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New Cross-Border Rules: The Breakdown

U.S and Canada border closes amidst pandemic

Canadians are now allowed to bring back more goods duty-free when they shop in the U.S.

Here’s a breakdown of the new rules for cross-border shopping for Canadians travelling to the U.S:

Visits less than 24 hours

The rules remain unchanged. There is no personal exemption and all goods are expected to be declared at the border.

24 to 48 hours

If you travel to the U.S. for more than 24 hours but less than 48 hours, you will be able to bring back $200 worth of tax-exempt goods. It used to be Canadians could only declare $50 of purchased goods after an overnight trip across the border.

More than 48 hours

The limit is now $800 if you’re out of the country for between two and seven days – double the previous limit. The limit for those gone for more than a week is up to $800, up from $750.


Children and infants are also entitled to a personal exemption. Parents can make a declaration to border agents for a child, as long as the goods are for the child’s use.


Limits for alcohol and tobacco exemptions remain unchanged. If you have been outside Canada for at least 48 hours and are of legal age you can bring back in these amounts of alcohol and tobacco duty-free:

Alcoholic beverages:

1.14 L (40 oz.) of liquor; or
1.5 L of wine (two regular bottles);
or 24 X 355 ml (12 oz.) containers of beer.

Tobacco products (all of the following):

200 cigarettes;
50 cigars or cigarillos;
200 tobacco sticks; and
200 g (7 oz.) of manufactured tobacco.

If you bring in more than the free allowance of alcohol or tobacco, you will be required to pay the applicable duties and taxes.

You are technically allowed to bring back any amount of goods as long as you’re willing to pay the duties and any provincial taxes that may apply.

There are more than 50 million visits to the U.S. by Canadian residents annually.

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