Customs Requirements (CBP & CBSA)
Crossing The U.S. And Canada As A Commercial Highway Carrier
This page provides a quick overview of what is required to cross into the U.S. and Canada as a commercial highway carrier.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Cross-Border Requirements
Getting a USDOT Number Or MC Number
To cross into the United States as a commercial highway carrier, you must first apply with the U.S. Department of Transportation as a commercial carrier, and register to get a DOT number or an MC Number depending on your vehicle.
Getting a Standard Carrier Alpha Code
After you have been given a USDOT Number or MC Number, you then qualify to register for a Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) with National Motor Freight Traffic Association. This provides carrier data to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and shows that you are an approved carrier to do business in the U.S.
Using PAPS Bar Code Labels
Once you have a SCAC Code, you can then use that unique 4 character code for Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS) bar code labels.
PAPS bar code labels can be used to provide customs brokers what your shipment control number is. It also helps CBP officers easily process your clearance at the port of entry.
Becoming a FAST Approved Highway Carrier
Although this isn't a requirement to cross into the U.S. as a commercial highway carrier, becoming a FAST approved highway carrier has additional benefits.
The Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program is a commercial clearance program for known low-risk shipments entering the United States from Canada and Mexico. This trusted traveler/trusted shipper program allows expedited processing for commercial carriers who have completed background checks and fulfill certain eligibility requirements.
Using NCAP/FAST Lead Sheets
Once a highway carrier becomes FAST approved, they can begin to take FAST shipments with FAST drivers.
FAST shipments are processed through a separate system called National Customs Automation Program (NCAP). Drivers arriving at the port of entry declare these shipments with NCAP/FAST Lead Sheets, which provides the name of the carrier and unique shipment control number.
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Cross-Border Requirements
Getting a CVOR
To cross into the Canada as a commercial highway carrier, you must first register with the provincial authority as a commercial carrier. To apply for a Commercial Vehicle Operator's Registration (CVOR) in the province of Ontario or for any other province, apply below.
Getting a Highway Carrier Code from CBSA
Once a company is registered with transportation authority in a province they wish to do business in, they can apply to transport into Canada commercially and apply for a Highway Carrier Code from Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
Register for a Highway Carrier Code (Bonded and non-Bonded)
Using PARS Bar Code Labels
Once you have a Highway Carrier Code with CBSA, you can then use that unique 4 character alpha-numeric code for Pre-arrival Review System (PARS) bar code labels.
PARS bar code labels can be used to provide Canadian customs brokers what your cargo control number (CCN) is. It also helps CBSA officers easily process your clearance at the port of arrival.
Becoming a CSA Approved Highway Carrier
Although this isn't a requirement to cross into the Canada as a commercial highway carrier, becoming a CSA approved highway carrier has additional benefits.
CSA approved highway carriers and drivers have the option of clearing CSA-eligible goods more quickly at the border once identification confirms that the importer, carrier and driver have been pre-approved.