Trade incentives programs
Customs bonded warehouses

A customs bonded warehouse is a facility operated by the private sector but regulated by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Importing to a customs bonded warehouse

Companies participating in the Customs Bonded Warehouse Program  may qualify for a complete deferral of duty and taxes. If your company qualifies, you pay only the duty and taxes on the portion of goods entering the Canadian market. If you export those goods, you will not pay any duty.

You may find this program useful if:

You may either choose to operate your own warehouse, or use a facility already participating in this program.

While the goods are in the warehouse, they may undergo certain minor manipulations such as marking, labelling and repackaging.

To apply to operate a customs bonded warehouse

Complete and submit Form E401, Application for a Licence to Operate a Customs Bonded Warehouse to your local CBSA office.

The CBSA will review your application and schedule a visit to review the proposed site and your record-keeping system. When the CBSA approves your application, you will be issued a unique customs bonded warehouse licence number.

Both residents and non-residents may apply to operate a customs bonded warehouse.


Security is payable to the Receiver General for Canada. Generally,  operators of a Customs Bonded Warehouse must post security of, at minimum, 60% of the maximum total amount of duties and taxes payable at any time following the issuance of the licence.

Time limits

In most cases, you must remove imported goods within four years of the date they entered Canada. There are provisions for extending this time limit if the CBSA agrees that it is necessary.


The CBSA will periodically check that the warehouse is complying with requirements. However, it is the responsibility of the operator to ensure that proper controls are in place for all goods and to report any non-compliance to the CBSA immediately.

More information

For more information on the Customs Bonded Warehouse Program or to get an application form, contact your local CBSA office.

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