How to Get an Export License in Canada

How to Get an Export License in Canada

If you are a professional trader looking to import and export goods to and from Canada, you will need to obtain an import-export license. An import-export license is a document issued by the Canadian government that allows traders to import and export specific goods to and from Canada. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to get an import-export license in Canada.

Understanding Canadian Import-Export Regulations

Before applying for an import-export license, it is important to understand the regulations and requirements set by the Canadian government. These regulations and requirements are enforced by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to ensure that all imported and exported goods comply with Canadian laws. Here are some key regulations and requirements to keep in mind:

  • Product-Specific Regulations: Certain products, such as firearms, drugs, and food, may have specific regulations and requirements that must be met before they can be imported or exported to or from Canada. Traders must ensure that their goods comply with these regulations before applying for an import-export license.
  • Tariffs and Taxes: Imported and exported goods may be subject to tariffs and taxes, which vary depending on the type and value of the goods. Traders must be aware of these costs and factor them into their pricing and budgeting.
  • Country of Origin: The country of origin of the goods may affect their eligibility for import or export to or from Canada. Traders must ensure that their goods are eligible for import or export based on their country of origin.

Applying for an Import-Export License

Once you have a good understanding of Canadian import-export regulations, the next step is to apply for an import-export license. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Determine if you need an import-export license: Not all goods require an import-export license. You can check with the CBSA and CRA to determine if your goods require a license.
  2. Obtain a Business Number: You will need a Business Number (BN) to apply for an import-export license. You can obtain a BN from the CRA.
  3. Register for an Import-Export Program Account: You will need to register for an Import-Export Program Account (IEPA) with the CBSA. This account will allow you to apply for an import-export license and pay any applicable fees.
  4. Determine the type of import-export license you need: There are several types of import-export licenses, including general licenses, specific licenses, and quotas. You can determine which type of license you need by checking with the CBSA and CRA.
  5. Complete the Import-Export License Application: You can apply for an import-export license using the online portal provided by the CBSA. You will need to provide information about your business, the goods you wish to import or export, and the country of origin or destination.
  6. Pay any applicable fees: Some import-export licenses may require a fee. You can pay these fees through the online portal provided by the CBSA.

Importing and Exporting Goods to and from Canada

Once you have obtained your import-export license, you can begin importing and exporting your goods to and from Canada. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Customs Clearance: All imported and exported goods must go through customs clearance. This process involves declaring the goods to the CBSA and paying any applicable duties and taxes.
  • Freight Forwarding: Freight forwarding companies can help you with the shipping and logistics of your goods. They can arrange for transportation, customs clearance, and insurance.

Compliance with Regulations: Traders must ensure that their imported and exported goods comply with Canadian regulations and requirements. This includes product-specific regulations, tariffs and taxes, and country of origin requirements.

  • Documentation: Importers and exporters must keep accurate and up-to-date documentation, including invoices, bills of lading, and certificates of origin. This documentation is required for customs clearance and may be requested by government agencies.

Tips for Successful Import-Export Operations

Here are some tips for professional traders to successfully import and export goods to and from Canada:

  • Research your markets: Before importing or exporting goods, it is important to research your target markets. This includes understanding the demand for your products, the competition, and any cultural or language barriers.
  • Work with reputable partners: To ensure the safe and timely delivery of your goods, it is important to work with reputable partners, such as freight forwarders and customs brokers.
  • Stay up-to-date on regulations: Canadian import-export regulations can change frequently, so it is important to stay informed and up-to-date on any changes that may affect your business.
  • Develop strong relationships with suppliers and customers: Building strong relationships with your suppliers and customers can help to streamline your import-export operations and ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Consider hiring a customs broker: Customs brokers can help you navigate the complex regulations and requirements of importing and exporting goods to and from Canada.


Obtaining an import-export license in Canada is a crucial step for professional traders looking to expand their business into international markets. By understanding Canadian import-export regulations and following the steps outlined in this guide, traders can successfully obtain an import-export license and begin importing and exporting goods to and from Canada. As with any business venture, it is important to do your research, plan carefully, and work with reputable partners to ensure the success of your import-export operations.


Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top