Canada and the United States are close neighbours. It is true we speak a common language and are each other’s largest trading partners. However, we don’t share the right to move freely between the two countries to work and live. Each country has its own immigration rules and regulations. The following information will help you to plan for moving to the US:

Immigration to the US

You must first go through the proper process to be granted status in the United States before importing your possessions into the country. You will require a work visa or be sponsored by a US family member who is a US citizen (not just a permanent resident) to be allowed to move to the United States.

There are various categories of US work visas depending on your specific occupation or your professional and academic qualifications. Check with US Immigration and Citizenship for complete information.

Shipping Household Goods to the US

If you are planning to ship your furniture and other household possessions to the US, first consult a moving company with expertise in this area. To avoid paying US duties and taxes, the household goods must be in your possession and used for one year prior to shipping them to the US.

The moving company can assist you in completing the US Customs form, known as the “3299″ Declaration For Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles. This form authorizes the moving company to act as your agent to have your shipment cleared for entry at the US border. 


The moving company must have all your completed documentation before proceeding to the border with your possessions on their truck. If the paperwork is not in order, US Customs will turn the truck back. This means you will incur additional costs to return the goods to their point of origin in Canada.

The paperwork includes a copy of passports for every family member (or birth certificates for children under 14), proof that your work visa has been granted, proof that your status has been cleared by US immigration (I94 record), and the completed 3299 form. If you are a snowbird, proof of a Canadian residence will also be required.

Your moving company representative can assist you in completing the US Customs declaration form #3299, but here are a few important points to keep in mind:

  • Residency – as someone moving to the US for the first time on a work visa, you are considered a “Non-Resident.”
  • Returning US Citizens – if you have lived outside of the US for two or more years, then you too are considered a “non-resident” for purposes of the 3299 form
  • Emigrating to the United States – you should only check this box if you have been granted permanent resident status in the US –called Green Card status.

For more information on moving to the US or any other questions about the Customs Declaration Form, contact the experts at Premiere Van Lines toll-free at 1-877-671-6683.