International Import Certificates

Important note: An International Import Certificate is meant to allow a foreign supplier to obtain the approvals it needs from its own government to allow the export of goods or technology to Canada. An International Import Certificate does not authorize the import of goods into Canada.

The International Import Certificate is an end-use assurance document that formally recognizes that the Government of Canada is aware of, and has no immediate objections to, the proposed import of specific goods to Canada by the stated importer, for the stated end-use and end-user. A Canadian-issued International Import Certificate may be required by an exporting country prior to that country authorizing an export permit/license. Canadian International Import Certificates are issued to Canadian applicants, who in turn provide a copy to their foreign suppliers, who use the International Import Certificates to obtain a foreign export permit. The International Import Certificate is used by the export control authorities of the exporting state in their export permit/license issuance process. Once approved, the International Import Certificate is valid for use only if presented to the authorities of the exporting state within six months of its issuance by Canada.

How to apply for an International Import Certificate

Applications for International Import Certificates may be submitted online using Export Controls On-Line (NEXCOL) (from the NEXCOL home page, click on International Import Certificate on the left-hand menu bar). Paper application forms are also available at on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada website. An application for an International Import Certificate must present an accurate and complete reflection of the proposed transaction. The International Import Certificate is a stand-alone document, meaning that the issued document will not be supplemented by attachments, invoices, statements, or letters at the time of issuance. The application should include the following information:

  • Description: Name of the goods, including, where possible, models, brand names, part numbers, serial numbers, and so on. Each type of product should be entered on a separate line on the application. The Import Certificate Regulations require that item descriptions must "describe the goods concerned in sufficient detail as to disclose their true identity and, in so doing, avoid the use of trade names, technical names or general terms that do not adequately describe the goods".
  • Quantity: for each line item, state the number of units. Where quantity is given as a weight or volume, the unit of measure must be stated in the Description field.
  • Value: for each line item, state the value of the total quantity of units imported. Currency used for value must be indicated on the application (e.g. CAD, USD, EUR, GBP, or YEN).
  • End-User: applicants must state the End-Use and End-User of the goods in Canada. Goods imported under an International Import Certificate and incorporated into final goods for re-export may be subject to export controls.

International Import Certificates for Firearms, Firearms-Related Goods, and Ammunition

In addition to the general information above, applications for International Import Certificates to import firearms, firearms-related goods, and ammunition should include the following information:

  • Description: You must include the make, model, type, action, calibre and Canadian legal classification of any firearm proposed for import. If cartridge magazines are proposed for import, the magazine capacity, and the model of firearm and calibre for which the magazine is intended should be noted in order to determine whether the item is a prohibited device under Canadian law. Cartridges and reloading components should be clearly noted as such and should also list the applicable calibre. Parts for firearms must be clearly described.
  • Quantity: Units of measure should be noted within the item description to correlate the quantity and value stated on the International Import Certificate application; e.g. quantity of gunpowder for reloading is noted in pounds; cartridge cases are noted as units; ammunition is noted in boxes of 20 (if quantity is expressed in number of boxes), and so on.
  • Supporting documents: Applicants may be requested to submit a copy of a valid Firearms Possession and Acquisition License or Firearms Business License to confirm their eligibility to receive the items proposed for import. International Import Certificates will not be issued to applicants who are unable to legally possess the requested materials in Canada. This documentation may be attached to the International Import Certificate application at time of submission to expedite the evaluation process.

Incomplete export permit applications (e.g. without supporting documentation) may take longer to process and may be returned to the applicant without action.