How Does Customs Work?

How Does Customs Work?

International travel can be very fun and exciting. You can learn a lot about other cultures, of course, as well as world history; but you can also learn quite a bit about yourself.

But you also learn that this type of travel is much more complicated than domestic travel. Sure, the customs authorities do what they can to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible, but it can certainly overwhelm the uninformed.

Customs: An Introduction

For one, you need to be aware that when you travel internationally you will always have to deal with customs.

International customs regulation is an important part of the import and export process.  Customs agents ensure that dangerous or illegal contraband is not trafficked between countries.  Customs agents also ensure that everything transported across the border adheres to various international business regulations and guidelines.

Why Is This Important

While it is certainly very easy to understand why it would be important for customs to monitor illegal or dangerous activity, customs agencies more importantly help to regulate international trade.  When you buy something in one country and try to bring it to another country, for example, you may have to pay extra taxes (called “duties”) as a means to deter unfair trade and sale of foreign goods.  This, in hope, encourages people to buy locally and domestically.

What is Customs Clearance

That in mind, if you do plan to move to Canada from the United States, for example, you need to know about customs clearance. This is a process by which you certify your possessions to assess any potential duties or fees you may need to pay and that you have properly registered certain items, like your car. Again, these fees are designed to ensure the legal transport of goods back and forth across the border.

What Export Documentation You Will Need

To leave a country (and enter Canada, in this case) you will need to bring the following documentation with you:

  • A purchase order (for all goods that need clearance)
  • A sale invoice
  • Any associated packing lists
  • The shipping bill
  • Any associated Certificate of Origin
  • Bill of Lading

What Import Documentation you Will Need

To pass import regulation, you will simply bring along the previous list of documentation and also a Bill of Entry. This is simply a certification that you have successfully and legally exported your goods with the intent to enter another country.

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