Commercial Carrier and Freight Forwarder Identification and Eligibility

Marine Carrier Code Application Process

Who are carrier codes issued to?

For the purpose of assessing carrier code eligibility, the CBSA defines a carrier as a person involved in international commercial transportation who operates a conveyance used to transport specified goods to and from Canada. To operate a conveyance means to have legal custody and control of the conveyance.

The CBSA issues one carrier code per mode per legal entity. Should subsidiary companies be separate legal entities from parent companies, each subsidiary company can apply for a carrier code.

What are the requirements?

A marine carrier is required to:

  1. Obtain a valid CBSA carrier code using application form BSF 329-4.
  2. Register for reporting purposes (ACI program) using the Advance Commercial Information application form BSF-691.

The CBSA recommends that applicants submit both forms together in order to reduce the length of the application process.

Please forward your inquiries about the ACI application form and the process to

IMPORTANT:  Failure to submit or properly complete form BSF-691 will not impact your marine carrier code application.



  • Form BSF 329-4 (including acceptable signature and vessel listing)
  • Company Ownership documents, if required (photocopy)
  • Marine Carrier Attestation
  • Form BSF-691 (optional but recommended)


  • Form BSF 329-4 (including acceptable signature and vessel listing)
  • Company Ownership documents, if required (photocopy)
  • Marine Carrier Attestation
  • Original D120 Customs Bond (must be free of errors and match the information provided on the application – errors will result in the rejection of application and bond)
  • Form BSF-691 (optional but recommended)


E-mail: (only one complete application per e-mail)

Canada Border Services Agency
Commercial Registration Unit
191 Laurier Avenue West, 12th Floor
Ottawa, ON   K1A 0L8 Canada


Commercial Registration Unit
Telephone (toll-free): 1-866-749-6623
Telephone: 1-613-960-1702

How to complete the application

Full instructions are listed on the reverse side of Form BSF 329-4.

The following table contains explanations for fields that are often completed incorrectly.

Application to Transact Marine Operations with the CBSA — Form BSF329-4

  • Field 1 – Legal business name: This must match the name on the company ownership documents.

    Operating name: The name the company does business as (if different from the legal name). Leave it blank if the company does not have one.

  • Field 6 – Name and title of contact(s): A contact is an employee who is authorized to contact the CBSA on behalf of the company for this application or issues regarding the assigned carrier code in the future. It must be an employee of the company, NOT an agent.

    An e-mail must be provided for future correspondence.

  • Field 10 – IMO Unique Company and Registered Owner Identification Number

    The CBSA will accept this seven (7) digit number in lieu of proof of company ownership documents. If no number is provided, or if the data does not match the application, then documentation for Field 11must be submitted. See section "Proof of company ownership".

  • Field 12 - CRA Business Number (BN): The BN is a 9 digit business identifier used in Canada.

    Foreign entities are not required to obtain a BN. Leave this field blank if it does not apply to you.

  • Field 16 – Conveyance Listing: List some (at least one) of the vessels the company currently operates that may come to Canada and each vessel's IMO number (IMO+seven-digit number assigned when constructed)

  • Field 17 – Marine Overland Movement: Only needed for bonded carriers who will wish to forward freight in bond from a Canadian seaport(s) overland to a Canadian destination(s) for clearance or exportation without re-manifesting to a forwarding rail or highway carrier.

    List each port and warehouse code where the goods will be released:

    If you do not require marine overland, leave this section blank.

  • Fields 18-22 - Bonded or Non-Bonded?

    Bonded carriers are permitted to transport in-bond goods between points in Canada (e.g. to an inland destination for examination and/or release or to subsequent ports of call).

    The CBSA strongly recommends that marine carriers apply for a bonded carrier code, which is needed to move unreleased goods beyond the first port of arrival (FPOA), including emergency stops, inspections, and any other occasion when the FPOA is changed. If a bonded carrier code is not obtained and a bonded movement is required, the carrier will not be allowed to move until a bond has been submitted along with a bonded status change application.

    Bonded applicants must submit a Security Deposit with the CBSA in the form of a Customs Bond - Form D120 - or other method as listed in Customs Memorandum D1-7-1. Pages 4-6 include additional instructions on this process.

    For Bonded Applications Only - The original bond, plus the application form and supporting documents must be mailed to the CBSA - Photocopies of the bond are not accepted.

  • Field 23 - Signature: Signature must be from CEO, CFO, President, Vice President, Executive Director, Director, Owner, Partner, Secretary Treasurer, or anyone within the corporation who has the authority and power to represent and legally bind a party to a written agreement. In the case of a sole proprietor, only the owner may sign.

    If the signatory possesses signing authority as defined above, but does not hold one of the acceptable titles, proof must be submitted.

  • Field 24 - Third Party Consent: A representative who acts on behalf of the applicant regarding application matters, NOT an agent for cargo/conveyance reporting.

Proof of company ownership (photocopy) if required

Please provide documents for applicant company:

  • Corporation: Articles of incorporation, business registration documents

  • Partnership: Certificate of formation, master business license

  • Sole proprietorships: A photocopy of government issued photo ID

  • Supporting documents being submitted from outside Canada: The supporting document must be translated into either English or French and certified as to the authenticity of translation by the certified translator.

    • A copy of the original documents (requiring translation) is to be notarized by a locally recognized lawyer or commissioner of oaths.
    • Both documents must be submitted.

Processing and Approval Information

Upon receipt of a properly completed application (including proof of ownership documents if required), an applicant should expect to receive a carrier code within 3 business days. Errors in submission will cause delays as additional information and steps will be required. The CBSA will issue the carrier code to the email address indicated on the application. If no email address is provided, the information will be sent via fax or regular mail.

Customs Bond Instructions (For Bonded Applications Only)

The original bond, plus the application forms and supporting documents must be mailed to the CBSA. Photocopies are not accepted. White-out and handwritten corrections are NOT acceptable. Erroneous bonds will be returned to the client unless they instruct us to send it to their third-party representative. Please note that the information on the bond must match the information on the carrier code application or both may be rejected.

For a Customs Bond, Form D120 must be completed by the surety company securing the bond. The surety company must fall under one of the following categories:

The following step-by-step instructions should be used to review your Customs Bond prior to submission to the CBSA.

  • Section 1
    • Activity to be secured: Bonded Marine Carrier Operations
    • Relevant legislative authority: Transportation of goods regulations
    • Bond amount: $25,000
  • Section 3 - To perform bonded carrier operations, the Customs Bond must be a continuous bond or a bond for a specified period. If a bond for a specified period is submitted, the bonded carrier code will expire upon the date of termination of the Customs Bond.
  • Section 4 - All CBSA Offices in Canada
  • Section 7 - For principal/applicant
    • Principal name – must match the name on the company ownership documents and the application (Form BSF 329-4)
    • Address – must match the address on the application
    • Business number – Canadian companies must provide a CRA-assigned 9 digit identifier
      • Foreign companies can leave this blank
    • Signature must be from the Owner, President, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Executive Director or a similar highest ranking official.
      • In the case of a sole proprietor, only the owner may sign.
      • For a partnership, the signatures of two partners are required
    • Secretary Treasurer's signature is no longer required. However, a witness has to sign Section 8. (See Section 8 - witness)
    • Embossed seal of the principal (applicant)
      • Please note that the CBSA no longer requires corporate seals or notarization for the bond principal. Form D120 and Customs Memorandum D1-7-1 are being updated to reflect this change.
  • Section 7 - Surety
    • Surety company signatures – D120 must be signed by the surety company
    • Embossed seal of surety company
      • Rubber stamps are NOT acceptable.
      • Characters on the seal have to be in English or French. Other languages are not acceptable.
      • If the surety company does not include an acceptable corporate seal, a commissioner of oath, notary public or lawyer must witness the signature(s) of the surety's authorized representative(s).
      • If a witness for the surety is required, the witness must sign in an area other than in Section 8, which is reserved for the principal. The witness must include his or her seal, stamp, or license number.
  • Section 8 (witness)
    • This section is for witnessing the principal's signature.
      • A witness has to sign for the principal. The witness does not need to be a notary public, lawyer, or commissioner.
      • A witness for the surety, if required, must sign elsewhere on the document (See Section 7).
  • Section 9 (date) - State the date the bond was signed and sealed.

Use of Power of Attorney to Apply to Transact Carrier Operations with the CBSA

The CBSA will accept a Power of Attorney which allows the Principal to appoint an attorney to act on their behalf while applying for a carrier code and associated bond with the CBSA.

Reference Materials

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