Board Crossing From Canada Custom Clarence Process





People are often surprised at the complexity of the U.S. Canada trade process and underestimate the resources necessary to ensure full compliance. Many businesses mistakenly assume that these two neighborhood countries with shared borders, shared language, common values—that cross-border shipments must be a piece of cake. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Recently Canada and the US just reached a new agreement USMCA in replacement of NAFTA. I cannot get to this new agreement yet some regulations details are not 100% finalized so it is still on my watch list. Today I would love to share with you the general border crossing importing process by truck from Canada to the USA.


3 ways move goods from Canada to the USA

  1. By air

  2. Book the vessel to the port of Canada ( usually it is Halifax port) and loaded to the rail ( usually it is Canadian National Railway) and move to Chicago, Detroit, or Buffalo, etc.

  3. Bring the goods by highway carrier or truck into the United States directly ( usually via the Ambassador Bridge)

The former two are not in discussion scope here. We want to focus on method 3 here.



Documentations for your US Custom Broker


Remember to supply the full pre-alert documentation to your broker BEFORE truck drive across the border!


Remember to supply the full pre-alert documentation to your broker BEFORE truck drive across the border!


Remember to supply the full pre-alert documentation to your broker BEFORE truck drive across the border!


Important things need to be repeated for three times. :)


When your trucker stuck at the customs warehouse at the border without entry/ immediate delivery form from the broker, it could cause a big delay and a lot of problems.


  • Bill of Lading (BOL)

  • Commercial Invoice and packing list

  • NAFTA Certificate

  • Arrival Notice with PAPS Number, port code of crossing, the goods arriving location firms code, the carrier's contact and the estimated time of arrival


What is PAPS Number?


Now you may ask what is PAPS number?


PAPS number, known as pre-arriving processing system number, is a type of Shipment Control Number (SCN) assigned to all shipments requiring pre-arrival clearance. The PAPS number is a combination of 4 digit SCAC code plus numbers. SCAC code is to identify carrier or transportation companies, for example, ANPE stands for ANT corp, RDWY stands for Roadway Express Inc.


At pickup, the carrier will generate its own PAPS number. They would make sure this number is affixed in the actual shipment label. PAPS number shall also be included in the arrival notice to send to US broker by email or fax. Also the carrier must ensure that an ACE eManifest is complete with the PAPS number. After the CBP accepts the broker’s entry information and the carrier’s ACE eManifest, the goods can cross the border. The PAPS number is the common denominator between the broker’s border-crossing information and the carrier’s ACE eManifest submission. We know that Canada has a different customs clearance system than the US, therefore PAPS number is a very important common connector on both sides.


Once the entry submission and PAPS number is transmitted into e-manifest, both CBSA( Canada Board Service Agent) and US CBP will release the entry within minutes unless an examination or further processing is required


Final thoughts


The US is a huge market for Canada. every year Canda exports to US oil, natural gas, and agriculture products. When choosing the US custom brokerage firm, it is essential to choose wisely to help you seamless board crossing experience and trade compliance requirements.

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