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Customs Clearance: Which documents are required?

When completing a shipment order, it is important to attach the appropriate documentation to ensure that a customs broker can efficiently complete your clearance for cross border shipments. 

The documentation required includes: 

  1. Commercial Invoice: The commercial invoice is necessary to assign customs duties at the border. This is the legally documented exchange between the supplier and customer which comprehensively describes the goods sold and the amount owed by the customer. 
  2. Origin certificates: If a package is to be imported duty-free under the applicable trade agreement, this documentation is important to attach. Trade agreements include the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA or USMCA). 
  3. Partnered Government Agency (PGA) documents: A Partnered Government Agency (PGA) regulates specific imports on behalf of the United States federal government. Different items fall under different PGAs. Any item that falls under a PGA regulation will most likely need specific permits and documentation to complete a shipment, which can be found in the PGA import guides. 
  4. Bill of Lading (BOL): The BOL is a legally binding document between the carrier and shipper which provides the carrier driver with all the necessary information to process and invoice the shipment correctly. With OpenBorder shipping, the BOL is emailed to customers after completion of their shipping order. The Bill of Lading could include: 
    1. Master Bill Number (US Clearance) 
    2. PARS (Pre-Arrival Review System) or CCN (Cargo control number) Number (Canada Clearance) 
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