Canada Duty Free Limits

Canada Duty Free Limits

*Updated March 2015

Whether you’re a brand new traveller or you’ve seen the world twice over, you may find yourself frequently asking, “What am I allowed to bring home?” It’s a common question, the answer to which we all tend to regularly forget. No worries, here’s what you need to know about Canada duty free limits.

When you return to the country, you are allowed to bring goods which were purchased or given to you for personal use – not business. So, things you’d get at your typical retail store: clothes, gadgets, jewellery, etc. You’re not allowed to bring back a work vehicle, office equipment, or inventory you plan to then sell in Canada.

A dollar amount is determined based on how long you’ve been away. The following amounts include the value of liquor and/or tobacco that you are permitted.

24 hours or more: Up to $200, alcohol and tobacco cannot be claimed

48 hours or more: Up to $800, may include alcohol and tobacco products within the prescribed limits

7 days or more: Up to $800, may include alcohol and tobacco products within the prescribed limits. While you must have products in your possession when you claim them when you are away for less than 7 days, products may be mailed or couriered to you when you have been gone for 7 days or more

As a parent or guardian, you are allowed to declare an amount for your child as long as the goods you are declaring are for the child’s use. It’s also important to note that gifts you bring back count as part of your personal exemption.

All food, plants, animals, and related products must be declared. Some cultural items or antiquities can only be brought into the country with a permit from Canadian Heritage.

If you keep amounts under these limits, you don’t have to pay additional tax or duty at the border when you return to Canada. If you bring home more than the above amounts, you must “declare” the items and their value – and duty and taxes are applicable.

 Tip: To calculate the number of days you have been away, do not include the date you left Canada but include the date you returned.

You can import only one of the following amounts of alcohol, free of duty and taxes:

1.5 litres of wine OR 1.14 litres of spirits OR 8.5 litres of beer

Travellers 18 years or older can bring in all of the following tobacco products:

200 cigarettes AND 50 cigars AND 200 grams of tobacco AND 200 tobacco sticks

A more comprehensive explanation of Canada duty free limits can be read on “I Declare,” available on the Canada Border Services website.

Remember, if you don’t honestly declare goods, the CBSA can seize them. You may lose them for good or have to pay 25%-80% of their value to get them back.

Happy shopping & happy travelling!

If you enjoyed this post, you may find these other resources helpful:

Guide for flying out of the Buffalo airport
14 tips for crossing the Canadian border
New immigrants travelling outside of Canada

26 Comments

  1. You may want to correct this as the amounts went up on June 1.
    24hrs $200
    48hrs $800

    • Thanks Crystal! You and Cheryl were both bang on at the same time! Thanks for pointing these out & pls do let me know if I’ve missed anything major.

      Cheers!
      Aimee

  2. Thanks go out to our Facebook fan, Cheryl, who pointed out that the allowable duty free items coming into Canada changed a tad on June 1st 2012. Here are some of the updates (more details can be found on the CBSA site: http://cbsa.gc.ca/publications/pub/bsf5056-eng.pdf):

    After each absence of 24 hours or more:
    * You can claim up to CAN$200 worth of goods without paying any duty and taxes.
    *You must have the goods with you when you arrive in Canada and you cannot include tobacco products or alcoholic beverages in this exemption.

    After each absence of 48 hours or more:
    * You can claim up to CAN$800 worth of goods without paying any duty and taxes. Although you can include some tobacco products and alcoholic
    beverages, a partial exemption may apply to cigarettes, tobacco products and manufactured tobacco.
    * You must have the goods with you when you arrive in Canada.

    After each absence of 7 days or more:
    * You can claim up to CAN$800 worth of goods without paying any duty and taxes. Although you can include some tobacco products and alcoholic
    beverages, a partial exemption may apply to cigarettes, tobacco products and manufactured tobacco.
    * With the exception of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, you do not need to have the goods with you when you arrive.

    Alcoholic beverages:
    You are allowed to import only one of the following amounts of alcohol free of duty and taxes:
    * 1.5 litres (53 imperial ounces) of wine;
    * a total of 1.14 litres (40 ounces) of alcoholic beverages; or
    * up to a maximum of 8.5 litres of beer or ale.

    Please feel free to help me out here if I’ve missed any other major changes! Again, you can find all the details you need about duty free when returning to Canada here: http://cbsa.gc.ca/publications/pub/bsf5056-eng.pdf

  3. I am not to sure I understand correctly…. I am going to the states from April 4th to April 11th…how much alcohol and tobacco can I bring back??

    • Hi Crystal,

      You can bring back 1.5 litres of wine OR 1.14 litres of spirits OR 8.5 litres of beer and 200 cigarettes AND 50 cigars AND 200 grams of tobacco AND 200 tobacco sticks, as long as it is within the $800 limit for all merchandise you are bringing back. Have a safe trip 🙂

  4. Travelling international for over 30 days how much cdn dollar is duty free and is this only clothing goods

  5. how do they determine how much duty you have to pay?

  6. If I buy a product from Canada, ship it to the US and go through the border to pick it up, does it still count towards my limit?

      • Thanks for your response.

        Also, if I were to go in a day trip (under 24 hours), am I allowed to bring back any goods at all or do I just have to pay full duties and taxes?

        Are the duty/tax calculators that are online fairly accurate to how they’d charge in real life?

          • Thanks again! Really helping me out.

            Last question, can the duty estimator that you linked be applied as well to online purchases shipped from the US? Or do they do duties differently with online transactions?

          • Hi Sunny,

            No problem! This is the link we usually refer people to but I don’t want to misinform you. It may differ depending on the provider (Canada Post, FedEx, etc.) or the company you’re purchasing from – so you may want to check with them.

  7. Hey there yall, I am going to Dominican as a canadian citizen in January for a week, does alcohol and tobacco need to be in your carry on for you to declare or can they be in your luggage? Any idea what the limits are for both alcohol and tobacco/cigars? Thank you very much in advance!

    • Hi Cam,

      Alcohol and tobacco can be in your checked luggage as well, as long as you declare it. Here are the limits for 7 days or more:

      Up to $800, may include alcohol and tobacco products within the prescribed limits.
      Alcohol: 1.5 litres of wine OR 1.14 litres of spirits OR 8.5 litres of beer
      Tobacco: 200 cigarettes AND 50 cigars AND 200 grams of tobacco AND 200 tobacco sticks

  8. Him been in Jamaica for 7 days and my wife how much alcohol can I bring back

  9. Hi all I am travelling to Dominican from april 21 to 28 and I want to buy some stuff for my family to bring home is there a limit I am allow to bring back to Canada
    Thank you in advance
    Shannon

    • Hi Shannon: For travel 7 days or more, you can bring up to $800 including alcohol and tobacco products within the prescribed limits.

  10. Hi, I will be returning from China with $2000-3000 worth of jewelry (necklaces, bracelets) that my mother has gifted me and my kids. Would I have to declare these and pay duties and taxes?

    • Hi Hinfoon – we recommend bringing a letter or other proof that the items were gifted by your mother – but we cannot guarantee you won’t have to pay duty.

  11. travelling from BC back home to Ontario and will be going through the US, I have purchased a case of wine in BC to hand out to friends in Ontario, what do I need to do?
    Thanks,,,

    • Hi Terry – we recommend keeping your receipts to show that the wine was purchased in BC – but we can not guarantee you won’t be charged duty.

  12. Travelling to Europe for 4 weeks. What is my purchase limit for cigarettes at duty free when leaving Canada. Not when returning, but can I buy 2 or 3 cartons when leaving?

    • Hi Andrew – the same rules apply, so you could buy your 200 cigarettes on the way to Europe.

  13. Hi there, I’ll be coming back to Canada with set of gold plated currently that I’m inheriting from my grandmother. It’s worth about $7000. Do I have to declare it? How can I provide that it was gifted to me?

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