I am bringing three laptops:

  1. For work
  2. For personal use
  3. Used one to give away to my girlfriend.

My carry on bag was not searched last time I visited, but if they decide to search this time and they see three laptops, could this be a problem? Will they take away one or more laptops or charge tax? FYI, I am from Canada.

  • What’s the value of the one you intend to gift? Do you have any evidence for its value?
    – jcaron
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 20:26
  • Since it's the old 2020 Intel MacBook Pro, I can compare it to its resale value in the kijiji I guess
    – jamryu
    Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 1:49
  • 1
    The usual answer is to declare everything that may pass the bar for duty-free import Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 7:17
  • I’ve done this, although two laptops were mine and the third was work. Customs never asked anything (in all the times I entered and exited they never asked to see my bags). Security might be confused but again, they never asked me personally.
    – Jan
    Commented Apr 15, 2023 at 11:02

1 Answer 1


The Japanese customs states:

Personal effects and unaccompanied baggage for personal use are free of duty and/or tax within the allowance specified below.

There is an exemption for your personal and work effects without ceiling (considering the quantity is not huge, a laptop is definitely covered. To be on the safe side, get a letter from your company that the work laptop is company property)

Personal Effects and Professional Equipment

Clothes, toiletries, and other personal effects for your personal use, as well as portable professional equipment that will be used during your stay in Japan, are all free of duty and/or tax, if they are considered quantitatively appropriate and are not for sale.

For the duty-free ceiling, it is defined as:

The total overseas market value of all articles other than the above items must be under 200,000yen. Any item whose overseas market value is under 10,000yen is free of duty and/or tax and is not included in the calculation of the total overseas market value of all articles. There is no duty-free allowance for articles having a market value of more than 200,000yen each or each set.

The Japanese embassy in the US states:

Most new goods or items intended as gifts, which have a cumulative overseas market value over 200,000 yen, are subject to a 10% duty charge on the combined value of all the items. Such goods will also be subject to the 5% consumption tax, which is based on the goods' value including duty charges (if any).

Which means that they consider a gift towards your personal allowance.

Looking at completed sales on ebay.ca for a used Intel MacBook Pro 2020, the prices hover around CA$800 and CA$900 depending on the config and the condition

From Xe as of April 13th 2023, CA$850 is roughly equal to JPY84,000, well below the JPY200,000 duty-free limit

To ease your entry back into Canada, you may want to look at this page about personal items bought in Canada

If you are planning to travel outside Canada with highly valuable items that you acquired in Canada or that you lawfully imported, you can take them to a Customs and Border Services Agency (CBSA) office before you leave to have them identified on a wallet-sized card as valuables that were in your possession before leaving the country.

Take the card with you when you travel and show your card to the border officer if you are questioned about these items when you return to Canada.

  • 1
    Am I reading this correctly that if you travel to Japan wearing a $10,000 Gucci set because you’re a rich jetsetter who wears that type of stuff, you’d (theoretically) be charged a duty tax on the clothes on your back? Many laptops would also exceed the ¥200,000 cutoff (including my regular one) – so they might charge me a duty tax on my laptop if I go on vacation to Japan and bring my laptop (as I usually do)? Even high-end iPhones cost more than the equivalent of ¥200,000 here. Or would such things all be considered ‘quantitatively appropriate’ (whatever that even means)? Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 14:42
  • @JanusBahsJacquet quantatively appropriate is a way to say that the quantity you have is not way too much for a given ifem. Like, if you bring 10 cellphones, there is a high suspicion that you'll end up selling them. On the other end, a person having 1-2 cellphones is acceptable for personal use Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 16:53
  • 1
    @JanusBahsJacquet I think you are misreading the statements. The quotes say that "Clothes ... and other personal effects ... are all free of duty" and that the 200,000 yen limit applies to "all articles other than the above items"
    – Carmeister
    Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 17:01
  • @Carmeister You’re right, I completely missed that it says “other than”! Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 17:10
  • So if I bring all three laptops, worst thing that can happen is being charged the 10% duty charge for the laptop that I intend to gift, not losing that laptop or all three?
    – jamryu
    Commented Apr 15, 2023 at 23:15

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