CFIA Non-resident Importer (NRI) Consulting

All foods must be imported to Canada by a licensed Canadian importer. A foreign business that prepares foods for import into Canada cannot apply for a licence under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) unless they qualify as a non-resident importer (NRI).

A NRI is a person that imports food into Canada whose fixed place of business is located in a country other than Canada. NRIs are allowed to obtain a Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) import licence under limited conditions.

In order to be qualified as a non-resident import, the fixed place of business must be in a country that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has recognized as having a food safety system that provides at least the same level of protection as that of the Safe Food for Canadians Act and Regulations.

Importing Foods as an NRI from the United States

NRIs in the United States are only permitted to import the following foods under specific conditions:

  • Meat and poultry products
  • Shell eggs and processed eggs
  • Meat flavours, meat extracts, broths, bouillons
  • Live or raw shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops)
  • Other food as part of the food safety systems recognition arrangement between Canada and the U.S. FDA

Importing Foods as an NRI from a Country other than the United States

NRIs in countries other than the United States are only permitted to import the following foods under specific conditions:

  • Meat products
  • Live or raw (frozen or unfrozen) molluscan shellfish

The SFCR requires that a NRI must send the foods listed above directly to Canada from a CFIA recognized foreign state. For imports of meat products and live or raw shellfish, a NRI can import products directly to Canada from their foreign state or another foreign state, providing that the inspection system for the meat or shellfish has been recognized by the CFIA. For food other than meat and live or raw shellfish, the United States (US) is currently the only recognized foreign state from which a NRI can send certain foods listed above directly to Canada.

To request a service for assistance with a non-resident importer (NRI) licence application, please contact us.