Over the years, live horse import has become highly regulated. Canada and the U.S. have regulations governing the movement of horses across their shared border. This has led to importers being required to prepare well in advance of their trip.

Basic Requirements For Importing A Live Horse Into Canada

As an importer you are legally responsible for the accuracy of information provided to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), even if you use a Customs Broker, freight forwarder or service provider to prepare your documents. The importer must also ensure that the carrier has the proper health documents when transporting your horse across the border.

  • Canada Customs Invoice - When filling out the Canada Customs Invoice be careful with the "country of origin". Often mistaken, this refers to the country in which the horse was born. The horse's name must be shown on all invoices and must match the health documents and include the name and address for the destination in Canada.
  • Bill of Sale - Horse's name must be shown on all invoices and must match the health documents. CBSA is targeting valuation of horses and they have requested many times that Customs Brokers provide the bill of sale. Therefore, we make it part of our required documents to avoid delays at the border.
  • Health Documents - You must have a current Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) also known as the Coggins and International Health Certificate which may be one or two pages but must show that the horse(s) have not been in the state of Texas or New Mexico within the past 21 days.
  • Entry Type - Your Customs Broker will want to know whether the horse is a temporary or a permanent entry. If permanent, they will need to know its end use (race, show, breeding, other). If temporary, they will need to know the reason and length of stay to determine if it can clear under a temporary import authorization D8-1-1 or if you will have to pay full taxes. Horses that are leased do not qualify for temporary import and must be fully GST/PST/HST paid depending on whether it is a personal or commercial importation. Horses imported temporarily for pasturage, competition, training or breeding qualify for temporary entry. The maximum length of stay is 12 months. Your horse must be exported prior to that time unless an extension is applied for and granted, or else it will be entered for consumption.

Canadian Horses Being Returned To Canada

Canadian horses returning to Canada can only be re-entered under 9813 or 9814 if:

  • Returning to the original owner and
  • Accompanied with proof of export (POE)

The usual POE for horses is the stamped copies of the health documents used to export the horses into the USA. However, a U.S. Customs entry and invoice or the transaction number covering the original entry into Canada will also be sufficient. Even in this instance, your Customs Broker will need to know "reason" for export to the USA.

Be careful for any dutiable costs while in the USA. For example, if the horse is now pregnant, you may need to determine a value for the foal. If the information is already on the invoice, it will be included it in the value of the horse. If not, the information is only required if Canada Border Services Agency requests it at the time of release at the discretion of the Border Service Officer.

Horses Shipped From Texas Or New Mexico

Texas and New Mexico currently have restrictions on horses importing to Canada. Horses shipped from Texas or New Mexico need a CFIA import permit which the importer must apply for in advance. Also, the carrier will need to make a vet appointment at the border.

Following the above general guidelines for importing a horse into Canada will streamline the crossing of borders to the satisfaction of all concerned, making your next trip with your horse a smooth ride.

Pacific Customs Brokers has years of experience handling the clearances of live animals such as horses. Should you require assistance in importing a live horse, our import specialists can simplify the process for you.

Customs Broker Learn More
Share this post
About Author
Cherie Storms
CCS , CTCS, CBSA Professional Designate

Cherie Storms is the Operations Manager with Pacific Customs Brokers, Canada with over 15 years in international trade operations and regulatory experience. After she joined the company in 2007 she has become an Executive Board Member for the Canadian Customs Brokers Society, BC Region, and was invited to speak at the Women in Transportation Annual General Meeting in 2010 regarding her experience with running the international logistics efforts of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Cherie is also a member of CCB's National Commercial Operations and eManifest Committee. In September of 2018, Cherie became a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadain Society of Customs Brokers. Cherie has spoken at many seminars on the importance of trade compliance and is currently enrolled in the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Business Management Program with the goal of becoming an international trade lawyer.

Author's Posts
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.