Contact Us:

863 Main Street
Milton, Ontario L9T 3Z3
905 878 2823 - Telephone
905 878 7545 - Fax


8 am - 5 pm Monday - Friday
Saturday by appointment only

Long Distance Moving - From the U.S.A. to Canada

Atlas Van Lines knows North America better than most! long distance moving

Atlas Van Lines can make this claim because it is true! As the continent’s preeminent carrier, we have the experience and the resources needed to make relocations from and to any point in North America as simple and seamless as moving a family down the block.

Whether you are relocating an employee from Houston, Texas to Calgary, Alberta, from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Atlanta, Georgia or to or from any other location in North America... you can always trust Atlas to do it right.

At Atlas, we pride ourselves on being able to offer a high degree of personalized service and meticulous attention to detail on every move regardless of origin or destination. To us, the Canada/USA border is more than a line on a map.  In fact, when it comes to moving family’s cross-border, Atlas has the distinction of being the carrier of choice on more than 40% of all moves that take place both north and southbound between the United States and Canada.

Atlas’ special expertise in the area of customs regulations and documentation completion is of real benefit to our customers. documentationBy taking the time to properly counsel the relocating family and to provide the corporate relocation administrator with advice and suggestions, we can ensure that the move will be less stressful than might otherwise be experienced. We also make sure that we have the most accurate and up-to-date information at our fingertips so that we can help our clients save both time and money.

At Atlas, we fully understand the differences between domestic and cross-border moves. We know that there are complex issues that must be taken into account. To meet this need, we have put specific processes and procedures in place to deal with these intricacies in an efficient and effective manner. Special emphasis is also placed on making sure our van operators are fully familiar with the paperwork they require in order to transport household goods shipments between our two countries.

Nearly 70% of our 135,000 annual moves throughout North America are conducted for companies who are relocating key employees. It is for this reason that Atlas has become known throughout the business world as "The Corporate Mover". With have more than 650 full service moving company agents throughout North America and over 3300 qualified, professional van operators; corporations know we are well positioned to meet all of their unique requirements.

Atlas’ continuing focus on the needs of clients in both countries has earned us a reputation for being the most efficient and knowledgeable carrier in North America. Needless to say, we are very proud of this designation. With Atlas Van Lines…one call does it all…anywhere in North America.

Below you will find information on the paperwork and logistics required for your move from Canada to the U.S.A.

This section has been prepared by Atlas Van Lines (Canada) Ltd. It will provide you with an overview of the most common issues to be considered during a cross border move. Where possible, we have provided contact numbers for the various agencies or government bodies who can more directly respond to your inquiries.

However, as the mover, you should be aware that neither Atlas Van Lines, Scannell Moving and Storage or any other mover has any direct control over the enforcement of customs regulations or policies. Therefore, we encourage you to directly contact the appropriate agencies or consulates to obtain detailed information, specific to your individual situation.

We would highly recommend that you do your research and make the necessary contacts, well in advance of your actual moving date, since it sometimes takes time to get everything in order.

We trust that you will find the following information helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Scannell Moving and Storage (Agent for Atlas Van Lines):
863 Main Street
Milton, Ontario
L9T 3Z3

Toll Free 1-877-251-1121
Direct Line 905-878-2823
Fax 905-878-7545

Contract All | Expand All

Required Documentation

The following documentation is the minimum required for clearing customs:

Returning Canadian Residents:

  • Passport or birth certificate for each family member
  • Photo identification (if no passport)
  • Proof of length of time away from Canada (lease documents, pay stubs, etc.)
  • Vehicle titles of ownership or registration
  • Detailed inventory listing of goods including their value
  • Purchase receipts for goods acquired while out of the country

Non-Resident - First Time Immigrants:

  • Passport or birth certificate for each family member
  • Photo identification (if no passport)
  • Marriage Certificate for spouse
  • Work or Study Visa
  • Employer Letter or Offer of Employment
  • Detailed inventory listing of goods including their value
  • Vehicle titles of registration

Seasonal Residents:

  • Passport or birth certificate
  • Photo identification (if no passport)
  • Proof of ownership or lease of seasonal property
  • Detailed inventory listing of goods including their value
  • Proof of US residence

What happens when our possessions arrive in Canada?

Moving companies are not permitted to deliver your personal possessions until the shipment has actually cleared customs. Canada Customs regulations require that you as the owner of the goods must clear the shipment in person. It is important to note that only the owner(s) of the goods can handle this aspect of your relocation. You cannot assign a third party to appear at customs on your behalf. Your Atlas van operator will contact you to make arrangements to meet him at the manifested customs office to make your customs declaration.

You should bring the following documentation to the Customs Office:

Immigration Documents

  • Work Visa
  • Employer Letter of Intent
  • Passport or Birth Certificate for each family member
  • Photo Identification for main importer and spouse
  • Marriage Certificate if spouse has different name
  • Itemized list of items being imported and their value in Canadian dollars

Possessions Documents

*  NOTE: You can group items in a logical fashion (i.e. kitchen effects, clothing, linens, etc.)

  • Personal inventory (in duplicate) listing all items including their current (depreciated value) in Canadian Dollars*
  • Copy of Bill of Lading including Completed Declaration of Value

Duty or Taxes

In the event that there are any duties, fees or taxes owing, you will be required to pay these monies before goods are released. Checks, cash or credit cards (Visa/MasterCard) are accepted. Returning Canadian residents will be required to pay duty/taxes on any single item purchased in the U.S. with a value of $10,000 or more (including an automobile).

Canadian Consulate Office based in the United States

If you require information or clarification on immigration related matters, we recommend that you contact the U.S. Regional Consulate Office. Through them, you will be able to obtain:

  • Information about all immigration programs and services
  • General information about your application
  • Application and Information Kits
  • Help with fee calculations

Regional Office

The Consulate General of Canada
Suite 3000, 1 Marine Midland Centre
Buffalo, New York, 14203-2884
Phone: (1-716) 858-9500
Fax: (1-716) 852-2477

Or visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Website:

Importing a Motor Vehicle to Canada

Transport Canada has a number of regulations regarding the importation of personal motor vehicles into Canada, particularly vehicles that are less than 15 years in age. To be eligible for importation, they must comply with Canadian safety and emission standards.

Transport Canada has contracted with Livingston International to establish and operate the national program of vehicle inspection, certification and registration, known as the "Registrar of Imported Vehicles". If you are planning on importing an automobile into Canada from the United States, you should start by contacting their office or visiting their website. On this site, you will find step by step instructions.

The Registrar of Imported Vehicles
405 the West Mall, Suite 400
Toronto, ON M9C 5K7

You will need to provide the year, make, model and "vehicle identification number (VIN)" to determine if your vehicle is eligible for importation into Canada from the United States. A list of admissible vehicles that can be modified to meet Canadian standards can be accessed through the Registrar of Imported Vehicle website at The website also provides information regarding the typical modification requirements along with complete details for the importation process.

In addition to the proper certification from the Registrar of Imported Vehicles, you will also need to produce your title documents (ownership certificate), sales receipts, registration and proof of insurance documentation.

You must also notify U.S. Customs about the permanent export of a vehicle at least 72 hours in advance of its arrival at the U.S./Canada border. If you are moving your vehicle on a moving van or via a third party car transport service instead of driving it across the border, then you should discuss this requirement with your representative at the transportation company.

Safety Standards

It is also necessary to contact the manufacturer or dealer of your vehicle to obtain a "recall clearance" letter and information on modification costs. You must have this document in order to pass the federal inspection. Additional safety inspections and emission tests may be required to meet specific provincial or territorial regulations. If you need more information on standards, contact Transport Canada.


Canada Customs will collect your non-refundable "Registrar of Imported Vehicles" fee of $182 in all provinces except Quebec where the fee is $197. Fees are in Canadian dollars. Major credit cards, checks and money orders are acceptable methods of payment. Just remember that the time required for the check to clear is included in the 45 day inspection time frame.

Contact the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency at 1-506-636-5064 from outside Canada or call 1-800-461-9999 for calls within Canada to determine if there are any additional costs such as duty and taxes applicable in your specific case.

What Happens After Your Vehicle Enters Canada?

Within 10 days, you will receive a letter from RIV with your inspection document and details on what must be done to bring your vehicle into compliance. You then have 45 days to meet this requirement. The RIV website has some recommendations regarding possible service providers to perform this work along with other pertinent information. You will have 45 days to have the work completed. In rare instances time extensions are possible. Please speak to the R.I.V. for more details.

Returning Canadians

Returning Canadians who are bringing back a vehicle purchased in the United States with a value of more than $10,000 will be required to pay duty and taxes. To get full information on this contact Canada Customs to request a copy of the following;

  • Brochure: Moving Back to Canada
  • Memorandum - D9: Importation of Used Motor Vehicle

Internet Site
Registrar of Imported Vehicles

Older Vehicles

Vehicles older than 15 years of age may be imported temporarily under a special provision. For more information contact:

Transport Canada
Road Safety and Motor Vehicle
Regulations Directorate
13th Floor
Canada Building
344 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N5
1-800-333-0371 (from Canada)
(613) 998-8616 (outside Canada)
(613) 998-4831 (fax)


Since regulations are subject to change, it is always wise to check with Canada Customs for completely current and accurate information.

Internet Site

The following is a non-government site with useful information related to importing a vehicle.

Importing Firearms and Weapons into Canada from the United States

Canada has very strict laws regarding firearms and weapons.  As of December 31, 2000, all gun owners living in Canada must obtain a firearms "Possession and Acquisition" (PAL) license.

If you are moving to Canada and plan to import any firearms or weapons, you need to be aware of the restrictions, regulations and procedures that are in place for gun owners.

Prohibited and Restricted Weapons

A number of firearms and weapons are prohibited from importation to Canada. They include:

  • Semi-automatic weapons
  • Automatic weapons
  • Combat shotguns
  • Assault rifles
  • Carbines
  • Explosives, fireworks, ammunition
  • Compact crossbows
  • Push-dagger knives

To obtain a complete list of restricted items, contact Canada Customs at (506) 636-5064 and ask for a copy of the Customs and Revenue Agency brochure "Importing a Firearm or Weapon into Canada" #RC4227. You can download this form at

Regular hunting rifles and shotguns acquired outside Canada can be imported for personal use such as sport hunting or for use in competitions.  In some instances, restricted items such as pistols and revolvers may be imported providing you are able to obtain the proper Firearms Acquisition Certificate.

You have to declare all firearms and weapons at customs when you enter Canada.  If you do not declare them, they will be seized and you could face criminal charges.  You will need documentation to prove that you are entitled to possess a firearm and obtain permission to transport it

How To Get A Temporary License to Possess Firearms in Canada

If you are planning to import firearms or unrestricted weapons into Canada, you can obtain a temporary license (which expires in 60 days but is renewable).  To do so, you will need to complete a "Non-Resident Firearm Declaration" form.  This will give you time to take the appropriate safety course and obtain the permanent "Possession and Acquisition" (PAL) license once you are settled in Canada.

  • You can obtain a "Non-Resident Firearm Declaration" form at any customs office, or you can call the Canadian Firearms Centre (CFC) at 1-800-731-4000 and a form will be mailed to you.  You can also download the form (you will need 3 copies) from their website at
  • Complete the "Non-Resident Firearm Declaration" form.  This should be done before you come to the border (if you are transporting firearms on your person) or before you meet your mover at the customs office in your destination city.  Bring the completed form with you when you meet with Canada Customs.  The Customs officer may want to inspect your firearm(s).
  • The fee for your temporary license is CDN $50.00.  This fee is paid when you meet with Canada Customs.  You can pay the fee by cash, MasterCard, Visa or personal check (provided it is drawn on a Canadian bank).  Checks should be made payable to the Receiver General of Canada.
  • Once Customs confirms and approves your completed "Non-Resident Declaration" form, it will become your temporary license to possess firearms in Canada.
  • You must then obtain permission to transport your firearms from customs to your residence.  To do this, you must call the Canadian Firearms Centre (CFC at 1-800-731-4000) and ask to speak with the Chief Firearms Officer.  He will provide the necessary approvals.  Your firearms will then be released by customs for conveyance to your home.
  • The next step will be to obtain a permanent firearms "Possession and Acquisition" (PAL) license.  If you do not complete this process within 60 days, you must contact the Canadian Firearms Centre (CFC) at 1-800-731-4000 and ask to have your temporary license extended.  No additional fee will be charged since the original fee charged is valid for 12 months.

Getting A Permanent "Possession and Acquisition" License (PAL)

If you are remaining in Canada for more than a few months, then you will be required to obtain a proper "Possession and Acquisition" (PAL) License that will allow you to possess, acquire or borrow firearms while you are in the country.  You cannot purchase ammunition unless you have this license.

All of the regulations for this license also appear on the Canadian Firearms website at:  You can download the application form "Application for a License under the Firearms Act" (JUS 888E) from this website or you can obtain a form by calling the Canadian Firearms Centre at 1-800-731-4000.

You will be required to pass a "Firearms Safety Course" before your permanent firearms license will be issued. There is a minimum 28-day waiting period for any new "Possession and Acquisition" license.  The license is valid for 5 years.

The current fee is $60/.00 CDN but may be subject to change without notice.

SPECIAL NOTE:  If you prefer a one-step process - you should leave your firearms in the United States until you have obtained a permanent "Possession and Acquisitions" (PAL) license.

Firearms Registrations

The next step in the process after you receive your license will be the registration of your actual firearms.  This will be compulsory after January 1, 2003.  There are separate forms for this process which you can obtain from the Canadian Firearms Centre.

For complete information on policies and procedures related to firearms registration, please contact the Chief Firearms Officer for the province you are moving to.  They can be reached through the Canadian Firearms Centre at 1-800-731-4000.  Inform the operator that you wish to speak to the firearms officer for the province you are residing in.

Returning Canadians

Returning Canadians who are re-entering the country with firearms which were previously acquired in Canada must provide proof to Customs that the firearms were exported and are now being re-imported.

A returning Canadian is also subject to the new regulations and must obtain a permanent firearms "Possession and Acquisition License" (PAL).  Returning Canadians will also have to register any firearms by January 1, 2003.

Other Useful Contacts

Download the Government produced booklet
RC4227 Importing a Firearm or Weapon Into Canada
Canada Border Services Agency
(506) 636-5064 or 204-983-3500

Importing Alcohol and Tobacco Products

As long as you meet the age requirements in the province or territory where you enter Canada, you can import certain quantities of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products duty and tax free.

  • 1.14 litres (40 ounces) of wine or liquor or 24 - 12 ounce cans or bottles of beer per person over legal age
  • 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 400 grams of tobacco

Please note that no alcoholic beverages can be transported on a moving van.

Importing Contents of Bar or Wine Collection

If you intend to import the contents of a bar or wine collection, you must contact the appropriate provincial or territorial Liquor Control Board authority before you ship these items so that you can pay the appropriate fees and assessments in advance. To obtain release of the shipment in Canada, you must produce proof that these duties and taxes have been paid.

Importing Pets

You can import domestic cats and dogs from the United States under the following conditions:

  • Cats and dogs under 8 months of age do not require any documentation.
  • Cats and dogs older than 8 months of age must have a certificate signed by a veterinarian stating that animal has been vaccinated against rabies within the last three years.
  • Veterinarian certificate must also identify animal by breed, age, sex, coloring and any distinguishing marks.

For other types of animals, you should check in advance with:
Animal Health Division

Importing Plants

There are some restrictions on the entry of plants in order to control potential carriers of insects and disease. Generally house plants from the United States can enter without Phytosanitary certificates or permits.

House plants are defined as plants commonly recognized and grown indoors. Plants from Hawaii must be "bare-root and free of soil”.

All other plants from the United States require a Phytosanitary certificate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and an import permit that Agriculture Canada has issued in advance.

For more information contact:
Food Production and Inspection Branch

Endangered Species

Customs Officers help Environment Canada administer the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. This convention restricts the trade and movement of specific animals, fish, birds, reptiles, etc.

For more information contact:

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada
Ottawa, ON    K1A 0H3
Phone:  (819) 997-1095
Fax:  (819) 997-2756

Useful Contacts

Canada Border Services Agency
(506) 636-5064  or 204-983-3500

Citizenship and Immigration Canada
(416) 973-4444
(604) 666-2171

Real Estate

Please note that all fees, pricing, office contact details, general details and procedures listed above were current at the time they were posted. Please contact the appropriate departments in order to confirm all charges, fees, pricing and rates, procedures, etc.

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