Automated Import Reference System (AIRS)
User's Guide

Return to Import Requirements


The purpose of the AIRS is to provide accurate and timely information on import requirements. The application uses a question and answer approach to guide the user through a series of questions about the Harmonized System (HS) codes, origin, destination, end use and miscellaneous qualifiers of the product they wish to import. These questions lead to a single requirement which provides the user with a list of the documentation requirements and any other conditions that apply to the importation of the product in question. The application also provides the user with the codes necessary to transform the information provided into an electronic message suitable for transmission.

How to select using the “HS Code” drill-down feature

Return to Import Requirements

  1. Click on the box located in the "Select by Drill-down" section, below the question “Please select HS Code Level 1”.
  2. Select one of the HS Code chapters provided in the drop-down list by clicking on the chapter then select the "Go" button to proceed with your selection. The chapter description will be displayed above the selection box and the System will prompt you for more information.
  3. When all questions have been answered, system will automatically present you with your selection, with all necessary information. You can print a copy of this requirement by clicking on the “Print” button found at the bottom of your screen.
  4. If you wish to proceed with the current selection, click on the “EDI” (Electronic Data Interchange) button in the Electronic Data Interchange box. This will bring you to the “EDI” screen which provides the mandatory codes for electronic transmissions for that specific requirement.
  5. If, at any time, you have made a wrong selection, click on the “BACK” button located in the "Find by Commodity" section. This will bring you to the previous question(s).
  6. If you wish to make another selection, click on the “START OVER” button, also located in the "Find by Commodity" section.
  7. If you wish to view this tool in French, click on the “FRANÇAIS” link located in the top right corner of the screen.

How to use the "Find by Commodity" feature

Return to Import Requirements

  1. To search for a commodity, type in the name (singular form) of the commodity in the “Find Commodity” box and click on the “SEARCH” button.
  2. A list of Search Results or a message describing an error that occurred during the search will appear. If you receive an error message, check the spelling, try a different variation of name, or contact one of the Area Service Centres for assistance.
  3. Five boxes appear directly below the "Find by Commodity" title: “HS Description”, “HS Code”, “Alternate Description”, “Key Words” and “Latin Names”. By default all criteria are checked. To narrow the search uncheck one or more of the: “HS Description”, “HS Code”, “Alternate Description”, “Key Words”, and/or “Latin Names” boxes and repeat search.
  4. The screen will display all HS Codes that contain your search request in the Search Results table. Click on the “View” button located in "Select" column (third column) of the table. The “Import Requirements” screen will display your selection up to OGD Extension level 2 of the HS description. You may then continue with the Drill-down feature and proceed by answering the questions with the answers provided in the drop-down list.

For EDI Users:

  1. When you click on the “EDI” button you will be shown the list of data elements required for EDI and any permits, certificates or declarations that are required for importing the shipment to Canada.
  2. Refer to the “Participants Information Document” for instructions on how to transmit electronic transactions.
  3. For further information concerning EDI, please contact the EDI Hotline at 613-773-5322 or
  4. For inquiries related to the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) and import requirements, please email

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The AIRS has been prepared for the convenience of reference only and has no official sanction. For all purposes of interpreting and applying the law, users should consult the Acts as passed by Parliament. If you require additional assistance interpreting this data or verifying its accuracy, please contact the National Import Service Centre.