Release on minimum documentation (RMD)
RMD allows importers to obtain release of their goods by presenting data for interim accounting. Full accounting data and payment are not required at the time of release but they are required within certain time frames. More information on accounting and payment can be found in Memorandum D17-1-5, Importing Commercial Goods.
The goal of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is to process complete and accurate release requests that do not require its officers to examine the goods or to review the permits, within the following times:
RMD – Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
Service Description: Importers and customs brokers must obtain a release decision of commercial goods from the CBSA by presenting a properly completed accounting document or submitting an interim accounting Release on Minimum Documentation (RMD). This service facilitates the release of legitimate commercial goods through minimal intervention within established service standards.
Service Standard: Post-arrival Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) RMDs will provide a release decision within 45 minutes.
Performance Target: 70%
Performance Result for fiscal year 2018-2019: The CBSA processed 916,453 requests and met the service standard 61% of the time.
For more information on all service standards and performance results for previous years, consult the CBSA Service Standards.
FAQ – Release Time Frames
The CBSA will be moving to a cargo-based arrival processing model which will alter the timeframes for release of commercial goods. With these system changes, shipments will be eligible for release only after all related cargo documents attain “arrived” status.
Commercial Hand-Carried Goods (HCG) Release Process
The "Hand-Carried Goods (HCG) Release Process" provides importers and customs brokers with the option of using a Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) (including Other Government Department (OGD) PARS) or Release on Minimal Documentation (RMD) release option in order to obtain release of commercial goods being transported to Canada by an individual who is not a carrier. The release must take place at the First Point of Arrival in Canada (FPOA).
The HCG Release Process is applicable to all modes for qualifying shipments and may be used as an alternative release option to submitting a paper Form B3-3 Canada Customs Coding Form. In bond shipments are not eligible for the HCG Release Process.
Qualifying Shipments Authorized to use the HCG Release Process
Commercial shipments qualifying for release using the HCG Release Process are strictly limited to shipments being transported by an individual who does not meet the criteria of a "carrier".
In accordance with the ACI/eManifest Highway Electronic Commerce Client Requirements Document (ECCRD), Appendix A – Glossary of Terms and Acronyms, a carrier is defined as:
"The owner or person in charge of a conveyance that is engaged in international commercial transportation of specified goods".
Examples of qualifying shipments include:
- Commercial goods carried by paying passengers on board traveller's commercial conveyances (bus, taxi, plane, ship, ferry etc.);
- Commercial goods being transported by and accounted for at the FPOA by the owner of a business, or an employee, driving a "not for hire," conveyance;
- Commercial shipments being imported into Canada by any individual who does not meet the criteria of "carrier" and who is not required under regulations to have, use and maintain a valid CBSA issued carrier code;
- Commercial vehicle or conveyance being imported into Canada where a non-carrier is driving the vehicle into Canada (e.g., where the conveyance is the good being imported – e.g., dealer);
- Importation of new Canadian aircraft;
- Canadian aircraft returning to Canada after having been repaired abroad and to account for those repairs; and
- Non-Canadian aircraft temporarily being imported into Canada for repairs.
Assignment of the HCG Cargo Control Number
PARS and RMD release options require a Cargo Control Number (CCN). In order to facilitate the release of qualifying shipments under the HCG Release Process using one of these interim accounting options, mode specific HCG codes have been designated for each mode. The importer or customs broker seeking to use the HCG Release Process will use the applicable 4 character HCG code in order to assign the required CCN needed to process a PARS or RMD release request.
The mode specific HCG codes are shown below:
|Mode Specific HCG Code||Mode of Import/Transport||Release Option|
|HCGA||Air||Paper RMD, B3-3|
|HCGM||Marine||Paper RMD, B3-3|
|HCGH||Highway||PARS-EDI, OGD PARS-EDI (unless exempt from EDI), B3-3|
|HCGR||Rail||Paper RMD, B3-3|
The first four characters of the HCG CCN will be determined by the mode the shipment enters Canada.
The next 5 digits following the applicable modal code will be the account security number of the party accounting for the shipment. The remainder of the digits will be assigned by the importer or customs broker. A CCN may contain a maximum of 25 characters.
An example of how the HCG CCN would look for a shipment being imported in the highway mode is shown below:
For purposes of the HCG Release Process only, the HCG CCN is not required to be in bar coded format. Hand written HCG CCNs will be accepted providing it is legible. In order to reduce possible keying errors and expedite release processing, importers and customs brokers are strongly encouraged to pre-print bar coded HCG CCNs using the format shown above. Technical specifications for bar-coded CCNs may be found in Memorandum D3-1-1, Policy Respecting the Importation and Transportation of Goods Appendix D.
HCG Release Processing
- In order to obtain release of qualify shipments using the HCG Release Process in the highway mode; the importer/broker will be required to use the PARS–EDI release option.
- Paper PARS or RMD release requests will only be accepted if the shipment qualifies as an exception to using EDI (e.g., paper permit), as specified in Memorandum D17-1-4, Release of Commercial Goods. Submission of a paper PARS or RMD will require the "EDI Exception Lead Sheet" to be presented along with the paper release package.
- Prior to the arrival of the shipment, the importer or customs broker assigns and provides the individual transporting the shipment with the highway HCG CCN.
- Upon arrival, the transporter of the goods will present the invoice containing the highway HCG CCN.
- Upon completion of release processing, the invoice will be stamped and returned to the individual.
- Importers or customs brokers subscribing to the CBSA's electronic release notification system will receive an electronic confirmation of release.
Air, Marine and Rail Mode
Travellers carrying commercial goods as part of their baggage onboard an aircraft, vessel (including ferries) or train arrives and is processed in the traveller's stream. The traveller will advise the CBSA that they are transporting commercial goods. Where applicable, the individual will indicate they have commercial goods to declare on their Form E311 CBSA Declaration Card in the air mode or as otherwise required by the mode.
- In order to obtain release of qualify shipments in the air, marine and rail modes, the importer or customs broker must account for the goods at the first port of arrival using the post-arrival paper RMD release option.
- EDI release options will not be applicable in these modes unless otherwise stated by the local CBSA releasing office.
- If upon importation the release documentation is not available, it may be necessary for the CBSA to temporarily hold the shipment, and issue form BSF241, Non-Monetary General Receipt to the traveller, until such time as the release documentation is presented to the CBSA. A copy of Form BSF241 is to be presented with the release package. Once the goods are released, the CBSA will acquit Form BSF241 with the transaction number of the release request. A customs stamped copy of Form BSF241 will be returned to the client.
- In some situations where the release documentation is not available at time of importation, it may be necessary for the CBSA to transfer the shipment to a sufferance warehouse pending the presentation of the release documentation. Under these circumstances, the broker may be required to present an A8A-B Cargo Control Document to the customs office in order to transfer the goods to the sufferance warehouse. The A8A-B will reference the broker assigned HCG CCN. Where a BSF241 has been previously issued, a copy of the BSF241 should be presented along with the A8A-B. The BSF241 will be acquitted by the HCG CCN.
Importation of Canadian Aircraft and Aircraft Repairs
The HCG Release Process may also be used to account for the importation of:
- New Canadian aircraft;
- Canadian aircraft repairs after having been repaired abroad; and
- Temporary importation of non-Canadian aircraft (e.g. entering Canada for repairs)
Additional information regarding temporary importations may be found in Customs D Memoranda 8 – Remissions and Temporary Importations.
In order to account for the above importations, the importer or customs broker may submit a paper RMD release request. Clients are reminded the earliest timeframe for submission of a paper RMD release option is upon arrival of the goods.
Release requests submitted to the CBSA using the HCG Release Process that do not meet the criteria specified herein will be rejected and the importer or customs broker may be required to account for the goods using Form B3-3 Canada Customs Coding Form.
Carriers are not permitted under any circumstances to use the HCG code for purposes of reporting or submitting pre-arrival cargo and/or conveyance information. The HCG code is not to be used for purposes of transmitting pre-arrival cargo or conveyance advance commercial information. Carriers eligible for a carrier code are reminded they must have and use their CBSA assigned carrier code in order to comply with reporting requirements as specified in Section 12(1) and 12.1 of the Customs Act and in respect of the Reporting of Imported Goods Regulations.
The importer or customs broker is responsible for administering and issuing the HCG CCN in accordance with the policies specified herein. The CBSA will not be responsible for issuing clients a HCG CCN. Importers and brokers should take every precaution to ensure a HCG CCN is used for purposes of obtaining release of shipments qualifying for the HCG Release Process.
|B3-3||Form B3-3||Form B3-3, Canada Customs Coding Form is a document used to account for imported goods, regardless of value, destined for commercial use in Canada.|
|CCN||Cargo Control Number||The Cargo Control Number is a number assigned to a transport document. It uniquely identifies cargo detailed on a cargo submission. The Cargo Control Number consists of the Carrier code followed by a unique reference number assigned by the Carrier/Representative and cannot contain spaces.|
|Carrier||The owner or person in charge of a conveyance that is engaged in international commercial transportation of specified goods.|
|HCG CCN||Hand Carried Goods Cargo Control Number||For the purposes of the HCG release process, the unique number assigned to each shipment by the importer or customs broker who will account for the goods. The Cargo Control Number consists of the HCG code followed by the importer or customs broker account security code and a unique reference number assigned by the importer or customs broker.|
|HCG Code||Hand Carried Goods Code||First 4 characters used to create a cargo control number in order to obtain release of qualifying shipments under the “HCG Release Process”.|
|HCGA||Hand Carried Goods Air||First 4 digits of the CCN to be applied for qualifying shipments transported in the air mode.|
|HCGH||Hand Carried Goods Highway||First 4 digits of the CCN to be applied for qualifying shipments transported in the highway mode.|
|HCGM||Hand Carried Goods Marine||First 4 digits of the CCN to be applied for qualifying shipments transported in the marine mode.|
|HCGR||Hand Carried Goods Rail||First 4 digits of the CCN to be applied for qualifying shipments transported in the rail mode.|
|HCG Release Process||Hand Carried Goods Release Process||A process that allows eligible individuals, who do not meet the definition of a carrier, to obtain the release of commercial goods upon presentation of an interim accounting release request that contains a HCG CCN. Note: Process is not applicable to shipments transported by an individual who meets the criteria of “carrier”.|
|PARS||Pre-Arrival Review System||PARS is a release service option that allows importers to submit release information up to 30 days prior to the arrival of goods in Canada.|
|Release||A decision by a Border Services Officer to release goods into the commerce of Canada upon the acceptance of an interim or final accounting request presented by the importer or their customs broker.|
|RMD||Release on Minimum Documentation||RMD is a release service option that allows importers to obtain release of goods prior to payment of duties and taxes by presenting interim documentation.|
Importers and licensed customs brokers who ask for release of their goods before payment and for uncertified cheque privileges must post security representing 100% of their average monthly amount of outstanding duties and taxes (less the goods and services tax in the case of resident importers) during the previous 12-month period, up to a maximum of $10 million.
Importers and customs brokers may file security at either a local CBSA office or at CBSA Headquarters with the Brokers Licensing and Account Security Programs. If security is filed with the appropriate local CBSA office, an importer or broker can obtain release of goods before paying duties at that office only. If security is filed at CBSA Headquarters, an importer or broker can obtain release of goods before paying duties at all CBSA offices in Canada.
The minimum amount of security required for importers is $250 for a single CBSA office and $5,000 for national privileges. The minimum amount of security required for licensed customs brokers is $5,000 to transact business at a single CBSA office and $25,000 for national privileges.
This security can be in any of the following forms:
- a certified cheque;
- a transferable Government of Canada bond; or
- a bond issued by an approved financial institution (using Form D120, Customs Bond).
For more information about account security, please see the links listed below:
- Memorandum D17-1-5, Importing Commercial Goods
- Memorandum D1-7-1, Posting Security for Transacting Bonded Operations
- Form D120, Customs Bond (format to be used when posting security)
- Sample GST agreement letter (Appendix D)
The CBSA identifies each shipment with a unique 14-digit transaction number. This transaction number is used to identify shipments at various times throughout the customs process. If you use the cash option, a transaction number is assigned to the documents in the accounting package that you present to obtain release of your goods.
If you have RMD privileges, the CBSA will assign you a unique five-digit account security number. This number will always appear as the first five digits of your transaction number. After you receive your account security number, you have to affix the transaction number in bar-coded format to your release and accounting documents for all later shipments.
Other service options
The CBSA offers other service options to expedite the processing and release of goods.
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