A business owner in British Columbia who is planning a trip to the United States to market a company’s products must ensure the appropriate documentation is in place for any commercial samples he or she will take across the border. Business travellers might find that the complexities of the U.S. immigration laws increase the complexity of such a business trip. Several options exist to facilitate the transportation of commercial samples across the border into the United States.
The suitable choice will likely depend on whether the business traveller plans to sell the samples as merchandise in the United States or to bring them back when returning to British Columbia. If the applicable import duty and taxes are paid upon crossing the border, the business owner will be free to move about the United States and to either sell the samples or export them into Canada again upon his or her return. Exporting the merchandise may allow a refund of duties if they are in the same condition as when they were imported.
If the commercial samples are only used to show prospective customers for the purpose of securing orders, the importer may bring the samples into the United States without paying duty under the Temporary Importation Under Bond (TIB) method. However, this is subject to conditions that prevent the samples from being sold, and the exportation of them within one year after importation. Exceptions exist that allow for the extension of the bond to three years.
There is also an option for samples to be carried back and forth across the border on an unlimited number of trips. This is the ATA Carnet, which is a guarantee for duty payments that are waived upon the importation of commercial samples, but duties will be due in the samples are not exported later. Choosing the best option might be challenging, but the support and guidance of a British Columbia law firm that deals with U.S. immigration laws every day might ease the process.