Entering Canada

NEXUS card holders and other Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) members have certain privileges that enable faster entry into Canada. One of the expedited services for NEXUS card holders is being able to speed up the customs declaration procedure by using form E601 –  Traveler Declaration Card (TDC) for declaring personal goods instead of the regular form E311 – Customs Declaration Card.

You must use form E311 if the goods purchased outside of Canada are not intended for your personal use and are identified as commercial goods.

Commercial goods are those imported for sale and/or resale or for any commercial, industrial, occupational, institutional or similar use, including samples, tools and warranty repair parts. To determine the nature and the category of your purchased good use form E604 – TDC Tariff Guide. A shorter version of the Tariff Guide is attached to the back of the form E601 to help you fill out the form with ease.

The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) will use the credit card information provided in the form to calculate and charge any customs and duties you must pay on the purchased goods.

You must keep your NEXUS card with you at all times in order to be able to use its privileges. All passengers that travel with you in the same vehicle must also own a NEXUS card or they will be asked to complete a standard customs declaration procedure, which can delay your border crossing procedure.


Who, When, and How Can You Use NEXUS Card Privileges to Declare for Customs

With some exceptions, all NEXUS cardholders can use the TDC form to declare at the port of entry. Certain goods, such as non-duty paid cigars and cigarettes, cigarillos, tobacco sticks, as well as restricted and prohibited items, must be declared in the regular lane or using the cashier option on NEXUS kiosks. The list of restricted or prohibited items includes the following goods:

  • All weapons and firearms;
  • Explosives, fireworks, and ammunition (you must obtain a special license);
  • Food, plants, animals, and related products, including cannabis;
  • Vehicles (you need special documentation);
  • Certain consumer products which are not in line with the Canadian laws, for instance, with safety regulations.
  • Currency in an amount of CAN$10,000 or higher.

The Traveler Declaration Card (TDC) is only available when you arrive by land or by air and needs to be filled prior to your arrival to save time.

If you decide to use marine travel to enter Canada, you must declare all personal goods obtained outside of Canada by reporting the goods to a CBSA officer. This can be done by contacting the NEXUS Telephone Reporting Centre at 1-866-99-NEXUS (1-866-996-3987). (If you are entering the U.S. from Canada with your NEXUS card, you can make an oral declaration of the personal goods you carry with you.)

Most NEXUS users use their cards in NEXUS lanes at the border and will, therefore, be able to use the full NEXUS card customs privileges associated with the TDC.

Please note that U.S. citizens who are members of the NEXUS card program and are conjointly subject to a personal exemption for certain imported goods can make an oral declaration at Customs. Canadian residents must either fill out form E311 in the general procedure or the TDC form online before they arrive at the point of entry (POE) or in person, as they arrive at the POE.

Keep in mind that the paper TDC booklets and forms will be fully replaced by their digital versions soon. If it is your intention to avoid waiting in lines at the airport, it is best if you complete your TDC prior to arrival. You can also save the TDC on your computer and change only the necessary details for each trip.


How to Complete the Traveler Declaration Card (TDC)

The almost completed form which you have kept on your computer can include your personal details, which you can finalize with information about the purchased goods as you arrive in the lane or at the airport. You must use a black pen and printed letters when completing the form manually.


Step-by-step Guide for Completing the Travel Declaration Card (TDC)

Step 1. Visit the CBSA website to download your TDC form or use the one saved on your computer.

Step 2. Fill in your credit card information details, as well as your personal identification number (PIN), which, for NEXUS holders, is the 9-digit PASS ID number on your membership card. Make sure you complete your name as it appears on the credit card. Your personal information must be up-to-date as recorded in the Canadian Processing Centres. You can use Visa, MasterCard or American Express cards in the form to pay for duties and taxes.

Step 3. Declare goods on the TDC form in writing or electronically by selecting the categories for the imported goods. You must declare goods in a single currency, either in Canadian or in U.S. dollars. You should not split the amount.

Step 4. Indicate personal exemptions, which for NEXUS card holders include the following:

  1. No exemptions for cross-border (less than 24-hour stay) shoppers.
  2. Exemptions for 24-48 hour stays include duty-free goods worth up to CAN$200, excluding alcohol and tobacco.
  3. Exemptions for 7 days or more stays include duty-free goods worth up to CAN$800, up to 1.5 litres of wine or 1.14 litres of alcoholic beverages or up to 8.5 litres of beer, 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 200 grams of manufactured tobacco and 200 tobacco sticks.

Make sure you meet the age requirements for importing specific goods in the relevant province.

Step 5. Tick the box confirming that you agree to the terms and conditions of the Trusted Traveller Program.

Step 6. Sign and print the form.

Step 7. Drop it off in the assigned TDC boxes near self-service airport kiosks or near officer’s booths at TTP designated lanes.

The Traveler Declaration Card must be used by each holder of a NEXUS card independently, one person per form.


Unless you carry your NEXUS card with you, you will need to use your passport for entry into Canada and be subject to standard customs declaration procedures. Further information about using Primary Information Kiosks or the e-Declaration mobile app to complete the regular customs procedure can be found in this guide to your Rights at the Border During the Standard Customs Procedure.