Customs Self Assessment Program

Approved Carriers

Table of Content

Participating carriers and registered drivers in the highway mode have the option of clearing CSA-eligible goods more quickly at the border once identification confirms that the importer, carrier and driver have been pre-approved.

With this streamlined clearance process, transactional transmissions of data related to eligible goods are no longer needed.


The CSA program provides many benefits to carriers:

  • it ends the transactional transmission of data elements;
  • it increases the certainty of expedited customs processing;
  • it makes it easier for carriers to meet their obligations; and
  • it streamlines the process for legitimate trade.

Application Process


Carriers eligible to apply to the CSA program must meet these requirements:

  • they are bonded ($25,000.00 and over);
  • they have a history of transporting goods to or from Canada for at least 90 days;
  • they do not have a history of contraband or major commercial infractions;
  • they are willing to be liable for and maintain control of all shipments, including CSA-approved shipments, until goods are released; and
  • they are willing to provide senior management authorization that proper commercial business processes and audit trails will support CSA program requirements.

Dispatch system – A key requirement

A dispatch system, be it manual or electronic, is a cornerstone of the CSA program. Only carriers that own and control their own dispatch system are eligible to apply. Applications from carriers who have contracted a third party or service provider to manage their dispatch system may be refused.

Carriers must demonstrate that they track and record all shipment details (pick-up location and date, delivery location and date, description of goods, etc.) and control all their shipments with an internally generated sequential trip/pro/control number that is assigned to a shipment the moment the order is booked.


There is a two-part application and approval process for carriers.

Part I – Risk assessment

Carriers will have to give detailed information such as the following:

  • a complete corporate structure and all relevant registration identifiers;
  • details about their business specialty, clients, equipment and drivers;
  • security measures for freight facilities and personnel policies;
  • terminal and warehouse locations; and
  • the location of all their divisions.

Part I carrier application: E647

Part II – Books, records and dispatch systems

Carriers will be asked to illustrate the following:

  • a demonstration of an international Canada-bound shipment;
  • their current business process for all shipments, starting from the order through to billing;
  • how they assign an internal control number for each order they accept;
  • detailed dispatch procedure and systems;
  • sample documents, descriptions and the appropriate linkages for each step in the shipping process;
  • how CSA-approved importers, drivers and eligible shipments will be identified in the systems,
  • their reporting system to trace all Canada-bound shipments, including CSA-approved shipments; and
  • the location of books and records.

Part II carrier application: E656

As a CSA-approved Carrier…


CSA reporting requirements support a streamlined border clearance process and vary by mode. CSA clearance is used to request the “authority to deliver” CSA-eligible commercial goods that are imported by a CSA-approved importer. A distinctive feature of the CSA environment is that cargo documents are not required to clear CSA-approved shipments. However, when requested by a border services officer, the reporting CSA-approved carrier must provide satisfactory evidence concerning the discharge of goods imported into Canada. The CSA-approved carrier is required to have the records, systems, audit trails and linkages in place to support the CSA process.

Carriers and importers participating in the CSA program have demonstrated to the CBSA that they are low-risk clients. Drivers must present the following bar codes at the primary inspection line (PIL) to a border services officer. The officer will scan the bar codes and they are validated by the CBSA system to authorize the shipment for CSA clearance and delivery:

Required information in approved bar-code format:

  • the CSA-approved carrier's identification — a four-character carrier code;
  • the CSA-approved importer's identification — a 15-digit business number; and
  • the registered driver's identification number — highway mode only.

CSA clearance facilitates the direct delivery of eligible goods to the importer, owner or consignee. For more information regarding the presentation of bar codes at the PIL, see Memorandum D3-1-7, Customs Self Assessment Program for Carriers.

Sealing requirements

Since CSA-approved carriers have been determined to be low risk and have proven internal control procedures, they are not required to seal the conveyance when moving goods inland. However, there may be occasions when sealing is required, for example when a carrier is moving high-risk goods or when a shipment has been selected for further examination by the CBSA.

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