The Cheapest Ways to Ship to the US from Canada

by
July 9, 2020

The US is Canada’s largest trade partner by a wide margin. Canada exchanges over $500,000,000,000 in goods with the US each year. Because of this close relationship, shipping across the border to the US is not particularly difficult. So, basically, if you properly document your contents, and don’t ship banned items, you should be fine.

Cheapest Way to Ship to the US

The US is almost always every Canadian merchant’s first international market. Luckily it can be is an affordable international market to break into. These are the most affordable ways to get your orders to your American customers.

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Under 1 Kilogram

Canada Post Small Packet Air is the most common and cost-effective way to ship parcels to the US from Canada. Best of all, it can reach many American metro areas in 4 business days.

Under 2 Kilograms

Canada Post Tracked Packet is a slightly more expedited shipping service than Canada Post Small Packet Air. It generally reaches its final destination in 4-7 business days.

For a list of surcharges you can accrue when shipping with Canada Post to the US, read here.

Heavier Parcels

Other services, particularly for heavier parcels, that merchants commonly use to ship to the United States are Canada Post Expedited Parcel, FedEx Ground, UPS Standard/Ground, and Purolator Ground. These services offer roughly the same services with a delivery timeframe of around 3-7 business days—depending on distance.

How to Create Customs Forms

As with all international shipments, parcels shipped to the US require customs forms.

For most Canada Post services, the customs declarations appear on the label. So, there is no additional documentation you need to provide beyond the label.

FedEx, DHL, and UPS require commercial invoices for international shipments. While these forms are required, it is possible to submit these electronically via EDI and ETD.

CUSTOMS COST

The US does have a few regulations for items purchased online. To get more of a breakdown on costs and regulations, the US Customs and Border Patrol has detailed resources around what to expect. (or payor if selected).  

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ITEMS PROHIBITED FROM SHIPPING

Be aware that some items will not pass US customs. There’s a lot of items between Kinder eggs and Syrian petroleum that won’t reach their final delivery. Here are a few commonly rejected items:

  • All pipes related to the use of illicit drugs such as ‘smoking pipes’ used as drug paraphernalia
  • Even if you’re shipping somewhere like Denver, hemp products such as cosmetics, clothing, food, etc. that contains tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) will be trashed.
  • Alcohol beverages
  • Animals, such as birds, fish, reptiles, dead animals or animals that have been mounted
  • Articles of unusual value, such as priceless art, jewelry, collectibles and antiques
  • Fur
  • Tobacco, cigarettes, tobacco products
  • For a full list of prohibited, read this.
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