export goods, you don’t have to pay any duties. While the goods are in the warehouse, they may undergo certain minor manipulations such as marking, labelling, testing, inspection, packaging, display, dilution, normal servicing and maintenance, grading, shorting, trimming, slitting or cutting and repackaging. You may contact your local CBSA office for details.

This can help your business if one of the following applies:

  • you import goods into Canada for storage or minor manipulation;
  • you consolidate imported and domestic goods for export or Canadian consumption;
  • you import goods for display at conventions, exhibitions or trade shows and you export the goods after the event; and
  • you are involved in facilitating the movement of goods into and out of the North American marketplace.

Applying to operate a customs bonded warehouse

To apply to become a customs bonded warehouse operator, complete Form E401, Application for a Licence to Operate a Customs Bonded Warehouse. You can get a copy of the form from your local CBSA office. The CBSA will review your application and schedule a visit to review the proposed site and your record-keeping system. As soon as the CBSA approves your application, you will be issued a unique customs bonded warehouse licence number.

Both residents and non-residents can apply to operate a customs bonded warehouse. You also have the option of contacting an existing warehouse operator to use his or her facility to take advantage of this program.


The CBSA requires security in the amount of 60% of the total value of the maximum amount of duties and taxes that would be payable at any time in the year following the issuance of the licence in respect of the goods stored in the Customs Bonded Warehouse in that year.

Time limits

In most cases, you have to remove the goods you import under the Customs Bonded Warehouse Program within four years of the date they entered Canada. There are provisions for extending this time limit if the CBSA agrees that it is necessary.


From time to time, the CBSA will check if the imported goods have been removed from the warehouse and properly documented and accounted for. However, it is your responsibility to properly control all goods and immediately report any non-compliance.

More information

For more information on the Customs Bonded Warehouse Program or to get an application form, contact your local CBSA office.

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