6 Steps To Submitting Documentation To Your Customs Broker

6 Steps To Submitting Documentation To Your Customs Broker

There are many steps a carrier can take to ensure efficient entry into Canada prior to arrival. Here is your guide to the 6 steps you will want to take when submitting documentation to your Customs Broker.

Prior To Arrival

Step 1: Match Loaded Shipment To Paperwork

After loading, ensure that the documentation provided to you matches what was loaded on/in the trailer as well as what was transmitted to Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) via eManifest. Ensure the Cargo Control Number (CCN) transmitted via eManifest matches what is provided to the Customs Broker. Pay particular attention to commodity descriptions and piece counts. If the piece count or commodity differs, notify your dispatch. Do not send inaccurate documentation to the Customs Broker. This step helps to avoid inadvertently importing undeclared goods.

Step 2: Identify The Customs Broker For The Shipment

Ensure you are aware of the Customs Broker in charge of submitting the entry to CBSA and obtain their current contact information. Once you have identified the Customs Broker, find their contact information by visiting their website. Submitting Customs documentation to the incorrect broker or incorrect fax number or email address will result in the shipment not being accepted upon your initial request.

10 Questions To Ask When Selecting A Customs Broker

Step 3: Ensure You Have All The Paperwork Needed To Clear The Shipment

Documentation includes the shipment invoice noting the commodities, piece count and weight actually loaded onto the truck. Additional documentation can include phytosanitary certificates, certificates of origin and documents that Other Government Departments (OGD) require in order to accept the load for entry into Canada. Please note, in some cases, the carrier is only required to submit a bill of lading and PARS barcode with a reference number relating to paperwork previously submitted to the Custom Broker by the importing client. Missing information will result in processing delays with the Customs Broker.

Participating Government Agency (PGA) Guide: What Documentation Is Required For My Shipment

Step 4: Prepare The Documents For Submission To The Customs Broker

  1. Place a barcoded PARS sticker on each Customs invoice. Ensure the PARS number matches what was transmitted via eManifest. One PARS sticker can be used for each individual pickup and/or drop unless the load is from a consolidated warehouse. For more information on the difference between a consolidated and non-consolidated load please read our blog post entitled The No. 1 Contentious Issue With ACI eManifest - Consolidation.

Under the PARS barcode, write:

  1. The port in which you will be crossing into Canada.
  2. The estimated date and time of arrival (ETA) at the port of crossing with as much accuracy as possible.
  3. Include your name and contact information in case the broker needs to clarify or obtain additional information about the shipment.

Missing PARS barcodes can result in Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) penalties, eManifest complications and/or delay in processing with the Customs Broker. Inaccurate ETA's can backlog a Customs Broker and also delay processing time. Missing driver contact information inhibits the broker's ability to contact the driver if there are any missing or illegible aspects of the documentation received.

The No.1 Contentious Issue With ACI eManifest - Consolidation

Step 5: Submit The Customs Documentation In PDF Format To The Customs Broker

Using the contact information obtained in step 2, carriers should submit all paperwork provided, including the information listed in step 4, to the Customs Broker. Often, attachments of word documents or picture files can be illegible to the Customs Broker. Therefore, ensuring the documentation is sent in PDF format can be the difference between expedited or delayed processing if the Customs Broker must contact the driver to request legible documentation. 

Please note: In addition to submitting Customs documentation to the Customs Broker to obtain accepted entry status with CBSA, carriers are also responsible for reporting goods imported into Canada via ACI eManifest. Pacific Custom Brokers provides eManifest filing services for carriers. In those cases where Pacific Customs Brokers is both the Customs Broker for the shipment and the chosen eManifest service provider for the carrier, the carrier can include the ACI eManifest request sheet with their submission of Customs documentation.

Step 6: Check The Acceptance Status Of The Shipment

Ensure your shipment has received accepted status at least one hour prior to arriving at the port of crossing. At that time, if your shipment is not accepted for entry, you can work to rectify the issue prior to arriving at the port. Also ensure that the Cargo and Conveyance eManifest submission has received acceptance status.

Guide: How To Complete A Canada Customs Invoice (CCI)

Upon Arrival

On arrival at the border, present a machine readable barcode to the Border Services Officer. This barcode links the cargo data transmission to the information CBSA has in their system. The preferred option is a barcoded Conveyance Reference Number (CRN) but a barcoded Cargo Control Number (CCN) can be provided or both a barcoded CRN and CCN. The CBSA officer will stamp the sheet with the bar-code as "proof of report".

"Proof of release" can be obtained by obtaining a stamp on the PARS documents from the Border Services Officer at the time the cargo is released at first port of arrival or through CBSA's Release Notification System/RNS.

Canada Import Quote
Disclaimer: While reading, kindly note the date of this blog. At PCB we do our due diligence to write on the most relevant topic every week and naturally content may become dated as developments in a certain program/topic occur. For this reason, we greatly appreciate your readership and hope you continue reading with the posting date in mind. For the latest information on this topic please use our website's search function, or better yet, subscribe to our "Trading Post" newsletter to receive these updates directly to your inbox.
Share this post
About the Author
Taryn Hannah

Taryn Hannah is General Manager for PCB Canadian Operations, directly overseeing the Release, Trade Compliance, and Office Administration teams. Taryn has been a trade professional since 2005, specializing in strategic and operational process building and management. She began her career with PCB in release operations, which built a strong foundation in many entry modes. In 2010 Taryn became the Supervisor of our Trade Compliance Group, working with staff and clients to understand regulatory documentation, labeling, data, and timing requirements for all imports into Canada. Over the years, she has become an expert in Participating in Government Agency dealings and has been called upon to speak at events such as Vancouver Fashion Week and various customized courses for industry and associations. Taryn has been recognized for her expert knowledge by receiving the designations of Customs Compliance Specialist (CCS) and Certified Trade Compliance Specialist (CTCS) from the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.