Be Prepared Before You Go
Each case is unique when shipping art across international borders, depending on the country to which the work is being shipped, the duration of the voyage, the reasons for which the work is being sent, etc. In general, however, there are a few things you can do to minimize your risk of travel complications, especially at the border.
- Make sure handling instructions, such as ‘fragile,’ are clearly identified to reduce the risk of damage.
- Documenting your work through certificates, photographs, etc. as well as registering your artist material (cameras, videos, etc.) may prove to be a worthwhile practice in the event that something should go wrong.
- An Advisory Note about taking artwork over the border is available for CARFAC members – contact us to request a copy.
- If you are travelling with your work, you may want to get an International Association of Art card which grants entry to many museums in Europe and elsewhere. IAA cards are available to CARFAC, RAAV, and CMAQ members only. More about the IAA card.
Don’t get stuck at the border because you waited until the last minute to get your paperwork. Planning ahead will make the process much smoother and save you a lot of stress. We recommend you give yourself at least a month to be sure you have everything you need. If you will be paid for any service you provide while outside Canada, you need to apply several months in advance to get the proper visa.
- Certificates of Canadian Origin are for the process of returning artwork to Canada so you don’t need to pay GST on your work when they come back. These take two weeks plus shipping to be processed.
- Additional forms are often required to allow artwork to enter a foreign country, especially if the total value of the artwork that’s travelling is more than $2500. These also take a couple weeks or more.