Canadians get off in Victoria then disembark Seattle the next day - customs impact

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#1
SW Ontario
1,024 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Hi all,
I'll be on the Explorer round trip out of Seattle on Friday. The ship stops in Victoria the day before returning to Seattle. Do any Canadians (or anyone else for that matter) have any insights on the following:
If we get off in Victoria I understand we clear Canadian Customs. For Canadian citizens does that count as returning to Canada for duty free purposes? If so does that mean that the next day when we get off in Seattle and return home that day that we've only been out of the country for a day and thus have the much, much lower duty free allowance?

TIA for any insights on this one.
#2
Victoria, Canada
695 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Originally posted by cruzgryphon
Hi all,
I'll be on the Explorer round trip out of Seattle on Friday. The ship stops in Victoria the day before returning to Seattle. Do any Canadians (or anyone else for that matter) have any insights on the following:
If we get off in Victoria I understand we clear Canadian Customs. For Canadian citizens does that count as returning to Canada for duty free purposes? If so does that mean that the next day when we get off in Seattle and return home that day that we've only been out of the country for a day and thus have the much, much lower duty free allowance?

TIA for any insights on this one.
When I have done pacific cruises (LA to Vancouver with a stop in Victoria). You complete the Canada customers forms when you board the ship in LA. The cruise line collects the forms and presents them all together to Canada Customers on arrival in Victoria as that is the first stop. The entire ship is cleared. There are PA announcements for a couple people that Canada customers want to handle individually.

The following day in Vancouver, there is no customs, no passport control. You just collect your bags and walk out of the terminal since you we were cleared the day before in the Port of Victoria.

I would assume the same thing happens in your case. Customs clears the entire ship.

If I was in your case, I would argue that all your duty free items were cleared into Canada in Victoria and at that point you were charged any all tax that was due under what ever rules applied.

You are then taking items that were cleared back out of the country and then bringing them back in again. There should be no new duty. It is like driving your car into the US or taking a suitcase of clothing into the US and brining it back. There is nothing to declare since it was declared and cleared a day or two earlier.

Same thing are driving into the US and coming back to Canada. You car is ad personal belonging are not subject to duty as they were cleared when they were first imported.
#3
Alberta
2,403 Posts
Joined May 2004
I asked this question of Canada Customs in Victoria off a Cruise out of Seattle that stopped for the day in Victoria. Complicated by the fact that I did the White Pass Railway in Skagway so I was in the Yukon for 10 minutes earlier on the cruise. The uniform guys had not clue. this issue does not really come up to them as nobody takes their suitcases and thus their purchased items off in Victoria. I would contact Customs in Ottawa add ask. At worst you can explode some heads.
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Captain Canuck
#4
YVR & PDX
3,773 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
My read on the rules is the same as em-sk above - each block of time out of the country is separate. Since it sounds like you're on a Seattle RT cruzgryphon, you would actually gain a SECOND allowance for the period after leaving Victoria until you cross back into Canada (even if you head back from Seattle same day you might break 24hrs out of the country again). Deffo keep receipts with dates, and be aware that duty free booze bought onboard could be a sticking point - since you don't get to actually take it into Canada (they'll only hand it over on last evening) you can't count it as part of your longer 6 day block, but only your second block of time post-Victoria. Unless you hang in Seattle long enough to hit 48hrs again, no booze allowance for you! Same thing if you buy booze in a port and have it held until the end...

Personally I'm more concerned about case law on the immigration side of things than customs, as don't tend to buy more than a couple hundred bucks of stuff per trip - while we're not spending enough time in the US yet to be at serious risk of breaking the residency rules (120 days per year or less is always OK and we haven't hit triple digits yet) now that we do actually share data of comings & goings I've yet to see any clarification on partial days and how they'll be treated as part of that running total of 'days in the USA' - I've heard there's an ongoing case involving truck drivers crossing US territory on cross-'Canada' trips so fingers crossed that helps, but right now I don't know if they track exact times or just dates on the shared info.
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