What Is The Standard Processing Time For A Canada Customs Entry?

What Is The Standard Processing Time For A Canada Customs Entry?

Processing times are dependent on the completeness of documentation received, the complexity of the shipment, and the amount of time required by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Participating Government Agencies (PGA) to provide accepted status. Although some shipments can be processed in a matter of minutes, others require more attention to detail. All shipments cleared with Pacific Customs Brokers receive a high level of care to proactively work towards our client's compliance record.

Standard Processing Times

Receipt And Prioritization For Processing = 30 Minutes

Once shipment documentation is received, it will be placed in a queue based on the estimated time of arrival (ETA) at the specified port. This process can take a maximum of 30 minutes.

Review Of Documentation = 2 Hours

It may take up to two hours to review each shipment to ensure that all necessary information and documentation required for entry into Canada has been received including:

Required Documents

  • Canada customs or commercial invoice
  • Certificate or permit required by participating government agencies (if applicable)
  • Certificate for applicable free trade agreements (if applicable)

Required Invoice Information

  • Vendor name and address
  • Importer name and address
  • Commodity description
  • Country of manufacture
  • Quantity and weight
  • Value
  • Condition of sale
  • Currency of settlement
  • Reference number

Required PGA Information

  • These agencies require specific information and documentation depending on the department and shipment commodity.
PGA Guide

Entry Processing Of Complete Documentation = 30 Minutes

Processing the shipment can commence once all required information and documentation is received. On average it takes 30 minutes to enter and transmit a shipment's information to CBSA and applicable PGAs such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

CFIA Review = 1 Hour

If the shipment has goods regulated by the CFIA, processing times may increase by one hour.

CBSA Review = 1 Hour

Always allow up to one hour for CBSA to accept a shipment's release request.

Top Reasons A Shipment Is Not Accepted For Entry Within These Timelines

  1. Insufficient notice of shipment: Shipment documentation was provided less than 3 hours prior to arrival at the port of crossing and therefore not allowing the customs broker to succeed in obtaining an accepted status with CBSA.
  2. Missing documentation and/or information: If any information or documentation is missing, steps are taken to obtain it either through the Importer of Record (IOR) or the carrier. Missing information and or documentation will always result in delayed processing times.
  3. Complex entry: Some entries take longer to obtain accepted status due to their complexity and or amount of commodities listed on the invoice.
  4. Client account matter in pending status: Accounts are required to be in good standing in order for the customs broker to adequately work on the importer's behalf. For example, if the customs broker is awaiting receipt of a signed Power of Attorney (POA), they are unable to process the entry until its receipt, regardless of having received complete shipment documentation.

Minimum Documentation Submission Times

Considering the timelines noted above, it is highly recommended that carriers submit shipment documentation utilizing the following guidelines:

Shipment Contains | (Time Required Prior To Port Arrival)

Goods not regulated by PGAs | (3 hours)

PGA regulated goods | (4 hours)

CFIA regulated goods | (5 hours)

Pacific Customs Brokers understands many variables can change anticipated timelines. Every effort is made to ensure accepted status is obtained from CBSA prior to the carrier's estimated time of arrival at the port of crossing despite the amount of time available to clear the shipment.

6 Steps To Submitting Documentation To Your Customs Broker

How To Check The Status Of Your Shipment

It is recommended that carriers check the status of their shipments into Canada at least one hour prior to arrival at the port of entry, in order to mitigate delays. Carriers can check the status of the release with Pacific Customs Brokers Shipment Tracking.

Customs Broker Quote
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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.