Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Laura Cooper
*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.
You can import only one of the following amounts of alcohol, free of duty and taxes:
Travellers 18 years or older can bring in all of the following tobacco products:
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!
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