'Why does it take so long for my entry to be set up?'This is a question customs brokers are asked on a daily basis. Many factors play a role in how quickly a PARS entry can be processed. These factors will be explained in further detail so that you have a better understanding of how it all works.On May 11, 2011 the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA will be referred to as Customs throughout this piece) announced new measures to increase the use of electronic data interchange (EDI) for entries with line counts greater than 99 lines.Currently, customs brokers are allowed to present paper packages to customs for shipments with invoices that exceed 100 line items. This will soon be eliminated through a multi-phased timeline and almost all entries will have to be done electronically.

Effective Dates for RMD and PARS release requests to be transmitted electronically (EDI) to the CBSAEffective DateTotal numberof invoice linesSeptember 1, 2011250 or lessFebruary 1, 2012500 or lessJune 1, 2012999 or less(CBSA system capacity)

Effective September 1, 2011 the first phase will begin.Essentially what this means is that shipments containing up to 999 invoice line items (by end of implementation) will have to be transmitted in full by the customs broker. This is going to significantly increase how long it takes the customs broker to process large entries. Customs is implementing these changes in preparation of the third phase of the Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program, eManifest.The carrier's role is essential to the entire release process. When you fax your PARS request to the customs broker, the release process is initiated. That”s why it”s vital that you send your PARS request to the appropriate customs broker as soon as possible thus allowing time to process and submit. Customs and other government departments have specific service standards, and when processing entries, it can take up to three (3) hours for them to process. Ideally, faxing the documents immediately after the goods have been picked up allows the customs broker maximum time to process your request and meet CBSA”s mandatory EDI requirements — which may prevent any shipment delays at the border crossing.The customs broker will review your fax request and work on collecting what is required to submit the entry to customs. Once all required documentation and release information is in order, they are ready to process your entry.Processing times for the customs broker can range anywhere from several minutes to several hours, and sometimes more in certain cases. This timeline depends on the complexity and length of the entry, as well as how complete the information is when it's provided to the customs broker. For electronic releases, the customs broker must reproduce the complete invoice details in EDI format. An invoice that declares only two (2) items can be processed much faster than an invoice that is 20 pages long with 15 line items per page. With this in mind, it”s plain to see that the invoice length will help you understand how long the customs broker needs to process your request. In addition to this, the type of commodity being imported plays an important role.For many commodities allowed importation into Canada, the bill(s) of lading, pick up receipt(s) and Commercial Invoice(s), or Canada Customs Invoice(s) are sufficient. However, there are many other commodities that require additional documentation (special permits or certificates) because they are regulated by other government departments (OGD). Examples of some of these commodities are: fresh fruits & vegetables, plants & cut flowers, meat & poultry, and other food items. The exporter may or may not supply you with these specialized documents so always check with the customs broker to ensure they have what they need to process your load.Once the customs broker has submitted your request to Customs, we must allow them time to make a release decision. Generally, entries presented electronically can take up to one (1) hours, and those presented in paper format can take up to two (2) hours for Customs to process. When another government department (ie.CFIA) must also review the entry, it take can approximately two (2) hours when transmitted electronically. These are rough guidelines only, as customs can take as much time as they require to review and make a release decision. The safety and security of the country is of utmost importance to customs, which is why they require this time to make their release decisions.Help your customs broker help you, by faxing your requests at the earliest possible opportunity you have so that they can get your entry in order before you get to the border.To review the formal customs notice regarding these upcoming regulations, please visit http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/cn-ad/cn11-004-eng.html.

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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.