Basically, Canadian artists have three options to consider for moving artwork across the border. One option is to transport your work with a specialty shipping service such as PACART or TransArt. If you need other resources, try contacting the art gallery or art auction company closest to your for their recommendations.
Your second option is to use regular freight transportation delivery services that are listed online or in your local directory or you can use the fast delivery services of companies such as UPS, FedEx or Purolator. The third option is, of course, transporting the work across the border with you.
Regardless of which method you choose, you will be dealing with the Canada Customs & Revenue Agency (CCRA) and the US Customs Service and this is the greatest area of concern for many artists.
The critical considerations when deciding what to do are these:
1. The value of the work that you are shipping. If the total declared value of the work(s) that you want to transport is under $2,000 (in US dollars), you can access the “informal entry” route. (And worthy of note is the fact that you can ship work worth much more than that if—and only if—it is being shipped to multiple destinations with no single destination receiving work worth more than $2000.)
2. If the declared value of the work(s) that you want to transport is more than $2,000 (in US dollars) to a destination, then you should use a Customs Broker. (You do not have to if you can complete all the forms yourself and post an appropriate bond.)
If you like peace of mind, use a broker. They are licensed by both our and the US government to do all the complicated work for you—for a fee of course that is usually calculated as a percentage of the worth of your shipment. And shop around; not all brokers charge the same. Part of their fee includes the posting of the bond required for your work to enter the US. Ideally, you will use the same broker if shipping your work back to Canada is required.
From Raymond St. Arnaud:
I have been shipping art for exhibition to the USA and returning it to Canada for several years, perhaps 70 odd shipments, and was invited to share my experience on avoiding brokerage fees. I learned some difficult lessons but [found] some solutions [so] I have posted a “Guide for shipping art to the USA” on my website that was the basis for my presentation."
THANK YOU RAYMOND!