Should DTC Brands Register for NRI When Shipping to Canada?

One of the most difficult aspects of international shipping is navigating the changes in import laws and regulations due to international trade agreements. Shifts in political power can make a big difference in import fees, customs rules, prohibited goods, and regulations that your business needs to follow.  

For US brands shipping into Canada, there are many nuances to ensure smooth customs clearance. For example, labeling products is important for selling goods in some Canadian regions, and PST (provincial state tax) is key to understand which border it’s best to ship products though.  

Applying for NRI (non-resident importer) is a big question for many US businesses. Some think it’s required when shipping to Canada, but it’s actually not. In fact, establishing NRI is currently not recommended for some types of brands.  

Here’s more about the difficulties of establishing NRI status when selling in Canada.  

What is NRI (Non-Resident Importer)?   

NRI stands for non-resident importer. It serves as the tax identification for a foreign business without a Canadian permanent address or business number to import and sell goods in Canada.  

A business that establishes as NRI will be the importer of record (IOR) which means they are responsible for managing the compliance of import regulations and customs clearance. They are also responsible for paying duties, taxes, and all import fees.