Query regarding customs and hard landing

Hello all,

I am a Canadian PR living in the US because of my employment. I “soft landed” about 2.5 years ago (I am still holding good on residency requirement) and am planning to move to Canada very soon. I would be moving my household items (furniture, clothes, TV etc) which I have been using here in US to Canada with a moving company. I myself would be flying into Canada with some basic luggage.

Although I have visited Canada a few times in the past 2.5 years, I have never established residence in Canada and have been working and living in US. So my confusion is from a customs point of view would I considered “returning resident” or a “new resident”; I understand that most household items are duty exempt for “returning residents coming back after more than one year”. I did make a short visit (4 days) in the last one year, but have maintained residence in the US for about 5 years now.

My main worry is that if they consider me a resident returning after less than one year, all my household items will NOT be duty exempt, which will be a serious financial problem for me.

One more question I have is if I would need to fill out any forms like “Goods to Follow” / Unaccompanied goods when I arrive in Canada via flight? Since I would be sending out the household items via moving company separately.

Please advice if you happen to know about how this works. Would love to hear from people who have gone through similar situation.

Thanks a lot in advance! Appreciate your time and suggestions!

Did you fill out the goods to follow during your soft landing?

1 Like

I did not @avj since at that time (~2.5 yrs ago) I was very unsure about when the move will happen? Is this a potential issue?

I’m not sure, will have to do more research. In the meantime, here’s a useful link that I found: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d2/d2-2-1-eng.html#_a6

1 Like

Thanks @avj! That was super helpful, please do let me know if you happen to get any more information. Appreciate your time and help!

@usa2can I remember since you had a similar experience of moving from the US, I was wondering if you have any thoughts on this customs question? Your help and time is much appreciated!


Since you haven’t set a base in canada yet (home/job/car/loan/etc), you are not yet considered a resident from tax purpose. For customs, they look at your immigration status, and from that perspective, although you are a landed immigrant, but for the same reason of no bonding with Canada, in my opinion, you are a new resident.

About the GTF, almost everyone fills a GTF when landing first time. That’s the safest approach.
But I have also heard of incidents in which folks were able to explain why they did not provide a GTF earlier, as the move was long time in future. You have no choice but to take this chance and it should be fine.

1 Like

Thank you very much @usa2can! Since you had used a moving company too, I was hoping you can help with some more information about this. Is this GTF form something the moving company gives us as part of the customs documents they make us fill? And do I have to give anything to the border agent at the airport or it can completely handled once my moving truck reaches Toronto at the transport hub (customs) center and they call me to sign on it etc.? Appreciate your help, thanks!

You can fill the GTF form beforehand after downloading it from CBSA website. It’s a simple form requiring basic information. However, what’s more important is the actual GTF list that will mention all items you intend to take with you or which you will move from a foreign country to Canada.
If you don’t fill the GTF form, the customs folks will fill it for you but you still need to give the list.

Your case has some complications, most of us handed over the GTF form/list to customs on our soft landing. you didn’t .

I would advise, that when you are landing in for your permanent move, go to the customs officer (just before exiting airport, ask them that you want to meet the customs officer for goods to follow list). They will redirect you to the customs bay, then you need to explain them the whole situation that since you did not intended to move permanently during (soft) first landing, so there was no need to provide GTF.

Good luck.

1 Like

Thanks for detailed response @usa2can! Appreciate your time and help!

@usa2can @avj I recently spoke to someone who moved to Canada on a work visa from US and he told me that he did not fill GTF form at airport and did not have to show it at the customs as well when the good arrived in Toronto with movers. Just wondering if moving with PR and moving on work visa is different when it comes to customs; considering that both parties intend to settle in Canada for more than one year. Just wanted to know if you have any thoughts on this. Thanks! Appreciate your time.

That is true. On a work permit, you are not showing immigration intent directly. Work permit is for a period of upto 2 years and then renewed. You should also ask him about the Car import (if he has done it).
On a work permit, you can drive your US registered car for upto 36 months and no need to register it in Canada. Saves a lot of hassle and money involved in the import process :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks @usa2can, I asked him the same and he did import a car from US. But in his case, he said it seems only up to 2 months was allowed so he had to register in Canada.

@usa2can @avj Do you by any chance know if there is a way contact Canadian customs for such questions? Thanks!