Your Complete Guide to USPS Shipping to Canada (2024)

USPS To Canada
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USPS Shipping to Canada

Shipping from the United States to Canada is a common need for businesses and individuals alike, but it can be complex due to customs, international regulations, and potential delays. The United States Postal Service (USPS) offers reliable and cost-effective solutions for shipping to Canada. This blog will explore the different USPS shipping options available, what you can expect in terms of costs and delivery times, and provide helpful tips to make your cross-border shipping experience as smooth as possible.

USPS Shipping Options to Canada

USPS offers several shipping services to Canada, each designed to accommodate different needs and budgets. Here’s a detailed look at these options:

1. USPS First-Class Package International Service

  • Delivery Time: Typically 11-20 business days.

  • Max Weight: Packages can weigh up to 4 lbs (1.81 kg) and have a maximum combined length and girth of 36 inches.

  • Best For: Cost-effective shipping for small packages like documents, clothing, and other lightweight items.

  • Features: It is the most affordable option but does not include detailed tracking or insurance.

2. Priority Mail International

  • Delivery Time: Delivery in 6-10 business days.

  • Max Weight: Packages can weigh up to 70 lbs (31.75 kg).

  • Best For: Faster delivery of packages without the premium cost of express services.

  • Features: Includes tracking and delivery updates, and options for insurance coverage.

3. Priority Mail Express International

  • Delivery Time: 3-5 business days.

  • Max Weight: Packages can weigh up to 70 lbs.

  • Best For: Urgent shipments that need to reach Canada quickly.

  • Features: Includes robust tracking, insurance, and date-certain delivery with a money-back guarantee to select destinations.

4. Global Express Guaranteed (GXG)

  • Delivery Time: 1-3 business days.

  • Max Weight: Packages can weigh up to 70 lbs.

  • Best For: The fastest USPS international shipping option, ideal for time-sensitive documents and parcels.

  • Features: Operated in conjunction with FedEx Express, GXG offers date-certain delivery with a money-back guarantee, detailed tracking, and competitive shipping rates.

Pricing Structure for USPS Shipping to Canada

When sending packages from the United States to Canada via USPS, understanding the various pricing structures for each mail class is essential. This detailed overview will help you navigate USPS postage costs and make the best choice for your shipping needs based on delivery time, rates, and tracking availability.

1. Priority Mail Express International

  • Delivery Time: 3 to 5 business days.

  • Rates: Starts at $44.95. This service is priced based on weight and the destination zone. As the fastest USPS service available for international shipping, it's ideal for urgent deliveries.

  • Tracking: Included with each shipment, offering detailed tracking and date-specific delivery, which can be crucial for time-sensitive items.

2. Priority Mail Express International Flat Rate (Envelopes)

  • Delivery Time: 3 to 5 business days.

  • Rates: Fixed rate starting at $44.95 for Flat Rate Envelopes. This option is perfect for documents or any materials that can fit into an envelope, providing a cost-effective solution for expedited shipping needs.

  • Tracking: Included, with the benefit of date-specific delivery guarantees, providing peace of mind for critical shipments.

3. Priority Mail International

  • Delivery Time: 6 to 10 business days.

  • Rates: Starts at $42.95. The cost varies based on the weight and size of the package and the destination zone. This service strikes a balance between cost and speed, making it a popular choice for less urgent shipments that still require reliable delivery.

  • Tracking: Included, allowing you to monitor your shipment’s progress and providing added security for your international deliveries.

4. First Class Package International Service

  • Delivery Time: 11 to 20 business days.

  • Rates: Starts at $14.11, making it the most economical choice for shipping small packages internationally. Rates depend on the weight and destination.

  • Tracking: Included for select countries. This service offers basic tracking for packages up to 4 lbs, making it an excellent option for low-cost, non-urgent shipments.

Using the USPS Postage Price Calculator

To accurately estimate the shipping costs for your package to Canada, utilizing the USPS Postage Price Calculator is recommended. This tool allows you to input specific details about your package, including weight, dimensions, and destination, to provide a precise cost estimate and compare different shipping options. Here’s how to make the most of this tool:

  • Access the Tool: Visit the USPS website and navigate to the Postage Price Calculator.

  • Enter Package Details: Input the package’s origin ZIP code, destination in Canada, mailing date, and package details (weight and dimensions).

  • Compare Options: Review the shipping options provided, including costs and estimated delivery times, to select the service that best meets your requirements in terms of budget and speed.

Customs and Import Regulations for Shipping to Canada

When sending packages from the United States to Canada via USPS, navigating the customs and import regulations is crucial for ensuring your shipments reach their destination without delays or additional costs. Here's an in-depth look at the necessary customs forms, potential duties and taxes, and guidelines on restricted and prohibited items.

Customs Forms and Documentation

For every package shipped to Canada, you must complete the appropriate customs forms. This is essential for the clearance process by Canadian customs authorities and helps ensure your package isn't held up or returned. Here’s how to manage this process:

  • Which Forms to Use: For most USPS shipments to Canada, including Priority Mail International and First-Class Package International, the required form is the Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note (CP 72). For smaller items or documents sent via Priority Mail Express International, you'll use Form 2976-B.

  • Where to Find Forms: These forms are available at all USPS branches and can also be completed online through the USPS website. Completing forms online can reduce errors and save time at the post office.

  • Information Required: You’ll need to provide detailed information about the package's contents, including the value, quantity, and a detailed description of each item. Accurate declarations will help avoid customs delays.

Duties and Taxes

Packages entering Canada may be subject to duties and taxes, which are typically the responsibility of the recipient. Understanding this aspect is crucial for both senders and recipients:

  • Duty Rates: Duties depend on the type of goods being shipped and their value. Rates can vary widely, with different categories for items such as gifts, commercial products, or personal use items.

  • Taxes: In addition to duties, Canada applies a Goods and Services Tax (GST) and sometimes a Provincial Sales Tax (PST) or Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), depending on the destination province.

  • Payment: Recipients will generally pay duties and taxes before or upon delivery. As a sender, providing clear communication to your recipients about these potential costs is helpful.

Prohibited and Restricted Items

Certain items are restricted or entirely prohibited from entry into Canada, and sending these can result in your package being seized, returned, or destroyed. Here are key points to consider:

  • Common Prohibited Items: Weapons and firearms, certain fruits and vegetables, animal products, and items protected under the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) such as ivory.

  • Restricted Items: Alcohol, tobacco products, and dairy require special permissions or licenses. Prescription medications and medical devices also have strict regulations.

  • Resources for Information: The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website provides a comprehensive list of prohibited and restricted items. Consulting this resource before shipping can prevent legal issues and shipment confiscation.

Packing and Labeling Tips

  • Secure Packaging: Use sturdy boxes, cushion items within the package, and seal it securely.

  • Labeling: Clearly label your package with both the sender’s and recipient’s addresses. Make sure the customs forms are filled out accurately and attached to the outside of the package.


Shipping from the US to Canada via USPS is a practical option that balances cost and delivery speed. Whether you’re sending a birthday gift, business documents, or selling products internationally, understanding the different USPS shipping services and their specific features can help you select the best option for your needs. Properly preparing and understanding the customs process will ensure your package arrives in Canada smoothly and without unexpected delays or costs.

Shipping to Canada with USPS (FAQs)

1. What customs forms do I need to include when shipping to Canada with USPS?

  • For most packages, you'll need to complete the Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note (CP 72). For smaller items or documents sent via Priority Mail Express International, use Form 2976-B. These forms can be found at USPS branches or completed online.

2. Are there duties and taxes when shipping to Canada?

  • Yes, shipments to Canada may be subject to duties and taxes which are usually paid by the recipient. These charges depend on the item's value, type, and the regulations of the destination province.

3. What items are prohibited from being shipped to Canada?

  • Certain items such as weapons, certain agricultural products, and animal products are prohibited. Restricted items can include alcohol, tobacco, and dairy, which may require additional permits or licenses.

4. How can I estimate the cost of shipping a package to Canada?

  • You can use the USPS Postage Price Calculator available on the USPS website. It provides an estimate based on the weight, size, and destination of your package.

5. How long does it typically take for a package to reach Canada using USPS?

  • Delivery times vary by service: USPS First-Class Package International Service typically takes 11-20 business days, Priority Mail International around 6-10 business days, and Priority Mail Express International between 3-5 business days.

6. Can I track my package shipped to Canada?

  • Yes, USPS provides tracking for packages sent to Canada. You can track your shipment using the tracking number provided at the time of shipping either on the USPS website or through their mobile app.

7. What should I do if my package is held up in Canadian customs?

  • If your package is held by customs, it may be due to missing documentation or unpaid duties and taxes. The recipient may need to contact the local customs office to resolve these issues. You can also track the package status for updates.

8. Can I ship electronics to Canada?

  • Yes, you can ship electronics to Canada, but it's important to ensure they are properly packaged and declared. Batteries, particularly lithium batteries, may have additional restrictions or packaging requirements.

9. What is the maximum weight for a package sent to Canada via USPS?

  • The maximum weight limit for USPS international shipments, including to Canada, is 70 lbs (31.75 kg) for most mail classes.

10. How do I prepare a package for shipping to Canada?

  • Ensure the package is securely sealed and properly labeled with both the sender's and recipient's addresses. Complete the appropriate customs forms, attach them visibly on the package, and provide a detailed description of the contents to facilitate smooth customs processing.

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