Can I bring 500 grams of gold while travelling to Canada for 2 weeks on a visit visa?

It’s my first time visiting Canada and I’m a bit worried.
Some answers might help. I will bring it back with me and can’t leave it alone where I live

  • 55
    That's >$30000 USD of gold. It'll look suspicious and will raise a lot of questions, I imagine
    – Midavalo
    Commented Mar 26 at 5:44
  • 17
    To the commenters suggesting the OP convert the gold into something else -- presumably, if they wanted the gold to be not-gold, they could have done so already. They came into the gold somehow, they can turn it back into money and put that money in a bank. They could also find a safe place to leave the gold while they're on vacation, like a safe deposit box, or a mattress, or a hole in the ground. This question is asking specifically how to carry $30k in gold through a foreign country like an emotional support hamster and get away with it, not asking whether it's a good idea, which it is not. Commented Mar 27 at 18:13
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    – JonathanReez
    Commented Mar 27 at 19:26
  • 1
    Note that even if they let it in, you're going to be flagged for inspection on the way out, so unless you plan on taking all of it back home with you you're going to have to deal with import/export/tax...
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 28 at 15:37
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    Make a golden calf statue. Nothing to see here, it's my emotional support golden calf. By the way, safety deposit boxes are not safe. If your box is broken into, you would not be able to prove what was in it. Suggest you insure it privately or convert it to money. Commented Apr 2 at 6:37

4 Answers 4


I am not a lawyer, and the language of Non-Taxable Imported Goods (GST/HST) Regulations is a bit thick, but it looks like gold (a precious metal) could be tax exempt, if it's imported temporarily, following the Temporary Importation Regulations. You might want to contact the Canadian authorities – or a lawyer, or a Customs broker – to help you prepare for this. Showing up with 500 grams of gold and a smile will not be a good strategy...

As mentioned in the comments, a bank safe will be cheaper and much less hassle...

  • 14
    @Fattie: citation needed. AFAIK most banks still have them. Commented Mar 26 at 14:48
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    @Fattie "safe deposit box" and "safety deposit box" may a term you are more familiar with, but they are still widespread in their use
    – Doryx
    Commented Mar 26 at 15:27
  • 7
    In many areas of the US, you must be on a waiting list for years to get a safe deposit box at a bank. They aren't very profitable, so they don't make more of them.
    – izzy
    Commented Mar 26 at 16:09
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    @GiacomoCatenazzi If I remember correctly, Fattie lives in Norway and there, most banks have indeed stopped offering safety deposit boxes. In Germany, where I live, many banks are only offering online services and do not have branch offices at all anymore. Even traditional banks are closing many of their branch offices. Without a physical bank office, there will also be noe safety deposit boxes to rent. Commented Mar 26 at 16:32
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    @Fattie - yet somehow I have accounts at two banks (well, credit unions) in different states, each of which has multiple branches with available safe deposit boxes. And my parents, in yet another state, also have a bank with multiple branches all with safe deposit boxes. I find it hard to believe that 3 institutions that I can access have all the safe deposit boxes in the US...
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Mar 26 at 19:42

Depending on the purposes you are bringing the goods for and depending on your country of origin, you may be able to use an ATA Carnet to import your goods duty-free, as long as you plan to re-export them.

You would be required to pay a deposit equivalent to the amount of duties owed in the case that the goods are not re-exported by the required date. There may also be processing fees involved with obtaining the ATA Carnet itself.

Generally, ATA Carnets are valid for 1 year from the date of issuance and cover "virtually all goods" [2]. To obtain an ATA Carnet, the best place to look is with the chamber of commerce or customs office in your country of origin.

I am not a lawyer. I am not your lawyer. This is not legal advice.

  • 10
    I'm afraid OP's country of origin is the issue why they can't leave the gold home. Should that be the case, I doubt going to the customs office and telling a government officer "hey, I got half a kilo of gold here, can I get a passport for it?" will end on a good note. Commented Mar 26 at 18:00
  • @MindwinRememberMonica Even if they don't get a Carnet, if the OP is flying from their home country (which is most likely), it is going to be very hard for them to hide the gold when they depart. So it's win/win for their government/customs.
    – Peter M
    Commented Mar 27 at 13:59
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    @PeterM I believe OP intentionally left some important minutia of his situation out of the question to protect themselves. A naive approach might be harmful. Commented Mar 27 at 14:07
  • @MindwinRememberMonica I can't think of any real scenario of the OP getting to Canada without flying. Because if they were coming overland from the US they would have other options.
    – Peter M
    Commented Mar 27 at 14:12
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    @mlmlmlmmlmlmlmlml We have no idea what the OP is doing with his gold, how they obtained or the legality of the situation. But there is nothing inherently illegal with owning gold bars. So unless you have proof otherwise it is reasonable to answer what the OP is asking.
    – Peter M
    Commented Mar 27 at 18:07

Unlike some other countries the official consumer-friendly guidance for import of currency-like items does not mention gold (at least the one I found did not), however I would definitely declare it to Canada Customs.

My understanding is that gold bars or ingots of over a certain percentage (something like 99.5% purity) are not taxed with GST/HST/PST and are not subject to duty. This is distinct from jewelry items which are subject to taxation. Hence it should be treated similarly to a wad of cash. Not taxed, but you likely need to declare it if it exceeds $10,000, and there should be little risk to that unless it is a result of the proceeds of crime or being used to finance terrorism.

Note that importation of Russian gold is currently prohibited with some exceptions.

I don't consider this answer to be sufficient considering the amounts involved are relatively large and I urge you to call Canada Border Service and ask. They are both competent and helpful and will give you better (and more up-to-date) advice than you might find here. They do answer the phone, unlike some countries.

BTW, gold is easily detected (as I found when I was carrying some different alloys around with me).


This may sound crazy, but perhaps you can ship it to your destination with insurance, and then ship it back. This would cost some money but if something went wrong you could be made whole. Apparently depending on the method you can buy insurance for up to $50,000. I don't know about any specific regulations or duties that might apply.


  • 2
    I do not think the OP is worried about physically carrying the gold with him, but what will happen at the border because of customs: is it forbidden? will there be duties? could the officers become suspicious of the OP being involved in an illegal activity? Sending the gold through shipping would not solve of any those issues; if at all, it could make the OP more suspicious by trying to avoid border controls.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Mar 28 at 10:56
  • I would think nothing would happen at the border. If anything were to happen with the package it would most likely be at the shipping end. And if anything happened later, the insurance would pay out. When the traveler crosses the border the gold wouldn't even be mentioned. As far as I know, "have you shipped anything recently?" isn't one of the questions they ask.
    – nasch
    Commented Mar 31 at 16:28

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