Moving to Canada

Relocating overseas?

Canada is the world’s second largest country and is nestled among modern cities and stunning scenery and is great for those that enjoy exploring the outdoors. An attractive factor to expats is the high quality healthcare, as well as the view of the Northern Lights in Newfoundland and whale watching off Vancouver.

The logistics of moving your effects to Canada may seem a lot to contemplate. However should you select us to carry out the shipment of your effects we will be on hand to help and advise you through the process.

We will sit down with you and discuss your individual requirements before drawing up a free, no-obligation quotation which is tailored to your needs.

If you chose to accept our quotation we’ll be on hand to guide you through the whole moving process. We will advise on preparing your items for shipment, the rules on importing items into Canada as well as the documentation you will need to complete. Once your goods have arrived in the country we will ensure they are delivered, placed in the room of your choice, unpacked and all the waste packing and wrapped removed.

Please feel free to call us to discuss your relocation further. We will be happy to talk you through the relocation process.

We have put together a Guide to Planning your Removal Overseas Download here


Documents you will require to ship your household goods to Canada;

  • A colour copy of your Passport.
  • B4E Form
  • A copy of your Immigration Papers
  • B4A Form; Packing list of goods which includes values & serial numbers of electrical goods
  • If you are shipping alcohol you will need to provide a Liquor Permit

You will be required to be in attendance during customs clearance as you will need to present your B4E form and inventory which would have been stamped by customs on your arrival in the country.

Timeframes & Schedule

Sole Use Containers

The quickest and most cost effective way to ship your household effects into Canada is by container which is for the sole use of your effects. Your effects are packed and wrapped by our crew and then loaded onto the container at your property.

Shipping containers generally come in two sizes;

  • 20ft. This container holds 1050 cu ft.; large enough to hold a 2- 3 bedroom house.
  • 40ft. This container holds 2100 cu ft.; large enough to hold a 3- 4 bedroom house

Shipment to Canada can take between 10 -12 weeks, with some allowance for seasonal fluctuations. You should then allow a further two weeks to clear customs before delivery to your new home.


Groupage shipping is a useful option to choose when moving a small amount of items abroad, the reason for this is that you only pay for the amount of space that you use within the container, with other people sharing the rest of the space with you. Shipment to Canada by groupage generally takes between 12- 14 weeks plus an additional 2 weeks to clear customs.

Shipping Cars*

Vehicles must be less than 15 years old and made for the Canadian market to be imported into the country.  In addition the vehicle must met all the emissions and safety standards required by Canadian law.

As with anywhere there will be a customs duty and tax to pay to Canadian Customs when importing vehicles into the country. An importation assessment will be made and this will include duty, excise tax and well as GST.

You will be required to prepare your car for shipment should you be granted an import licence. This includes ensuring it is cleaned and free from soil and debris (including the underside). We will be able to advise you further on the steps required.

To check if you are eligible to import your vehicle click here.

What can't I take?*

Certain items cannot be accepted under general conditions of carriage and storage e.g. explosives, flammable gasses, lithium batteries, poisons & toxins, scuba tanks, gas cylinders.

Below is a summary of some of the everyday items that are prohibited or restricted.

Prohibited Goods

The items listed below will be seized and destroyed.

  • All meat and meat by-products are prohibited while other food items are discouraged.
  • Items from endangered species such as furs and ivory.
  • Plants including seeds

Restricted Goods

Some everyday items which are restricted and will be dutiable;

  • Alcohol; High levels of customs duties are payable on alcohol.
  • Firearms

The above lists a by no means exhaustive. Further details on restricted and prohibited items can be found on the Canadian Border Services Agency website.

What isn't covered in the removal cost?*

It is important to discuss all aspects of the shipment with our surveyor including the collection and delivery addresses, storage requirements and any particularly precious of fragile pieces. This will ensure that we allow for aspect of the shipment within the removal quotation. Unless specifically requested, charges for storage, special lifting equipment, delivery above first floor and tranship due to limited access for a large vehicle are excluded from the quotation.

It is also prudent to budget for duties or customs charges that become payable on inspection of your goods in Canada as these charges are not include within the quotation.


Customs clearance can take 10-14 days, and you must be aware that your goods will be subject a physical inspection.

Duty and Tax

You are able to import your household possessions into Canada Duty and GST free as long as they have been owned and used by you prior to shipment and accompany you at the same time as your arrival in the country. If you sell any of the items you imported within 1 year of arrival you will be required to pay duty and tax on the sold items.

For Duty and tax free entry antiques should be over 100 years old and works of art should not be sold.

If you’re moving to Canada temporary your goods only qualify for duty and tax free entry as long as they are removed from Canada at the end of your residence permit.

What happens when my goods arrive at their destination?

When your consignment arrives at the destination port or airport our destination partner will contact you to arrange customs and quarantine formalities and a suitable date for delivery to your residence.

As we are managing your relocation we will have already ensured that all the correct documents have been completed to ensure your effects are not tied up in customs which can prove costly.

Upon delivery our destination partner will complete the unpacking of all items and position furniture at required and remove discarded packing materials.


We take the utmost care with every shipment and use specialist boxes and protective wrap to ensure your effects arrive safety in whichever corner of the globe you are moving. We do however recommend that you take out Marine Insurance as accidents can happen.

Cover is available on professionally packed goods for all risks of loss and/or damage in transit. Cover on owner packed boxes is limited to total loss only.

Please ensure your insure your items for full replacement value at destination, it is not advisable to under-insure your items.

We will provide you with an Insurance Proposal Form, which must be completed prior to the packing and collection date.

Insurance premiums are subject to Insurance Premium Tax (IPT), at the current rate. Please note that if you decline cover, we will rely upon our BAR Terms & Conditions (clause 8) in the unforeseen event of loss or damage, however caused.

*Please note rules, regulations and charges are subject to change and we advise all customers to obtain direct rulings from their destination customs authority.

Emigrating To Canada: What Else You Need To Know

Applying For A Canadian Visa

If you’re moving to Canada, you will of course also need to obtain residency. There are different routes for this depending on your individual circumstances and how long you intend to stay in the country.

If you are relocating to Canada to work for a temporary period of time (up to 2 years), and are between the age of 18-30, you can apply for the International Experience Canada Program (IEC).

If you are over the age of 30 and/or are looking to gain permanent residency, there are different options available to you that include:

Express Entry Route: This is a Canadian immigration program that allows immigrants to live and work in Canada as a skilled worker.

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTC): This enables those moving to Canada to gain permanent residency by working in a specific trade.

Family Sponsorship: Canadian citizens can sponsor relatives to live, study and work in Canada if they become permanent residents. 

Business Immigration: This is a potential option for entrepreneurs, investors or successful business persons who can demonstrate their ability to establish or invest in a business in Canada.

The requirements for becoming a permanent resident will depend on which of these avenues you choose to take. However you will be assessed for eligibility based on the following factors:

  • age
  • level of education
  • official language proficiency
  • second official language
  • Canadian work experience

You can explore which options for moving to Canada are most suitable for you, and apply for permanent residency on the Canadian government’s official website

Healthcare In Canada

There’s plenty to think about when moving to a new country, however one of your top priorities is certain to be healthcare. You’ll want to know how to access healthcare, and whether there are any costs involved in this when moving to Canada.

Canada has a universal healthcare system known as “Medicare” that’s funded through taxes, and any Canadian citizen or permanent resident can apply for public health insurance.Your health plan will be determined by the individual province and territory that you live in.

Once you’ve been added to the health system of your province or territory you’ll receive a health card that you show at hospitals and clinics to access non-emergency medical services. Your public health insurance should cover you for most health and emergency medical services free of charge. 

The Medicare system is not required to cover outpatient prescription drugs or dental care, however the services provided in this regard will vary between each territory and province. You can apply for private health insurance when moving to Canada to cover yourself for the services that are excluded from the public health system. This is an important option to consider when moving to Canada, once you’ve assessed what’s included in the public health plan provided by your individual province or territory.

Pet Relocation

If you’re moving to Canada then there’s no doubt that you’ll be needing to take your pets along with you. Luckily, as the UK is rabies free it’s easy to move your pets to Canada. However, it’s important that you have the correct paperwork and ensure that your pet has the following:

  • Microchip
  • Health Certificate (within 5 days of the flight)
  • Rabies Vaccination - if your pet doesn’t have a rabies vaccination they can have DEFRA export paperwork to confirm to the Canadian authorities that they are rabies free 

If you’re bringing pet birds into Canada, this is also subject to the control of the Canadian Wildlife Service (Convention On International Trade In Endangered Species - CITES). 

If you are travelling with a CITES-listed exotic pet when moving to Canada, you will require a permit. It is illegal to bring a CITES-listed animal across Canadian and many international borders without the appropriate CITES permit.