Next week I will be returning to Canada for a short visit after moving permanently to the United States. I have lived in the United States for 4 years now, and am now a Permanent Resident.

When I declare my customs form (form E311), am I a visitor to Canada or a resident? I am asking, because I am wondering if I need to declare that I have over $800CAD of goods purchased outside of Canada, and would therefore need to pay a large amount of taxes on those goods.

I imagine that I am not a resident of Canada, because, well, I don't live there. But I can't find what the definition of "resident" is, so I don't know if me being a Canadian citizen makes me a resident for their purposes.

2 Answers 2


I called the CBSA's Border Information Service (BIS) number and they confirmed that I would indeed by a visitor.

Referring to this document: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d2/d2-6-1-eng.html I see:

  1. Similarly, non-residents are persons who, in the settled routine of their life, make their home, reside, and are ordinarily present in a place outside Canada.

That seems to apply to me. I will be checking "Visitor" on my customs declaration.


I am not sure about this but your resident status can be found by calling CRA. Do you have a valid health card, driver's license, or any property in Canada? If so, CRA probably deems you as a resident.

  • You are allowed to keep a drivers license for several years after you leave Canada, and to own property whether or not you live in Canada, so they are not good tests. Commented Apr 6, 2022 at 20:07

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