International events in Canada
In this section
Table of contents
- Temporarily imported goods
- Foreign Expeditions and Arctic Research
- Goods imported for an event held in Canada by a foreign organization
- What is a foreign organization?
- Customs duty-free goods
- Display goods
- Security deposits
- Changing temporary import status
- ATA carnet and Taiwan carnet
- Certificate of origin
- Prohibited, restricted or controlled goods
- Value for duty
- Border clearance
- Moving goods to your event
- Exporting display goods
Temporarily imported goods
Foreign Expeditions and Arctic Research
To learn more about the CBSA processing of foreign expeditions and arctic research, please review Memorandum D2-1-2, Foreign Scientific or Exploratory Expeditions in Canada.
Goods imported for an event held in Canada by a foreign organization
Tariff item 9830.00.00 and the Foreign Organizations Remission Order (FORO) may apply to some goods being imported for meetings or conventions held in Canada by foreign organizations. Two provisions may apply:
- Certain goods may be customs duty-free under tariff item 9830.00.00;
- The FORO relieves the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST); and excise taxes otherwise owing on those same goods.
What is a foreign organization?
Under both provisions, a foreign organization (but not a Canadian branch of that organization) is defined as a corporation with a head office outside Canada or an association that is not incorporated and no member of which is a resident of Canada.
Both provisions have the following conditions:
- The meeting or convention is not open to the Canadian public at large;
- The organization maintains suitable records as required for the administration of the provisions; and
- The souvenirs imported to be given away and the official paraphernalia imported for sale that are not given away or sold are exported immediately after the meeting or convention.
Customs duty-free goods
The following goods are conditionally customs duty-free under tariff item 9830.00.00:
- Banners, flags, papers, shields, stand decorations, backdrops and other decorations;
- Identification badges;
- Information bulletins, booklets, programs and memoranda relating to the meeting or convention or products displayed at the meeting or convention;
- Lapel buttons, billfolds, key cases, pens, pencils, corsages, T-shirts, scarves, mugs, jewellery, badges and other souvenirs and official paraphernalia;
- Printing plates, rolls, cylinders, matrices, moulds, exposed positive or negative films and other goods for the production of advertising material relating to the meeting or convention; and
- Stationery, paper clips, pens, pencils and other office supplies (not including office machines).
Souvenirs are give-away items (such as lapel buttons, billfolds, key cases, pens, pencils, corsages, T-shirts and scarves) that are distributed free to all persons attending an event. The quantities must be limited to the expected attendance at the event.
What can be claimed:
- Souvenirs, regardless of their value, qualify for customs duty-free entry under tariff item 9830.00.00.
- Under the FORO provisions, the GST/HST and excise taxes do not apply to souvenirs valued at less than CAN$25. These provisions also relieve the requirement to pay GST/HST and excise taxes on souvenirs valued at more than CAN$25 as long as they are exported.
Process and requirements:
- Foreign organizations are to account for the temporary entry of souvenirs on a Form B3, Canada Customs Coding Form, by entering special authorization code 84-867 in field 26 to relieve the GST/HST.
- After the meeting or convention is over, souvenirs that are not exported and remain in Canada are to be accounted for on a Form B3.
Official paraphernalia means mugs, jewellery, pens, scarves, T-shirts, badges and similar items bearing the official registered symbol of a foreign organization. The paraphernalia is generally imported by the foreign organization for sale at its meeting or convention. Official paraphernalia that is given away is treated as a souvenir.
What can be claimed:
- Normally, customs duties and taxes are fully paid on goods imported for sale at the time of importation. Only official paraphernalia qualifies for customs duty-free importation.
Process and requirements:
- Only official paraphernalia that qualifies for duty-free importation under the provisions of tariff item 9830.00.00 and the FORO may be documented on a Form E29B, Temporary Admission Permit, or on a carnet.
- Once the meeting or convention is over, all unsold official paraphernalia must be exported and the official paraphernalia remaining in Canada must be accounted for on a Form B3.
- The GST/HST is relieved based on the percentage of non-residents officially in attendance at the meeting or convention.
- If the total value of the shipment is CAN$1,600 or more, the goods must be listed on a CBSA invoice or on commercial invoices, giving the name of the organization, the place and date of purchase, a description of the goods, the quantity and their value.
Office machines and equipment
What can be claimed:
- Projectors, cameras, audio-visual equipment, sound and lighting equipment, typewriters, computers and other office equipment used for display or demonstration purposes.
Process and requirements:
- The equipment qualifies for customs duty-free temporary entry under tariff item 9993.00.00 as long as it is exported from Canada within 18 months.
- Office machines and equipment may be imported temporarily by foreign organizations customs duty-free under tariff item 9993.00.00 and relieved of the GST/HST under the FORO.
Advertising material such as catalogues, price lists and trade notices may be imported into Canada customs duty-free under tariff item 4911.10.10 and tariff item 9929.00.00 when conditions of these tariff items are met. Goods classified under these tariff items may also be eligible for GST/HST relief under the Advertising Material Remission Order. For more information: Memorandum D8-3-1, Administration of the Advertising Material Remission Order.
Commercial samples and apparel samples
Commercial samples of negligible value coming from the United States, Mexico, Chile or Costa Rica, regardless of the country of origin or tariff treatment, and imported solely for the solicitation of orders for goods or services provided from a country other than Canada, may be imported into Canada customs duty-free under tariff item 9990.00.00.
Samples originating in any country that are representative of a particular category of goods that have been produced or an article for which production is contemplated may be imported into Canada customs duty-free under tariff item 9991.00.00.
Goods classified under tariff items 9990.00.00 and 9991.00.00 may be entitled to GST/HST relief under the Samples of Negligible Value Remission Order.
For more information: Memorandum D8-2-8, Samples of Negligible Value (Tariff Items 9990.00.00 and 9991.00.00)
For more information on apparel samples: Memorandum D8-2-14, Tariff Item 9936.00.00 – Apparel Samples
Display goods may only remain in Canada for 18 consecutive months from the time the goods are temporarily imported into Canada. Note that for the most part, the period for GST/HST and excise tax relief is the same. However, display goods are only granted relief of the GST/HST for six months with no possibility of extension.
During this period, the goods must be displayed at a recognized public exhibition or convention, en route from one recognized event to another or accounted for and delivered into a bonded warehouse.
For more information: Memorandum D8-1-1, Administration of Temporary Importation (Tariff Item no. 9993.00.00) Regulations (Appendix A)
To ensure temporarily imported goods are exported from Canada, a CBSA Border Services Officer may require the importer to post a security deposit. The goods would then be documented on a Form E29B, Temporary Admission Permit.
For more information: Memorandum D8-1-4, Administrative Procedures Related to Form E29B, Temporary Admission Permit
Process and requirements
The CBSA border services officer at the port of entry or at the inland CBSA office will outline any conditions that will require a refundable security deposit at the time of importation. This refundable deposit covers any duties and taxes that would apply if all the goods were to remain in Canada.
Once the goods are taken out of the country under CBSA supervision, the security deposit will be refunded by a Government of Canada cheque that will be mailed to the address indicated on the Form E29B. If the goods were destroyed while in Canada, and the damage was certified by a CBSA officer, a police officer or fire marshal, any security deposit made on those goods at the time of importation will be refunded.
If the goods are eligible for full relief of the GST/HST and the CBSA border services officer determines that the importer will comply with the terms of the temporary importation, the goods may be released without a security deposit and documentation on a Form E29B.
Amount of security deposit
The maximum amount of a security deposit cannot exceed the customs duties (including the GST/HST and any other taxes) that would be payable if the goods were permanently imported (i.e. if the goods were accounted for under the provisions of section 32 of the Customs Act). The current deposit required (as of July 1, 2006) is 13% of the value for customs duty of the goods (5% GST plus the average rate of 8% customs duty).
If the goods are imported for commercial purposes and the total customs duties that would be owed (if the goods were permanently imported) is $100 or less, a security deposit is not collected. The $100 amount does not include the GST/HST.
When is a security deposit not required?
A security deposit is not required on commercial goods imported temporarily into Canada if they meet the conditions of tariff item 9993.00.00 and one of the following conditions:
- The goods are considered "originating" under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA), the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) or the Canada-Costa Rica Free Trade Agreement (CCRFTA), and the importer presents the applicable certificate of origin (see Certificate of Origin);
- The goods are imported by a federal or provincial/territorial government department;
- The goods are intended for a display or demonstration at a convention or exhibition held in Canada by any level of government or a foreign state; or
- The goods are commercial samples and advertising films, regardless of origin, imported from the United States, Mexico or Chile.
For more information on foreign government privileges: Memorandum D21-1-1, Customs Privileges for Diplomatic Missions, Consular Posts, and International Organizations (Tariff Item No. 9808.00.00).
Changing temporary import status
If the goods are sold
Goods that are sold must first be accounted for on a Form B3 (Type 30), Transfer of Goods Entry, to change the importer of record. With respect to the determination of value for customs duties for temporarily imported goods sold in Canada, see Memorandum D13-11-1, Goods Sold in Canada While Entered Temporarily for Conventions and Exhibitions.
The individual exhibitors or their agents can then present a Form B3 (Type 20), Ex-Warehouse, Consumption Entry, to account for all applicable customs duties and taxes on sold goods.
If the goods are to remain in Canada
If the goods are to remain in Canada, the importer or the importer's agent must submit a Form B3, together with any supporting documentation, to the nearest CBSA office. These accounting forms must be accompanied by all copies of the Form E29B that were returned to the importer or the importer's agent when the goods were imported.
If the goods are used for another purpose
If goods are temporarily imported (free of customs duties and taxes) and are sold or disposed of in Canada, or if the goods are used for another purpose than identified at the time of importation, the person who imported the goods or diverted the goods to another use is liable to pay the customs duties and taxes owing and to report the diversion (see the section "Goods Remaining in Canada" in Memorandum D8-1-1, Administration of Temporary Importation (Tariff Item No. 9993.00.00) Regulations).
If the goods are imported for further manufacturing
Importers who temporarily import goods for further manufacturing or processing should refer to the Duty Deferral Program. Security deposits are not required when goods are documented on an ATA carnet or Taiwan carnet.
For more information:
- Memorandum D7-4-1, Duties Relief Program
- Memorandum D7-4-3, NAFTA Requirements for the Duty Drawback and Duties Relief Programs
ATA carnet and Taiwan carnet
Carnets are international customs documents that simplify and streamline temporary entry procedures. Carnets are particularly useful for goods that will be imported into more than one country during the period for which the carnet is valid.
A carnet replaces national temporary entry documents such as the CBSA Form E29B, and also guarantees customs duties will be paid if the temporarily imported goods are not re-exported in the time period allowed. Consequently, carnets eliminate the requirement to post security with the CBSA.
For more information: Memorandum D8-1-7, Use of A.T.A. Carnets and Canada/Chinese Taipei Carnets for the Temporary Admission of Goods
Certificate of origin
To benefit from a preferential tariff treatment provided under NAFTA, CIFTA, CCFTA or CCRFTA, importers must have the applicable Certificate of Origin. At the time of accounting, a claim for a preferential tariff treatment will indicate that the prescribed Certificate of Origin is in the importer's possession. The Certificate of Origin must be presented upon request to a CBSA officer.
For more information:
- Canada's Free Trade Agreements
- Memorandum D1-4-1, CBSA Invoice Requirements
Like a national sales tax or a value-added tax paid by consumers in other countries, Canada's 5% goods and services tax (GST) is a value-added tax charged by GST/HST registrant businesses on most goods and services provided in Canada. HST is charged on most goods and services provided in five of the ten Canadian provinces Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
For more information: Foreign conventions (Canada Revenue Agency)
Prohibited, restricted or controlled goods
Goods cannot be temporarily imported into Canada if they are prohibited. Import restrictions or controls are not waived just because the goods are being imported temporarily. The goods must meet all Government of Canada requirements.
For more information: Requirements for prohibited, restricted or controlled goods
Value for duty
Goods for Sale
If you are importing goods for sale within Canada, you must pay full duties and taxes at their first point of entry, as outlined in the Accounting for Imported Goods and Payment of Duties Regulations. However, if you have on-site/off-site CBSA clearance privileges, the goods can travel directly to the event site for processing by a CBSA Border Services Officer or the goods will enter a sufferance warehouse for processing and release by the CBSA (see Memorandum D4-1-4, Customs Sufferance Warehouses).
When any unsold goods are exported at the close of an event and proof of export has been provided to the CBSA, the importer is entitled to a refund of the duties and some taxes (but not the GST/HST) paid on the unsold portion of the shipment (see Memorandum D17-2-1, Coding of Adjustment Request Forms).
For more information: Memorandum D8-1-4, Administrative Procedures Related to Form E29B, Temporary Admission Permit (see the section "Alternate Proof of Export")
Under certain circumstances, a portion of an event site may be licensed by the CBSA as a bonded warehouse. Once an event site is authorized as a licensed bonded warehouse using the CBSA's bonded warehouse option, the goods for sale will move directly into the bonded warehouse area and the duties and taxes (including the GST) will be deferred until the goods have been either sold or exported.
Claiming a Refund
To claim a refund of the duties and taxes imposed under the Excise Tax Act, you must submit a completed Form B2, Canada Customs – Adjustment Request, for all official paraphernalia that is exported under CBSA supervision. Memorandum D6-2-3, Refund of Duties, outlines the legislation and explains the policy and procedures for the refund of duties on imported goods.
A refund may be granted as specified in section 6 of the FORO (see Memorandum D8-1-1, Administration of Temporary Importation (Tariff Item No. 9993.00.00) Regulations).
On-Site/Off-Site Service ("Border to Show")
Rather than being processed at the port of entry, commercial shipments for events that have been granted the "Border to Show" option with on-site or off-site service, may be authorized to move directly to an event site. For more information on "Border to Show" see Memorandum D8-1-2, International Events and Conventions Services Program (IECSP).
Event goods being shipped by a bonded carrier can be reported at the first port of arrival (FPOA), and moved to an in-land destination (as stated on a Form A8A(B), In Bond Cargo Control Document) and processed by the CBSA at the inland port. The goods may also be moved directly to the event site if the event has International Events and Conferences Services Program (IECSP) "border to show" approval authorizing on-site/off-site CBSA service.
For more information:
- Memorandum D3-4-2, Highway Pre-arrival and Reporting Requirements
- Memorandum D3-2-1, Air Pre-arrival and Reporting Requirements
- Memorandum D8-1-2, International Events and Conventions Services
- D3 series of memoranda
On-site/off-site service allows bonded carrier shipments to move directly to the show site once the goods are reported on entry. This pre-approval procedure expedites border crossings, allows for faster set up at the event site and can provide on-site expertise and problem resolution.
If you would like to be considered for on-site/off-site clearance, be sure to request this service in your initial letter to the IECSP (usually at least 15 to 30 days before an event). The IECSP regional coordinator will determine if the event qualifies for on-site/off-site services and reply with a Letter of Recognition authorizing this service. In some instances, special service charges may apply.
Bonded Warehouse Option
Bonded warehouses are facilities licensed and regulated by the CBSA and operated by the private sector. Goods stored in a bonded warehouse are considered to have been brought into Canada but have not been released by the CBSA. IECSP-recognized events may be eligible for a temporary bonded warehouse license (up to 90 days with a possible extension) for the event location or part of the location if the requirements of the CBSA's Duty Deferral Program are met.
For more information: Memorandum D7-4-1, Duties Relief Program
Moving goods to your event
All event goods being shipped by a common carrier (in all modes of transport) must be presented to the CBSA with a Form A8A(B), In Bond Cargo Control Document.
The form can be completed before or on arrival at the port of entry, and it must provide enough details about the goods to allow the CBSA to determine if they are admissible. Attaching an inventory list of the goods and a copy of the Letter of Recognition will be beneficial.
A common carrier that ships display goods to a recognized event with on-site/off-site clearance privileges may be eligible for a one-trip authorization to transport the goods inland to the event site. The one-trip authorization requires a refundable security deposit and a completed Form E370), Application to Transact Bonded Air or Rail Carrier Operations With the Canada Border Services Agency.
For more information on single-trip authorizations and guidelines on in-bond movement of goods: Memorandum D3-4-2, Highway Pre-arrival and Reporting Requirements (Paragraphs 15-22) and Memorandum D1-7-1, Posting Security for Transacting Bonded Operations.
Depending on the risk associated with the goods, the shipment may be documented on a Form E29B, Temporary Admission Permit. A refundable security deposit is required and can be paid in cash, by certified cheque or money order or by a bond in an amount equal to the customs duties and taxes payable on the goods. The deposit cannot be less than $1,000.00.
Goods for sale
Commercial goods (i.e. goods for sale) being shipped by a common carrier to an event site cannot be documented on a Form E29B, Temporary Admission Permit. The importer or the customs broker must present the appropriate Form B3, Canada Customs Coding Form, and pay any required customs duty and taxes to release the goods into Canada.
Private, Rental or Company Vehicle
Tourists, visitors and temporary residents such as students or individuals with valid work permits can temporarily import a motor vehicle into Canada provided the vehicle is exported within three years.
For more information: Memorandum D2-1-1, Temporary Importation of Baggage and Conveyances by Non-residents
Delegates bringing goods in hand baggage or by private, rental or company vehicles should carry an inventory list of goods as well as a copy of the Letter of Recognition to present when they arrive at the border.
Travellers to the event should be prepared to answer questions from CBSA border services officers about the accompanying goods (description, quantity, value and origin).
Highway Bonded Carrier
A bonded carrier is authorized to transport goods into Canada and assumes full liability for the goods.
On arrival in Canada, the bonded carrier must report to the CBSA all goods carried in the vehicle on a Form A8A(B), In Bond Cargo Control Document, for each shipment. When goods are released to an inland destination, the carrier will present copies of the Form A8A(B) to the inland CBSA office at the destination.
For more information: Memorandum D3-4-2, Highway Pre-arrival and Reporting Requirements
Importation by Courier
Courier means all common commercial carriers, regardless of mode of transport, including freight forwarders and de-consolidators.
When it has been determined that the value for customs duty of goods being imported by a courier does not exceed CAN$20 per shipment, the goods are generally non-taxable for GST/HST purposes.
For more information: Memorandum D8-2-16, Courier Imports Remission.
Exporting display goods
Proof of Export and Validation
When you export display goods after the event, you must present the following to the CBSA for examination and validation:
- The goods that were granted temporary importation; and
- A copy of the Form E29B, Temporary Admission Permit, the ATA carnet or the Taiwan carnet.
This can be done at the CBSA office at the point of exit or at the inland CBSA office (for goods being exported in bond).
Goods that are exported in bond are authorized to leave Canada under CBSA supervision to the port of exit where CBSA border services officers will process the temporary import document(s) to show proof of export. The officers will also ensure a refund of any security deposit collected by the CBSA at the time of entry.
Upon proof of export, any security deposit will be refunded by a Government of Canada cheque or by cancelling the tendered bond.
For more information: Memorandum D20-1-4, Proof of Export, Canadian Ownership, and Destruction of Commercial Goods
The security given for display goods when they were imported shall also be refunded if the goods were destroyed and this is certified by a CBSA officer, police officer or fire marshal.
In addition to presenting the original receipts, which need to be validated, you may be asked to show the following:
- Proof that you are a non-resident of Canada (such as photo identification);
- The goods that go with the original receipts; and
- Proof that you are leaving Canada, such as a charter bus tour ticket or a vehicle licence number.
If you fail to submit the Form E29B to CBSA border services officers at the time of export, the following documents may be accepted as alternative proof of export:
- A consumption entry or landing certificate for the country to which the goods were exported;
- A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Certificate of Disposition of Imported Merchandise (CBP Form 3227);
- An export declaration using Canadian Automated Export Declaration, G7 Electronic Data Interchange Export Reporting; a Form B13A (Export Declaration); or Summary Reporting;
- A Form E15, Certificate of Destruction/Exportation;
- A Form A8A(B), In Bond Cargo Control Document, an IATA (International Air Transport Association) airway bill, a master airway bill or a consist sheet for couriers that do not use IATA waybills, or a Form A6A,Cargo Declaration; or
- Other documentation that establishes that the goods were exported including but not limited to purchase orders and invoices, shipping documents, requisitions, inventory reports, process or production records, stocking records, sales invoices, accounts payable and accounts receivable documents, carrier contracts, waivers and/or reports.
The information provided by the alternative proof of export must be sufficient to satisfy the CBSA officer responsible for the E29B forms that the goods exported are those on the Form E29B and that the goods were exported before the expiry date of the Form E29B.
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