Canadian Customs Invoice form — step-by-step guide

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If you’re sending goods to Canada, you may well find yourself needing to fill out a Canadian Customs Invoice (CCI). This isn’t quite the same as a standard invoice that you send to your domestic customers: the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) requires a little bit more information when it handles imports.

It’s not a difficult form to fill out, though. This article is a simple guide to how to complete the Canadian invoice form, including what information you’ll need to include.

The CCI ultimately shouldn’t be too much of a burden to your business. A potentially greater problem is how to get a decent deal when you’re sending or receiving money in foreign currencies like Canadian dollars. That’s because some foreign currency exchangers will rip you off with a bad exchange rate. But with Wise Business, you can take advantage of the real mid-market rate when sending money abroad, and avoid high international transfer fees through Wise’s interlinked system of local bank accounts.

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But anyhow. Here’s how to fill out that form.

Canada Customs Invoice instructions

Don’t be put off by all the boxes. Just set the necessary time aside to get it right, and remember that if you don’t do it, your goods might get stuck at the border.

You should also remember that a Canadian customs invoice form isn’t actually your only invoicing option. The CBSA accepts any of the following:¹

  • A CCI filled out by either you or the vendor
  • An invoice that contains all the same information as a CCI
  • A simpler commercial invoice in addition to a CCI with the rest of the information.

So, while you don’t necessarily need to fill out the CCI itself, you do need to include all the information it requires. There’s no getting around that.

On a similar note, you can export your goods to Canada via “release on minimum documentation” (RMD) - which means that less information is required at the border. But that’s only an interim step, and they will eventually need full accounting data from you.²

How do you send and receive foreign payments? If your business involves a lot of money flying back and forth across the border, you’re going to want to make sure you’re not losing out via foreign transaction fees. A borderless account with Wise is a great way to do business internationally using the mid-market exchange rate, and Wise’s business offerings include seamless integration with Xero — a leading accounting software for small businesses — as well as features such as batch payments and monthly statements. It could save you a lot of time and money.

Canada Customs Invoice form

Here’s a step-by-step guide to filling out the CCI form.³

First of all, download a copy from the CBSA website.

Then, fill out each field like so:

  1. Fill in the vendor’s name — including the company name, if it’s from a company — and address. You might need details from 2 parties here: the party selling the goods, and the party sending the goods to Canada.
  2. Put the date of direct shipment to Canada — when they were sent there.
  3. Under Other References, put any useful reference codes you might have — an invoice number and/or purchase order number, for instance.
  4. Fill in the name and address of the consignee — the person receiving the goods.
  5. If the purchaser is different from the consignee, write their name and address here.
  6. Write the country of transhipment, i.e. the country through which the goods were shipped.
  7. Country of origin of goods: the country where the goods are from. That could be where they were grown or manufactured. Read the Memorandum D11-4-2 for further details about this, if it’s not clear what you should put.
  8. Here, you need to specify the mode of transportation, as well as the place from which they were sent to Canada.
  9. Make a note of the conditions of sale and terms of payment under which the transaction has taken place.
  10. Currency of settlement — the currency in which the vendor requests to be paid.
  11. Put the total number of packages you’re shipping.
  12. Specification of commodities. A bit more detail is required in this box. You need to fill in three things: the kind of packages (for instance, cartons); the marks and numbers on the packages — except in a few cases, the packages must be marked in a corresponding way; and general description and characteristics. That means a basic description of what the commodity actually is, including commercial terms (code numbers, size, etc) where appropriate. You need to include the scientific name of species for plant- or animal-derived products. And if the goods aren’t new, you need to indicate their condition as well.
  13. Corresponding to the information in box 12, put the quantity, i.e. how many or how much of each item. Include the unit if applicable (e.g. kg).
  14. Put the unit price — the cost of a single unit, using the currency in box 10.
  15. Put the total price here — the unit price multiplied by the quantity.
  16. Put the total weight of the goods in both net and gross terms. Net weight is the weight of the goods themselves; gross weight additionally includes the weight of packaging.
  17. Add in the invoice total here — the total amount payable. See boxes 23 and 24 for a little more info on this.
  18. Check this box if any of the above information is on an attached commercial invoice.
  19. If your exporter is different from the vendor, give their name and address here.
  20. Here put in the name and address of the originator, if applicable: the person filling out the invoice. Don’t fill this in if the information is already on the form.
  21. CBSA ruling: if the CBSA (Canada Border Services Authority) has made a ruling relating to this shipment, put in the details here — the number and date of the ruling.
  22. Check the box here if you don’t need to fill out the remaining boxes.
  23. The last 3 boxes relate to additional costs not accounted for in the running total in box 15. Importantly, those additional costs include transportation charges and export packing. Fill in box 23 if you have included these costs in your total in box 17. If you need more help, try Memorandum D13-4-7.
  24. Alternatively, fill in box 24 if you have not included these costs in box 17.
  25. Check these boxes if appropriate — they relate to royalty payments or subsequent proceeds, and cases where the purchaser has also been involved in supply relating to these goods.

So: 25 boxes in total, but you may well not have to fill out every single one. And if you’ve got the right paperwork to hand, it’s probably just the area around box 12 that’ll take much time to sort out. Once you’re used to doing it, it’ll be much the same as making up a regular invoice.

That’s how to fill out the form, then. Once that’s done, you’ll have more time to concentrate on the other stuff that matters to your business — like how to make sure you’re not losing out when you send money overseas.

See if you can save money on your international payments


Sources:

1.https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/import/acc-resp-eng.html

2.https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/import/release-dedouanement-eng.html

3.https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d1/d1-4-1-eng.html

All sources checked 15 February 2019


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