Top Tips For Smooth Customs Clearance When Importing To Canada 

Dealing with Canadian customs is challenging enough for regular importers. The experience is even more daunting if you’re importing regulated products like kratom.  

If you’ve recently set up a kratom business in Canada, it’s prudent to understand and avoid the common pitfalls involved in getting this herb into the country. Read on for a beginner’s guide to importing kratom into Canada. 


Mitragyna speciosa, or kratom as it’s commonly known, is an herb native to Southeast Asia, which is widely touted for its potential therapeutic benefits.  

Many people take kratom for pain relief. The plant is rich in alkaloids that may relieve pain by binding to pain-signaling opioid receptors in the brain.  

Kratom may also treat fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, and inflammation. With its diverse therapeutic benefits, it’s understandable why this herb has become a staple in drug and supplement stores worldwide.  

However, kratom isn’t globally legal. Many drug regulators take issue with the plant’s mild psychoactive properties.  

Fortunately, Canada was one of the first nations to legalize Mitragyna speciosa. Kratom legal in Canada provided that vendors observe certain regulations as laid down by Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). 

Reasons for Importing into Canada 

We’ve just mentioned that Mitragyna speciosa is legal in Canada. So, you’re probably wondering why you shouldn’t grow your own kratom plants.  

Despite being one of the hardiest plants, kratom thrives best in Southeast Asia. The region provides ideal growing conditions for cultivating kratom, including rich soils and a tropical climate.  

Kratom’s nativity to Southeast Asia explains why most strains derive their names from specific areas within the region. Noteworthy mentions include Red Thai from Thailand, Green Indo from Indonesia, and White Malay from Malaysia.  

You may still consider growing kratom in Canada. But the yields would be lower compared to cultivating the plant in its native range. 

Ensuring Smooth Customs Clearance When Importing Kratom into Canada 

1. Understand Domestic Kratom’s Laws 

Kratom is legal in Canada, alright. However, neither Health Canada nor the CFIA approves it.  

The implication is that kratom vendors shouldn’t portray the herb as a pharmaceutical drug or dietary supplement. It also means you could run into issues with Canadian customs officials if importing kratom as a drug or food product.  

Powders and dried leaves are the best kratom formulations to bring into Canada. Avoid edible goods infused with the herb. 

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2. Familiarise Yourself with International Laws 

The fact that Canada maintains permissive kratom laws doesn’t mean every other country does.  

Kratom is outright illegal in several nations and highly regulated in others. The herb is even criminalized in some Southeast Asian countries where it grows natively, notably Malaysia and Myanmar.  

So, it’s prudent to understand international kratom laws to avoid running into problems with customs officials. A good practice is to establish that your suppliers are based in a country where the herb is legal. 

3. Import in Small Quantities 

Importing kratom in small quantities provides two notable benefits.  

First, it portrays you as an end user rather than a distributor. Importation laws tend to be more lenient for traders than final consumers.  

You may also pay lower customs duty for small-batch imports. Check with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to learn more about any quantity-based exemptions applicable to kratom imports.  

However, importing kratom in small amounts is only ideal for small-scale vendors. Bulk imports would suit you better if you’re already an established distributor. 

4. Take Advantage of Other Exceptions 

You could be eligible for other exemptions depending on your recent travel history.  

Canadian traders returning to the country may import goods of a predetermined value without paying import duty and taxes.  

Vendors who’ve been outside Canada for over 24 hours may import goods worth up to CAD 200, except for alcohol and tobacco. An absence of 48 hours and 7 days may attract up to CAD 800 in exemption.  

Check with the CBSA to understand how much kratom you can bring into the country duty-free.   

5. Have an Import/Export Program Account 

Canadian importers and exporters are required to register for an import-export program account. The CBSA will need your registration details to facilitate cross-border shipment.  

To register for an import/export program account, head to the Canada Revenue Agency programs accounts website.  

You’ll need to include your official business names. The name will appear on all customs-related documentation, such as invoices.  

Note that the CBSA may hold your imports if your business name is inconsistent with the name indicated in your consignment.  

6. Know the Applicable Customs Duty 

Two key parameters determine the amount of customs duty you’ll pay for your kratom imports – shipment quantity and product category.  

As previously stated, smaller imports attract lesser customs duty, much as small-batch imports are suitable for end users and budding kratom vendors.  

When it comes to product categorisation, kratom would aptly be classified as a drug or dietary product. However, there are existing regulations barring the herb from being categorised as a medicine or nutritional supplement.  

Your best bet is to research the Canadian Harmonized System (HS) code to determine the closest product category your kratom imports would fall in. Note that inaccurately classifying your goods might lead to undue delays or penalties. 

Wrap Up 

Importing kratom into Canada can be a hassle-free experience if you only follow the above-listed tips.  

Always stay abreast of recent developments in customs laws, particularly regulations touching kratom trade in Canada. You might also rope in a customs broker if you find the process a tad too tedious. 

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