Saving time upon arrival to Canada with an Advance CBSA Declaration

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: February 23, 2023

On January 31, 2023, Calgary International Airport introduced the availability of Advance Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Declarations, a feature intended to speed up the arrival process for incoming travellers from international locations.

Clearing customs by traditionally declaring items upon arrival at an airport can take a long time. In addition to time spent in customs processing, travellers often spend significant time with other administrative tasks, which for a new immigrant can include meeting with a CBSA officer and handling other standard procedural measures required as a new Canadian.

Fortunately, an Advance CBSA Declaration can speed up the processing timeline between when a newcomer to Canada steps off of their flight and departs the airport to truly begin the journey to their new home.

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Designed as an “innovative [way] to deliver a better and faster border experience for travellers entering Canada”, the CBSA press release notes that the implementation of Advance CBSA Declarations will allow “all travellers … arriving on international flights” who complete an Advance Declaration to speed up their arrival process at the airport by using “express lanes … available in the airport’s customs area [to] skip longer lineups for Primary Inspection Kiosks (PIK) machines.”

What is the purpose of Advance CBSA Declarations?

Advance CBSA Declarations provide travellers coming to Canada with the ability to submit their customs and immigration declaration forms prior to their arrival in this country.

How do you complete an Advance CBSA Declaration?

Advance CBSA Declarations can be completed and submitted through the ArriveCAN app “up to 72 hours in advance of … arrival” in Canada.

What are the benefits of completing an Advance CBSA Declaration?

In 2021, more than 11.79 million people travelled to Canada in the “transborder” and “other international” sectors. This does not include the more than 34.3 million passengers that came through Canada’s airports on domestic flights.

To that end, Advance CBSA Declarations can be vital to optimizing the arrival experience for immigrants and other newcomers to this country. This is because completing an Advance CBSA Declaration can help incoming travellers save time using PIKs upon arrival, resulting in shorter wait times at the border. In other words, this feature will expedite the arrival processing for immigrants and other incoming travellers from international locations.

Note: According to the Government of Canada, “early usage data” shows that traveller experience has been “30% faster at the kiosk” after using the Advance CBSA Declaration feature

Where are Advance CBSA Declarations available?

With Calgary International Airport’s introduction of Advance CBSA Declarations at the end of January, this feature is now available for “travellers arriving on international flights” from 7 airports across Canada.

Advance Declarations are available at:

  • Toronto Pearson
  • Montreal-Trudeau
  • Winnipeg Richardson
  • Vancouver International
  • Halifax
  • Quebec City Jean Lesage
  • Calgary International Airport

Additionally, CBSA expects this feature to be rolled out in the following three airports over the coming months: Edmonton International, Billy Bishop Toronto City, and Ottawa International.

Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration

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