Advance rulings for tariff classification

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To help the importing community determine the proper tariff classification of goods, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) publishes advance rulings.

These rulings, issued under paragraph 43.1(1)(c) of the Customs Act, provide information on the importation of particular goods, including their 10-digit tariff classification number under the Canadian Customs Tariff.

You can now apply for an Advance Ruling and a National Customs Ruling by email.

Benefits of an advance ruling

Tariff classification can be very complex for certain goods. The advance ruling ensures that the tariff classification number used is deemed correct by the CBSA. The ruling is binding until it is revoked or amended.

The advance ruling provides certainty to the importer, or his or her representative, as to how goods are to be classified and thereby facilitates the documentation requirements for clearing goods at the border.

Who may apply for an advance ruling

  1. importers of goods in Canada;
  2. persons who are authorized to account for goods under paragraph 32(6)(a) or subsection 32(7) of the Customs Act (the Act); and
  3. exporters or producers of those goods outside of Canada.

How to request an advance ruling

Drafting the request

To submit a request for an advance ruling on a product, you must write a letter, in English or French, that includes the following information:

If possible submit the following information:

A list of requirements is provided in Memorandum D11-11-3, Advance Rulings for Tariff Classification, Appendix A.

Submitting the request

Once you have drafted the letter, please ensure that it meets these requirements:

Each request should be limited to a single product; however, you may submit more than one request to the CBSA at a time.

What you can expect

Once the CBSA has received your request and all the necessary information, the standard processing time is within 120 calendar days. The CBSA aims to issue rulings within a shorter period.

If additional information is required, the CBSA will notify you in writing, and you will be given a period of 30 calendar days to provide the required information.

The CBSA will issue an advance ruling that will include the following:

Enter the advance ruling number on the following documents to ensure you benefit from the advance ruling at the time your goods are imported:

However, there are situations where the CBSA will not issue a ruling. For example:

If your request is not accepted, the CBSA will give you its reasons in writing.

Advance rulings are in effect from the date of issue as long as the ruling is not modified, cancelled or reversed.

Once the ruling is in effect, importers should apply advance rulings to all relevant importations.

Disputing an advance ruling

If you disagree with the classification number that is applied to your goods, you have the right to dispute it under subsection 60(2) of the Customs Act. You must take the following steps:

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