Travellers
Bring Goods Across the Border

Important Notice

Bringing cannabis (marijuana) and cannabis products across Canada's borders is a serious criminal offence. It will remain a serious criminal offence under the proposed Cannabis Act. For more information on the proposed legislation, consult Legalizing and strictly regulating cannabis: the facts.

When you return to Canada, you have to declare all of the goods you acquired while outside Canada, such as purchases, gifts, prizes or awards that you are bringing with you or are having shipped to you. Include goods that are still in your possession that you bought at a Canadian or foreign duty-free shop. As well, make sure you declare any repairs or alterations you made to your vehicle, vessel or aircraft while you were out of the country.

If you aren't sure if an article is admissible or should be declared, always declare it first and then ask the border services officer. Remember that officers are there to help you and will work out your personal exemption and any duty and taxes you owe in the way that benefits you most.

Personal exemption

Personal exemptions

You may qualify for a personal exemption when returning to Canada. This allows you to bring goods up to a certain value into the country without paying regular duty and taxes.

Are you eligible?

You are eligible for a personal exemption if you are one of the following:

  • a Canadian resident returning from a trip outside Canada;
  • a former resident of Canada returning to live in this country; or
  • a temporary resident of Canada returning from a trip outside Canada.

Children are also entitled to a personal exemption as long as the goods are for the child's use. Parents or guardians can make a declaration to the CBSA on behalf of the child.

What are your personal exemptions?

The length of your absence from Canada determines your eligibility for an exemption and the amount of goods you can bring back, without paying any duty and taxes. (The exception is a special excise duty that may apply to certain tobacco products. Refer to Tobacco Products section.)

Absence of less than 24 hours

  • Personal exemptions do not apply to same-day cross-border shoppers.

Absence of more than 24 hours

  • You can claim goods worth up to CAN$200.
  • Tobacco products and alcoholic beverages are not included in this exemption.
  • If the value of the goods you are bringing back exceeds CAN$200, you cannot claim this exemption. Instead, duty and taxes are applicable on the entire amount of the imported goods.
  • Goods must be in your possession and reported at time of entry to Canada.
  • A minimum absence of 24 hours from Canada is required. For example, if you left at 19:00 on Friday the 15th, you may return no earlier than 19:00 on Saturday the 16th to claim the exemption.

Absence of more than 48 hours

  • You can claim goods worth up to CAN$800.
  • You may include alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, within the prescribed limits. Refer to sections Tobacco Products and Alcoholic Beverages.
  • Goods must be in your possession and reported at time of entry to Canada.
  • If the value of the goods you are bringing back exceeds CAN$800, duties and taxes are applicable only on amount of the imported goods that exceeds CAN$800.
  • A minimum absence of 48 hours from Canada is required. For example, if you left at 19:00 on Friday the 15th, you may return no earlier than 19:00 on Sunday the 17th to claim the exemption.

Absence of more than 7 days

  • You can claim goods worth up to CAN$800.
  • You must have tobacco products and alcoholic beverages in your possession when you enter Canada, but other goods may follow you by other means (such as courier or by post). However, all of the goods you are bringing back must be reported to the CBSA when you arrive. See Unaccompanied Goods section.
  • A minimum absence of seven days is required. When calculating the number of days you have been absent, exclude the day you left Canada but include the day you returned. For example, we consider you to have been absent seven days if you left Canada on Friday the 7th and return no earlier than Friday the 14th to claim the exemption.

What conditions apply?

  • You cannot combine your personal exemptions with another person's or transfer them to someone else.
  • You cannot combine your personal exemptions. For example, if you are absent from Canada for 9 days total, you cannot combine your 48-hour exemption (CAN$800) with your 7-day exemption (CAN$800) for a total exemption of CAN$1,600.
  • In general, the goods you include in your personal exemption must be for your personal or household use. Such goods include souvenirs that you purchased, gifts that you received from friends or relatives living outside Canada or prizes that you won.
  • Goods you bring in for commercial use or for another person do not qualify for the exemption and are subject to applicable duties and taxes. In all cases, goods you include in your 24-hour exemption (CAN$200) or 48-hour exemption (CAN$800) must be with you upon your arrival in Canada.
  • Except for tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, goods you claim in your 7-day exemption (CAN$800) may be shipped to your home by mail, courier or other means of transportation.
  • You must always report the value of the goods you are importing in Canadian funds. Foreign currency amounts including any foreign taxes must be converted to Canadian dollars at the applicable exchange rate recognized by the CBSA.

For more information on personal exemptions, consult I Declare.

Alcohol and tobacco limits

Alcoholic beverages

Alcoholic beverages are products that exceed 0.5% alcohol by volume. Certain alcoholic and wine products that do not exceed 0.5% by volume are not considered alcoholic beverages.

If you have been away from Canada for 48 hours or more, you are allowed to import one of the following amounts of alcohol free of duty and taxes:

Product Metric Imperial Estimates
Wine Up to1.5 litres of wine Up to 53 fluid ounces Two 750 ml bottles of wine
Alcoholic beverages Up to 1.14 litres Up to 40 fluid ounces One large standard bottle of liquor
Beer or ale Up to 8.5 litres Up to 287 fluid ounces Approximately 24 cans or bottles (355 ml each) of beer or ale.

You must meet the minimum age of the province or territory where you enter Canada. Minimum ages are established by provincial or territorial authorities: 18 years for Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec and 19 years for the remaining provinces and territories.

The CBSA classifies "cooler" products according to the alcoholic beverage they contain. For example, beer coolers are considered to be beer and wine coolers are considered to be wine.

The quantities of alcoholic beverages you can import must be within the limit set by provincial and territorial liquor control authorities that apply where you will enter Canada. If the amount of alcohol you want to import exceeds your personal exemption, you will be required to pay the duty and taxes as well as any provincial or territorial levies that apply. Contact the appropriate provincial or territorial liquor control authority for more information before you return to Canada.

Tobacco products

You can speed up your clearance by having your tobacco products available for inspection when you arrive.

Whether they are stamped or unstamped, if you bring in tobacco products that exceed your personal exemption, you will be required to pay the regular duty and taxes as well as any provincial or territorial levies that apply on the excess amount.

Note: You must be 18 years of age to bring tobacco products into Canada under your personal exemption.

Stamped Tobacco Products – Personal exemption amounts

If you wish to import cigarettes, manufactured tobacco and tobacco sticks duty free as part of your personal exemption, the packages must be stamped "duty paid Canada droit acquitté". You will find tobacco products sold at duty-free stores marked this way.

If you have been away from Canada for 48 hours or more, you may import all of the following amounts of cigars and stamped tobacco into Canada free of duty and taxes.

Product Amount
Cigarettes 200 cigarettes
Cigars 50 cigars
Tobacco 200 grams (7 ounces) of manufactured tobacco
Tobacco sticks 200 tobacco sticks

Unstamped Tobacco Products – Special duties rate

A special duty rate applies to cigarettes, manufactured tobacco and tobacco sticks that are not stamped "duty paid Canada droit acquitté".

For example, if you claim a carton of 200 cigarettes as part of your personal exemption and it is not stamped "duty paid Canada droit acquitté", you will be assessed at a special duty rate.

Unstamped Tobacco Products – Import limits

In addition to your personal exemption amounts, there are limits on the quantity of tobacco products that may be imported if it is not packaged and not stamped "duty paid Canada droit acquitté". The limit is currently five units of tobacco products. One unit of tobacco products consists of one of the following:

Product Amount
Cigarettes 200 cigarettes
Cigars 50 cigars
Tobacco 200 grams (7 ounces) of manufactured tobacco
Tobacco sticks 200 tobacco sticks
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