Contributing Lawyers


Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross


Andrew Hudson

What Canadian Residents Need to Do to Avoid Delays Bringing Exported Goods Back to Canada

On September 11. 2007, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) updated and replaced D-Memorandum D-2-6-5 "Documentation of Goods for Temporary Exportation".  This D-Memo contains guidelines and general information for Canadian residents who may travel abroad and bring goods with them on their travels (e.g., computers, blackberries, mobile phones, jewelry, golf clubs, etc.) and will want to bring the goods back when they return to Canada after their travels.

Canadian residents are required to pay to the CBSA customs duties, goods and services tax and provincial sales tax (if any) on goods acquired outside Canada (except for goods within the personal exemption limits).  The CBSA places the responsibility on the individual to establish that goods in their possession or shipped separately were previously in Canada and exported with the individual when they left Canada.

The CBSA will issue a form Y38 "Identification of Articles for Temporary Exportation" if an individual attends at an office of the CBSA with the goods at a time prior to the exportation of the goods.  The CBSA will inspect the goods and will issue the Y38 Form.  If there is any dispute upon the individual's return to Canada, the CBSA officer at the point of entry may be provided with the Y38 form as proof that the goods were previously in Canada.

The CBSA will issue the Y38 form prior to the temporary exportation if the goods are uniquely identifiable (that is with a serial number or other identifiable mark).  For example, a camera would have a serial number that is unique to that camera that could be compared by the CBSA officer at the time of importation to ensure that a new camera was not purchased abroad.

The CBSA states in D-Memo D-2-6-5 that business persons who travel with equipment should obtain Y38 forms for computers, blackberries, cell phones and any other equipment of value.

The CBSA recognizes that certain items would not have a serial number, such as golf clubs, skis, musical instruments.  The CBSA will offer the individual the option of affixing a Y38-1 "Label for Identification of Articles for Temporary Exportation.  The label would have to be affixed to the goods prior to exportation.

Most jewelry is not uniquely identifiable and the individual would not want to affix a label to such items.  The CBSA will accept an appraisal report from a qualified jeweler or insurance appraiser.  A photograph of the jewelry should be attached to the appraisal report.  If possible, the photo should be dated using a digital camera (or some other method) at a point in time prior to the appraisal report and the Y38 Form.  Jewelry is a sensitive commodity and the CBSA recommends that it be left at home if you are not willing or able to prove prior exportation.

The fact that this D-Memorandum is publicly available is a warning to Canadians traveling abroad that the CBSA may question their import declarations and disputes may arise.  As a result, all necessary precautions should be taken.

For a CBSA office near you - call 1-800-461-9999. The following link may be used to find the closest CBSA office -

If you would like to read  D-Memorandum D-2-6-5 "Documentation of Goods for Temporary Exportation", please click on  D-Memorandum D-2-6-5 "Documentation of Goods for Temporary Exportation".

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