Canada Border Services Agency


Choose from the following sections:

Event Recognition with Canada Board Service Agency (Canada Customs)

We recommend our convention groups advise Canada Border Services Agency (Canada Customs) details of their event especially their tradeshow component and their exhibitor materials/equipment entering Canada. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has a distinctive program that provides event organizers with timely, border-related advice during the planning process of their international or domestic event with foreign participation. This program called the International Events and Convention Services Program (IECSP) is designed to educate international event delegates about Canada's visitor and goods admissibility requirements in support of national security and public safety priorities while facilitating the free flow of admissible people and goods arriving at events in Canada.

Some Easy Steps to follow when holding an event in Vancouver, Canada:

  1. Letter of Recognition: Advise CBSA of your meeting/event in Canada. We recommend that you submit your Letter of Recognition to CBSA 8-12months before your Vancouver Meeting. Within 3-6 weeks of submitting your letter you will receive a response letter from the CBSA. We recommend you post that letter on your website for exhibitors and attendees to download/print and have with them when crossing the border. This will allow a smooth seamless border crossing for your attendees, exhibitors and staff.
  2. Register your Meeting with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Website: It is recommended that an International Conference contact and register their meeting with the CIC office to help expedite any delegates who require a VISA to attend the conference.
  3. VISA Applications for International Delegates: Any countries listed on CIC website link would require a VISA to enter Canada and attend a conference.

Requirements for Travelers from the United States

As of 1 June 2009, EVERYONE traveling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by LAND, SEA (including cruises and ferries) or AIR will be required to present a valid passport or other documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security to cross the border.

Washington State residents can apply to have their driver's licenses enhanced, allowing for the use of a single, low-cost document for crossing the border between Canada and the US by land and sea. For more information visit

Visit the following sites for up-to-date information

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative: The Basics
Canada Border Services Agency / Agence des services frontaliers du Canada

Customs & Duty Free

All persons entering Canada must fill out a declaration for Canada Customs.

Each visitor over the age of 19 may import, duty free, a maximum of 40 ounces (1.1 litres) liquor or wine, or 288 ounces (8.5 litres) of beer or ale, up to 50 cigars, 200 cigarettes and 8 ounces (200 grams) of tobacco.

Revolvers, pistols, and fully automatic firearms are prohibited entry into Canada. Non-restricted firearms (which must be declared) are a regular sporting rifle or a shotgun with a barrel over 470 mm (18.5 in.) with a maximum overall length of 660 mm (26 in.).

For more information see:
Canada Border Services Agency
1.800.461.9999 - North America
001.204.983.3500 - International

Customs for Conventions & Meetings

In order to expedite customs procedures for convention and meeting goods entering Canada, a letter is required to the Canada Customs Regional office nearest to where the event is held. Included in this letter should be the following:

  • convention date
  • location of convention or meeting
  • request for Temporary Importation Privileges
  • the types of products to be exhibited
  • incorporated or unincorporated status
  • percentage of attendees who are foreign or Canadian


Revenue Canada will respond to the association directly advising them of the following:

All registration material, brochures and promotional items will enter Canada as a duty free, tax exempt transaction, with required customs documentation.
All display material will enter Canada on a temporary permit and a bond may need to be posted.
The permit will be cancelled upon export and the bond refunded with export documentation in approximately 6-8 weeks by mail.


For information regarding visas and entry requirements, please go to the Government of Canada's Visit Canada website. You may also wish to contact your nearest Canadian Embassy, High Commission, or consulate in your region.

For More Information:

Countriesand Territories Where Visas are Required

DetermineYour eligibility-Visit on Business

BusinessVisitors: Checklists

Border to Show Service

In Vancouver, border to show customs service is available through your customs broker where convention or meeting material is forwarded directly to the convention site for clearance. Vancouver is one of only three cities in Canada that offers this invaluable service.

Customs Brokers

To expedite the entry of goods for convention use into Canada, you may want to use a customs broker to act as your liaison with Canada Customs. Customs brokers can:

  • Follow up with Canada Customs to confirm approval of your convention or meeting.
  • Post the necessary Assurance Bond with Canada Customs to allow exhibits temporary entry for use at the convention and trade show. An Assurance Bond avoids any outlay of monies between the exhibitor and Revenue Canada.
  • Issue exhibitor information kits to your exhibitors, containing all the documentation requirements for customs clearance and transportation.
    Coordinate with the exhibitor on transportation, customs clearance, warehousing and deliveries to the convention site.
  • Organize specialized staff on-site for the complete move-in, duration, and move-out of your convention. This may include the on-site provision of facilities, such as desks and telephones, at no charge.
  • Complete all export documentation and make transportation arrangements for the export of the convention and exhibit material once your convention has ended.


For more information see:
Canada Border Services Agency
1.800.461.9999 - North America
001.204.983.3500 - International

 See also