Allowances & FAQ

Allowances

Entering the US* - Anytime Exemption For 'Personal Exemption'

Tobacco
200 Cigarettes
50 Cigars (non Cuban)
200of fine cut tobacco

Alcohol
1.0of wine, liquor, beer or ale

Gifts
$100 CAD to be left in the USA

Please check with the regulations of the State you are arriving in; they may have more restrictive limits.

Returning to Canada (24-48 hours)

Goods Tax and Duty Free
$200 CAD per person

Tobacco
Subject to duties and taxes

Alcohol
Subject to duties and taxes

Returning to Canada (Over 48 hours)

Tobacco
200 Cigarettes (1 carton)
50 Cigars (non Cuban); or Cigarellos
200 Tobacco sticks
200of manufactured tobacco

Alcohol
1.5of wine or
1.14of liquor or
355mL cans/bottles of beer or a

Goods, Taxes and Duty Free
Up to $800 CAD per person

IT STARTS WITH AN “ANYTIME PERSONAL EXEMPTION”

Canadians can bring 1L of alcohol (1L of spirits, wine and beer) and some tobacco into the U.S. regardless of the duration of the stay in the U.S., so long as the alcohol and tobacco is for personal use.

YOU CAN STILL SAVE, EVEN WITH TAX AND DUTY CHARGES

You may have to pay taxes and duties on purchases over and above the customs allowance. This will be calculated by a On purchases over and above the customs allowance, you may be required to pay some nominal taxes and duties. This will be calculated by a Customs official after you declare.

Here’s how it adds up: if you exceed your duty free allowance and exemptions entering the U.S., the following approximate U.S. duty and tax rates apply:

  • US $2 – $3 per bottle of liquor, on average
  • US $1.90 per case of beer, on average
  • US $10.07 per carton of cigarettes, on average

*US duty rates on purchases exceeding 1 litre of alcohol are assessed according to alcohol content

Products other than alcohol and tobacco may also require a duty payment.

If you are Canadian, when you return to Canada you may be asked to pay the regular taxes and duties on the value of items over your customs allowance. Be aware that many items qualify for reduced or zero duty.

Entering the US* - Anytime Exemption

Tobacco
Subject to duties and taxes

Alcohol
150ml of alcoholic beverages

Goods
$200 USD per person

Duration of Stay in Canada (24-48 Hours)

Tobacco
50 Cigarettes
100 Cigars (non-Cuban)

Alcohol
150ml of alcoholic beverages

Goods
$200 USD per person

Duration of Stay in Canada (48 Hours)

Tobacco
200 Cigarettes
100 Cigars (non-Cuban)

Alcohol
1 L of alcoholic beverages or
1 (24 bottles) case of beer

Gifts
$800 USD per person. This is a monthly exemption. Family members can combine their $800 per person monthly import privileges.

IT STARTS WITH AN “ANYTIME PERSONAL EXEMPTION”

Americans can return to the U.S. with $200USD worth of goods per person, including 5oz of alcohol on any daily visit to Canada.

YOU CAN STILL SAVE, EVEN WITH TAX AND DUTY CHARGES

You may have to pay taxes and duties on purchases over and above the customs allowance. This will be calculated by a On purchases over and above the customs allowance, you may be required to pay some nominal taxes and duties. This will be calculated by a Customs official after you declare.

Here’s how it adds up: if you exceed your duty free allowance and exemptions entering the U.S., the following approximate U.S. duty and tax rates apply:

  • US $2 – $3 per bottle of liquor, on average
  • US $1.90 per case of beer, on average
  • US $10.07 per carton of cigarettes, on average

*US duty rates on purchases exceeding 1 litre of alcohol are assessed according to alcohol content

Products other than alcohol and tobacco may also require a duty payment.

If you are Canadian, when you return to Canada you may be asked to pay the regular taxes and duties on the value of items over your customs allowance. Be aware that many items qualify for reduced or zero duty.

FAQ

Canadians can bring 1L of alcohol (1L of spirits, wine and beer) and 200 cigarettes, 200 grams of tobacco and 50 cigars into the U.S. regardless of the duration of the stay in the U.S., so long as the alcohol and tobacco is for personal use.

For more on exemptions, go to dutyfreecanada.com.

You may have to pay taxes and duties on purchases over and above the customs allowance. This will be calculated by a Customs official after you declare.

Upon entering the U.S., you may be asked to pay, on average, the following amounts for products over your customs allowance:

US $2 – $3 per bottle of liquor, on average
US $1.30 per case of beer, on average
US $10.03 per carton of cigarettes, on average

Products other than alcohol and tobacco may also require a duty payment.

If you are Canadian, when you return to Canada you may be asked to pay the regular taxes and duties on the value of items over your customs allowance. Be aware that many items qualify for reduced or zero duty.

Canadian residents are not allowed to combine customs allowances upon their return to Canada.

For example, if you and your spouse qualify for the $200 customs allowance, you may each bring in $200 of goods for a total of $400. However, you both may not import a single $900 TV and claim the customs exemption. In fact, it is likely that you will have to pay duty on the entire $900, not just the value that is above any one or both your personal customs allowances.

Americans are allowed to combine customs allowances so long as the items being brought over are within the monthly customs allowance.

When you return to Canada you must declare everything you are going home with. You must include your Canadian Duty Free purchases in the total.

Yes you can – all purchases that you return to Canada with must be declared and will form part of your exemption.

You will likely be asked to pay the duty and taxes; you might get lucky and waved through.

Be aware that your goods may qualify for no-duty or low-duty status (under WTO, NAFTA, Most Favored Nation agreements). If you do not declare and are caught, the consequences are determined by the U.S. Border Services department.

Find out information about the Canadian Border Services Agency.

Yes, children are eligible for a customs allowance. Parents or guardians will declare the purchases on the child’s behalf, but the items must be for the child’s use.

Canadian children’s customs allowance cannot be combined with their parents, and children do not qualify for the alcohol or tobacco exemption

You save the duty on NAFTA exempted items, and only pay the sales tax, even if the value is over and above your customs allowance.
Your length of stay is not relevant, so even if you have been across the border just for a few hours, you would save the duty, and only pay the sales tax. NAFTA exempted items are goods made in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico and include items like: cellphones, video games, books and hair dryers.

Consider that your goods might fall under WTO or Most Favored Nation (MFN) status and qualify for no or low-duty.

Israel, Costa Rica and Chile have special duty arrangements with Canada. Goods made in these countries qualify for lowered duty.