What are Forms B4 & B4A that are required as you arrive in Canada as a PR
– by Adnan Kamal

Moving to Canada can be exciting, the fruit of a long tedious journey. However, there are a few formalities that you are required to complete as you’re moving to Canada for the first time as a Permanent Resident (PR). In this article we will be addressing the forms BSF186 & BSF186A; these forms are popularly known as B4 &B4A respectively.

When you first arrive in Canada there are certain documents that are crucial to your entry. They are your passport, PR Visa & Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR). The forms B4 & B4A are equally essential to your entry into Canada. However, it is not mandatory to fill these forms before you arrive but it surely will save you time after you land in Canada.

What are forms B4 & B4A?

Forms B4 & B4A are meant to be an account of all personal belongings; also known as a settler’s effect list. Any individual who is moving or returning to Canada with the intention of permanently living in Canada as a Permanent resident is required to fill these forms and present it at the first port of entry to a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer.

Form BSF186 (B4): This form is used to keep track of items that you are bringing with you at the time of entry. Any items you owned in your house prior to moving and you intend to carry them should be listed on this form. The purpose of this list is to assist the border officer in determining if you are required to pay duty tax on any of the items you are carrying. You are required to fill this form even if you do not have any items with you.

CBSA has a list of items that are permitted and restricted, and you can find that list to be pretty exhaustive as it covers everything.

Form BSF186A (B4A): This form is basically a good-to-follow list. This list helps in tracking all your items/goods that will be arriving in Canada with you or after you. This form is important as any of the items that you are getting shipped will not have any duty tax on them. However, if you don’t submit this form but have your items/goods arrive with you or at a later date, you will be required to pay the duty tax on them.

*Remember to keep two copies of both forms as one will be given to the CBSA officer. Both the copies will be stamped and signed by the officer, you will also be assigned a file number. You will be returned one completed copy of the form along with a receipt that you should keep safely.

How do I fill in these forms?

Form BSF186 (B4)

This form is divided in 6 parts and we will be discussing each part briefly to give you a fair idea as to how you can go about filling this form on your own.

Part 1 – Personal Information

In this section you are required to only fill in the parts that are not grey in color. Areas marked in grey are for the CBSA officer to fill in. Areas you should fill in are:

  1. Importers name (Your full name)
  2. Importers address (Your address in Canada)
  3. Country of Origin
  4. Country of Export

Part 2 – Itemized List of Goods

In this section you are required to list all the items you are bringing with you to Canada. Here’s a sample format that you could follow:

Sr. NumberItem Desc.Qty.Value ($CAD)

*Electronics should have their serial numbers mentioned.

In this list, you can create categories for each item that can be clubbed together to form a category (example: jeans, shirts, shorts (CLOTHES). This is recommended as the form will only have limited spacing, you can attach additional sheets to the form, where you have in detail elaborated on each category. This allows for more efficient tracking and also gives you room to add additional items at the last minute.

In this list, if you are carrying any precious ornaments or jewelry, you may be asked questions regarding them at your customs interview. In this form, be sure to describe your items in detail and in the cases of jewelry you should describe them as it is described in your insurance policy, a jewellers appraisal etc. You should also include photographs that are dated and signed by a jeweller or a gemologist. The reason for all this is to make your entry into Canada easier, as this will help easily identify your items.

Part 3 – Details of Vehicles for Import to Canada

If you’re importing your vehicle(s) to Canada, be sure to complete this section in detail. However, if you aren’t importing your vehicle be sure to leave this section as a blank or fill in “NA” in all the blanks.

Part 4 – Indicating Additional Goods

This is a very important part of the form as this is where you will be letting the border officer know that you have goods to follow. If you have goods to follow you need to indicate that by selecting two options on this form:

  1. Form BSF186A (B4A)
  2. Goods to Follow (Yes)

If you don’t have any goods to follow, you can simply select the option NO against the Goods to follow option.

However, it is important to understand that the form B4A is not only for items that are coming with you or will be arriving at a later date. The added benefit of this form is that you can get this form signed and stamped if you are bringing any items at a later future date, this will make sure you aren’t charged any duty tax on any of them.

Part 5 – Classification Type

In this section you are required to select a category that applies to your unique situation, so read each category carefully. There are 4 categories and the majority of the permanent residents choose the category of a “Settler” (you are required to fill in your landing date as well for this category).

Part 6 – Signature

At the end of the form you will be asked to fill in the following before you can sign the form.

  1. Signed at: Mention your country and city where you are filling the form
  2. Date of when you fill the form
  3. Signature (same as passport)

Form BSF186A (B4A)

In comparison to the form B4, this is a pretty straightforward and simple form to fill out. There are only 3 sections to this form. The added benefit of this list is it can be used for insurance purposes. As this list works as a manifest of items arriving in Canada, you are required to fill in the value for each item. In case of any damage or loss to your items, you can use this list to reclaim insurance for your items.

In this form, you can use as many additional sheets to outline in detail all your items.

Part 1 – Personal Information

In this section you are required to fill in the following:

  1. Importers name (Your full name)
  2. Number of pages you will be utilising
  3. Check the option of “List of Goods to Follow”

Do not fill in these sections, as they are meant for the CBSA officer:

  1. Document No:
  2. CBSA Stamp

Part 2 – List of Goods

As we saw for the form B4, where all items had to be explained in detail, over here you can list the items as categories or one line categories of items. You will also have to mention the value in $CAD.

In the case where items listed on this form are not shipped to Canada, you won’t face any consequence or penalty. As the sole purpose of this form is to allow you to ship whatever item you mention at any given point of time in the future.

Part 3 – Signature

At the end of this form, you are required to only provide your:

  1. Signature of the importer
  2. Date of filling the form

If you are attaching multiple sheets for your items, be sure to repeat this process on each sheet you attach.

To conclude this entire process, you are required to carry your stamped copy of B4A when you visit the Customs Office to receive your items in Canada. The customs officer will cross-check your copy of the form with theirs to ensure all items are the same, after which all your items will be released free of any taxes.

%d bloggers like this: