Reporting Money to Customs at the Canadian Border

Airport customer service representative holding passport
Hero Images / Getty Images

When traveling to and from Canada, there are rules surrounding what you're allowed to bring into and out of the country.

Canadians returning home must declare any goods they purchased or otherwise acquired while out of the country. This includes things like gifts, prizes, and awards, including items that will be shipped later. Anything purchased at a Canadian or foreign duty-free shop also must be declared.

 

A good rule of thumb when returning to Canada through customs: If you're not sure whether or not something needs to be declared, it's better to declare it and clear it with border personnel.

It would be much worse to fail to declare something that officers discover later. Officials can seize any goods being illegally imported into Canada and, if caught, you're likely to face penalties and fines. If you try to bring a firearm or other weapon into Canada without declaring it, you could face criminal charges.

Bringing Money Into Canada

There are no limits to the amount of money that travelers may bring into or take out of Canada. However, amounts of $10,000 or more must be reported to customs officials at the Canadian border. 
Anyone who fails to report amounts of $10,000 or more could find their funds seized, and face a penalty between $250 and $500.

If you are carrying $10,000 or more in coins, domestic and foreign bank notes, securities such as travelers' checks, stocks, and bonds, you must complete a Cross-Border Currency or Monetary Instruments Report - Individual Form E677.

If the money is not your own, you should complete Form E667 Cross-Border Currency or Monetary Instruments Report - General. The form should be signed and handed to a customs officer for review.

Completed forms are sent to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center of Canada (FINTRAC) for assessment and analysis.

Non-Canadians Visiting Canada

Anyone bringing goods into Canada must declare them to a border officer. This rule applies to cash and other items of monetary value. It's a good idea to have some idea of exchange rates because the minimum amount required to be declared is $10,000 in Canadian dollars.

Personal Exemptions for Returning Canadians

Canadian residents or temporary residents returning to Canada from a trip outside the country and former Canadian residents returning to live in Canada may qualify for personal exemptions. This allows them to bring a certain value of goods into Canada without having to pay the regular duties. They'll still have to pay duties, taxes and any provincial/territory assessments on the value of goods above the personal exemption.

Future Issues at the Border

The Canada Border Services Agency keeps a record of violations. Travelers into and out of Canada who develop a record of infractions may have issues crossing the border in the future and may be subject to more detailed examinations.

Tip: The best course of action for anyone entering Canada, whether you're a citizen or not, is to have your identification and travel documents readily available.  Be honest and be patient, and you'll be on your way quickly.