How to avoid customs charges on shipments from USA to Canada?

Customs Charges on Shipments from USA to Canada – 3 tips to save you money!

Posted by Charlene Hui

As a small business owner, importing shipments into Canada can be stressful – especially when it comes to brokerage services for when the shipment reaches the border. One of the top international shipping and brokerage questions we get is “how to avoid customs charges on shipments from USA to Canada?”. There is no one-size-fits-all answer but we have put together a list of tips to help your small business avoid customs charges when importing shipments from the US.

  • Know the value of your shipment. Brokerage services will apply on any shipment coming into Canada that is valued over $20.00 CDN. There is no way to avoid this. Any shipments valued under $20.00 CDN will not need to go through any formal custom procedures.
  • Use your own customs broker. If your shipment requires brokerage services, we always recommend using your own broker as you will most likely be able to negotiate competitive fees to help with the clearing process. For FlagShip customers, just make sure to advise us who your customs broker is so we can have it added into your file prior to the shipment to ensure that there are no delays!
    • UPS has their own UPS Customer Brokerage service. We typically recommend our customers use UPS services to import their shipment from the USA as FlagShip offers low shipping rates and a quick brokerage account setup to ensure minimal delays with any shipment. If you would like to setup a UPS Brokerage account for your FlagShip account, simply contact our customer service team and we will send you the required forms to complete.
  • Make sure to include all proper documentation. When importing, make sure that your sender includes all proper documents and information such as the commercial invoice and CUSMA Certification (also known as “USMCA” in the U.S. and “T-MEC” in Mexico). This is extremely important to prevent any delays and risks of having the shipment sent back to the sender. So if your shipment is valued under $20.00 CDN, make sure this is indicated on the commercial invoice!

FlagShip is dedicated to making shipping simple for small to medium sized businesses. It is important to work with a reliable courier who knows the international shipping processes well so you can save both time and money on your shipping.

If you have any more questions on how to avoid customs charges on shipments from the USA to Canada, contact us at 1-866-320-8383 or at