Moving to USA from Canada

When you’re preparing for a cross-border move from Canada to the United States, there are essential details you must consider. The process involves complying with customs regulations, understanding which goods are prohibited or restricted, and ensuring your household goods and personal effects meet specific criteria for entry. Here, we provide an overview of these critical factors to help make cross border moving from Canada to the US as smooth as possible.

Things to Consider Before Moving from Canada to US


Products of endangered species (i.e. ivory, animal hides, etc.), plant and animal products (i.e. perishable foodstuffs), narcotics, drugs without prescriptions, automobiles that do not meet US safety and emission standards, and flammable materials. The importation of firearms is highly restricted in the U.S. Please contact our agent prior to shipping.
The shipping of alcoholic beverages and food is highly discouraged because of the Bioterrorism Act of 2002. When either is included in a household goods shipment the transferee must provide authorities (Food and Drug Administration) advance notice by completing a Prior Notice.


Navigating customs regulations is an important part of your international move from Canada to the United States. Let’s dive into the specific customs regulations that apply to this relocation.

Household Goods and Personal Effects

Used household goods are admitted duty free if they have been in the owner’s possession for 12 months prior to importation to the U.S.A.  Items purchased abroad within the last twelve months are considered dutiable.

U.S. Customs will not allow clearance of household goods prior to the owner’s arrival date.

Documents Required

Here’s the list of documents you’ll need to provide for an efficient customs process:

  • Completed and signed U.S. Customs form 3299 and supplemental documentation:
    • Signed U.S. Customs Power of Attorney
    • Inventory in English
    • Photocopies of valid passport photo page
    • Copies of original ocean bill of lading or air waybill
    • Photocopy of Visa

Additional Requirements for Returning Residents

Returning residents have some additional documentation requirements, including:

  • Social Security Number
  • Birth date
  • Passport Number
  • Foreign Address

Additional Requirements for Non-residents & People Immigrating

Non-residents and those immigrating to the U.S. also have specific documentation requirements, including:

  • Passport Number
  • Visa Number
  • Type of Visa (Working Visa, Student Visa; or other)
  • Country of Issuance
  • Date of Issuance
  • Date of Expiration
  • I-94 Form (If applicable)


The shipping of alcoholic beverages is highly discouraged. When included in a household goods shipment the transferee must provide authorities (Food and Drug Administration) advance notice by completing a Prior Notice.

The following information is needed:

  • Number of Bottles/Cans
  • Type
  • Common Name
  • Manufacturer & Address
  • Volume per Bottle/Can
  • Vintage of Wine
  • Alcohol Content
  • Value Per Bottle

It is advisable to contact the appropriate state liquor control authority for full details.

Documents Required

Before including alcoholic beverages in your household goods shipment, it’s essential to be aware of specific documentation requirements. Here’s what you need when shipping alcoholic beverages:

  • Statement signed by importer stating either, “For personal use – not for resale,” or “For resale.”
  • Supplier’s invoice showing description, value and circa date.
  • Detailed packing list – Must be able to match items on invoice with packing list.


To bring firearms that were previously exported, owners must have proof of purchase and export from the U.S. If you lack this documentation, it’s best not to include firearms in your shipment as it will cause delays. Note, a permit obtained 6 weeks in advance is required from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Motor Vehicles

Vehicles are typically subject to import duties and state taxes, unless they meet specific conditions. If a registered vehicle was previously exported from the U.S., the transferee must provide evidence of this export, or they must demonstrate that the vehicle was initially manufactured and sold in the U.S.

All vehicles imported must adhere to U.S. safety and emissions regulations. However, it’s important to note that vehicles over 25 years old may be exempt from these regulations. In any case, every motor vehicle must undergo compliance testing.

In the event that a vehicle fails emissions testing, it will need to be transported to approved sites for necessary modifications, which will be at the owner’s expense. It’s important to understand that the cost of bringing the vehicle up to compliance standards after importation can be exorbitant, and there may also be additional expenses such as bond fees or cash deposits.

The following documentation is required in order to have your vehicle imported and registered for use in the United States.

  • The CBP form 7501 is a summary of the article that you have requested free entry for.
  • For your convenience, we also provide an instruction sheet which will assist you in completing the 7501 form.
  • The HS7 form is required for compliance with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • The 3520-1 form is a declaration that your vehicle meets with the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations regarding emissions and testing.

If you would like some further information regarding the importation of vehicles into the United States, you can find it here

Please check with us for exact regulations before sending a particular automobile to the United States.

Inherited Goods

As it pertains to inherited goods, there are specific requirements to fulfill. You must provide:

  • A copy of the death certificate must be provided
  • Inventory
  • Cost of each item


Dogs and cats are not required to stay in quarantine when they enter the U.S., except for Hawaii where there is a six month quarantine requirement.  All pets must have a valid health certificate from a veterinary surgeon and have proof of vaccination against rabies.  Some birds are required to stay in quarantine, so be sure to check with our agent in advance.  Animals should be declared as “pets” having no commercial value.

Important: This information is intended for general guidance. Orbit International Logistics LTD. cannot however take responsibility for any errors or omissions or for any loss or damage that may occur from its use. As such, it is advisable to contact the nearest US customs office for full and current information prior to importation.

Orbit Moving – Making Moving to the US From Canada That Much Easier

When relocating from Canada to the USA, selecting a reliable cross-border moving company is paramount. Orbit International Moving Logistics stands as a leading international moving company in Canada. 

Our extensive experience with international relocations to the USA equips us to provide you and your family with invaluable insights regarding your move. We can guide you in choosing the right international relocation company and selecting the best overseas moving service. For further information and to speak with an international moving consultant, please reach out to us at (416) 661-4228.

Orbit International Moving Logistics has helped customers relocate globally via Ocean Freight, land freight trucking, and Air Cargo. We take pride in being an international shipper with all-inclusive rates. But what truly sets us apart is our commitment to providing exceptional service. 

We offer free, no-obligation estimates, attentive listening to your concerns, and tailor-made solutions to meet your removal and relocation needs, whether it’s a family move (e.g., door-to-door, door to port, full containers, RO-RO, custom crates, etc.). We provide free consultations with our relocation specialists who can assist you in planning your move to the USA and choosing the right overseas moving services. 

For more information, visit our USA agent at