After a lot of thought and discussion, Z and I have decided to not do a soft landing in Canada as originally planned, but to move there permanently by mid-June 2019.
There are a few reasons for this decision, but the main one is that all that coming and going between Canada and the UAE (if we do a soft landing) is an additional financial strain we don’t need. And also, since we have already made that choice of moving to, and settling in, Canada – why delay it any longer than necessary?
So now comes the part where we run around trying to sell off our furniture and appliances, find a buyer for our car, pack as much of our belongings as we can, give away and donate the things we will not sell or take with us, and say our goodbyes (and good riddance, in some cases 😀 – just joking!).
We have also handed in our resignations at our current jobs, since our estimated date of departure is now a mere 2 weeks away.
But our main concern right now, is to list all our “goods to follow” (if any – still not sure if it might be needed). While you should download Form BSF186 and Form BSF186A to list all your “goods to follow” (GTF) items, please remember – depending on the amount of things you are bringing with you (when you land or later) – you will most probably need to make extra copies of the BSF186A form, or make a separate Excel file listing all your items, which you can then attach to the official forms (more on this below).
Since we have only been in the UAE for 3 years, you would think we really haven’t accumulated much, and so packing should be a breeze.
Hahahahahahahaha 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀
The weight of all the books alone that we have (brought from South Africa and purchased in UAE) would probably be equal to almost all our luggage allowance. And I will not be leaving any of the books behind. I am willing to let go of a lot of things -including the kitchen items and clothes and even shoes – but not my books.
Anyway, we have already separated our personal belongings into things we will be taking and things we will be donating. Some things are hard to let go of, because I had hardly got to use them, but I feel by donating them, we will at least be assured that they will be going to people that truly need them. And rather they do go to people who will use them than have them sit in my cupboard gathering dust.
So we are allowed 2 suitcases of 23 kg each, plus our 2 cabin bags (7 kg each) and 2 laptop bags. I suppose that’s bending the rules a bit, but we want to be able to carry as much as possible with us. Z doesn’t have that many clothes or shoes so that means more space for me! 😀
I know there has been some confusion regarding how to use the BSF186 and BSF186A forms. A lot of people thought that BSF186 was for “goods accompanying” and BSF186A was for “goods to follow”. However, please note: BOTH BSF186 and BSF186A are for your “goods to follow” (GTF) items. If you can manage to pack everything into your allowed weight for the airlines, then technically you will not need any GTF list.
BSF186 is the main form, with just 8 lines in it. So if you only have 8 items in your GTF list, then just use that. But if you have more, or you need to elaborate on the items in your GTF list, you can use the BSF186A form, which has 26 lines. You can also make more copies of the BSF186A form and continue listing, should you need to. Or use an Excel spreadsheet file to list all your items, making sure you attach it to the BSF186 form. And also make sure that you make 2 copies of each page, one for the customs officer when you land, and one for yourself.
If you are going to import jewellery and things like traditional outfits, then ensure that you take photos of all these items and attach the photo copies to your GTF list. Take photos of any item that you feel may be hard for the officer to understand through description alone. And even if you will not be importing those goods listed on the GTF list right away, it’s best to declare them and have the list and photos stamped the CBSA officer so that you will not need to pay tax and duties on them when you do eventually import them.
A good idea would be to use the BSF186 form to list the categories of items you have, e.g. Kitchen goods, Gadgets, Jewellery, Books, Clothing, etc., and then use the BSF186A form (or the Excel file) to expand on those categories (if necessary!) and list the items under those categories.
But remember, while it’s good to have a comprehensive list, you do NOT have to list every single item in detail. For example, if you have a category for books and you are importing 4 boxes of books, you don’t need to itemise each book and give each book’s value. Just saying “Books, 4 boxes” and having a valuation for that is enough, unless you have a copy of a rare book or 1st edition book. If you are importing electronics, you should include the brand name, model and serial number.
There is no limit for when you need to import the items listed on your GTF list. You can import them, free of duties and taxes, weeks, months, or even years later. As long as the item is listed and the list has the CBSA stamp on it, you can import it without having to pay taxes on it. You can import everything in one shipment or multiple shipments over a period of time.
We don’t intend to take any electronics or jewellery as “goods to follow”. In our case, it will most likely only be our vast amount of books, Z’s collection of PlayStations and PS games, our paintings, and some kitchen items like pots and kitchen utensils (so we don’t have to buy all these things straight away).
But we will see. For now, we are slightly more concerned about the goods we are leaving behind! Thanks to our limited remaining time, it’s essential we manage to sort everything out before we go, and in Sha Allah, we will be able to do so.