Some questions for Canadian customers

I would like to know the best course of action for importing the Glowforge into Canada.

If you’ve received your printer , please let us know what to look out for to avoid any unnecessary charges.

I was thinking about having it shipped to a US address , and then picking up and driving across with it.

I have read about people that have done this to save themselves the astronomical fees the courier companies usually slap you with when they act as the broker.

Please share any advice which could help others in a similar situation.


I’m going to just be risking it and taking any fees that may occur. I was going to drive down to a pickup location in the states, but the fees crossing the boarder wouldn’t make it worth it unless I stayed down there for a 48 hour… But even then that’s only $800 that’s duty free… (I’m in Winnipeg BTW)


I’m in the same boat as @JeremyNielsen, I’m just going to risk it. To me at least it’s not worth the hassle of figuring out the required logistics when the GF is already in “too expensive to be an entirely rational purchase” territory. Maybe not the logical decision, but driving from Waterloo to Buffalo and a day+ of my time aren’t free either.


Personally, I’ll just suck it up and get the delivery to my home here in Ottawa. The courier border clearing costs (not HST but the UPS or Fedex charge) can be pretty impressive. However, if my GF Pro, Filter and the Proof Grade “extras” come at different times, the clearing costs WILL be horrific! The cost of clearing 3 items in on shipment will be about the same as clearing each of three if they come separately. That will be the best way possible to punish non-US Glowforge owners, send everything at different times. It would be very thoughtful if @dan and the team could see that that does not happen.


We have also decided we are going to just let them deliver our Glowforge and filter straight to us here in Calgary. We had considered having them delivered to a warehouse in Sweetgrass Montana, but decided that we really did not want to have to drive down there in the middle of winter and then risk messing up the paperwork and having trouble getting them home with us.

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I’m picking mine up across the border. I should be one of the first as I ordered on day one. I’ll definitely post anything I learn bringing it across the border. I was too cheap to spring for the extra shipping costs.


I’m doing the same thing. The border’s only an hour drive from Ottawa, so it’s not too bad. I don’t know what kind of documentation we need to bring with us. Do we need a receipt of the GF to prove the cost?

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Based on $300 for shipping I’m hoping duty is prepaid… however I’m expecting a bill when it gets here.

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Yes, I’m bringing both my Glowforge invoice and both my Visa receipt(s) as I originally had basic and then upgraded to pro. They base taxes off the CDN price so I’m hoping they will go from my actual CDN cost, not what the US invoice would be at today’s exchange rate. I’ll let you know how that goes though. I’m expecting no duties and only taxes.

some good info in Canadians - Shipping question
and Canadian Forgers?

I’m personally just going to let the carrier bring it here to Edmonton, and then self-broker. UPS will want around $100-105 in brokerage fees + GST (it’s a service!). It’s a slight pain in the ass (CBSA is at the airport, 33km away) but hopefully I can get PDFs of all the courier paperwork instead of running everywhere.

Edit: Ah look, someone wrote a step-by-step guide…


Nice couple of links. :thumbsup:

Step #1. . . Get a BN for the official purchaser name of the Glowforge!

Hopefully every Canadian planning to do their own customs clearing understands they can’t do Step #1 with the CBSA agent who’s sticking his head in the window of your car as you are sharing your intent to clear the Glowforge unit. :smile:

I have to say, learning about the paperwork and getting it right the first time, registering for a BN (which you’ll want to subsequently cancel ASAP), travelling an hour and a half each way (to the U.S. from here in Ottawa anyway) to the boarder, all-in probably taking the better part of a day and probably $80 in gas to save $100 - $105 is not something than would not have a net benefit for me personally. All that effort to save a net $25?

However, the ability to clear in your own town definitely a possibility.

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If you really want to get down into it, individuals can’t exactly cancel the BN, since it’s tied to your SIN for income tax and GST purposes.

But yeah, you do have to do a certain amount of leg work before they should be letting it across.

If you already have your individual BN, that’s an important first step. You can get it over the phone. The real meat and potatoes is in bullet 14: they have a Commercial Cash Entry Processing System (CCEPS) to assist with the paperwork in larger ports of entry; doubtful they will have them at the 1-2 man entry points. :grin:


Thanks for the replies everyone. I think we would all welcome the input from people as they start sending out the units.

So, please don’t forget to post any relevant information so the community can learn from any mistakes made along the way.

I got VERY bored today, and wrote this point-by-point to the step-by-step guide, for those thinking of self-brokering…

  1. Obtain a Business Number.
    While you could probably do this online, call 1-800-959-5525 and talk to a rep. They’re actually quite nice. Tell them you’re importing a commercial product, and require an individual Business Number for the paperwork. They’ll want personal tax details, and give you the number. That’s it.
    If you already have a business (ie.- I’m a consultant with my own registered business), just advise them you want to add an ‘RM’ account to your business.

  2. Identify the goods you want to import.
    This is really kind of superficial, but print this page and keep it on-hand:

  3. Determine if you will use the services of a licensed customs broker.
    Short answer: NO.

  4. Determine the country of origin for the goods you are importing.
    Glowforge will provide this information at the time of shipment. In fact, it should already be attached to the box in an envelope of customs documents when it was shipped. If they didn’t, then should be able to provide the BOM (build of materials).

  5. Ensure the goods you wish to import are permitted into Canada.
    Short answer: YES. Unless you count lasers as porn. Some people do. I don’t judge. :grin:

  6. Determine whether the goods you intend to import are subject to any permits, restrictions or regulations by the CBSA or other government departments.
    Again, Glowforge will provide this information when the time comes. Examples of documentation they’ll likely include:

  • FCC verification of compliance (for the wireless)
  • CE verification of compliance for other
  • UL certification (for the electrical and power connections)
  • RoHS compliance (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment), for the case design and/or other parts [typically EU nations]
  1. Determine the 10-digit tariff classification number for each item you are importing.
    The code is 8456.10.0000 for the laser cutters themselves. Because Glowforge has a separate SKU for the filters, they’ll have different tariff codes (and documentation, above).

Don’t know what the tariff classification of the filter is? Don’t sweat it. It will be listed on the CCD document in bullet 13. Because you have to obtain this document as a key step, you should probably contact the Courier/Carrier to find the details, next.

  1. Determine the applicable tariff treatment and rate of duty.
    Keep in mind that this is duty, not taxes. According to the latest CBSA schedule:
An MFN tariff is the lowest possible tariff a country can assess on another country. For example, if a country's lowest tariff is 2% of the value of a good, this is its MFN tariff, and it charges this percentage on an import from a country with most favored nation status.
The United States has a MFN preferential tariff under MUST (Mexico-US Tariff; aka NAFTA), which means that there is no duty on the Glowforge -- unless Donald gets elected and tears up NAFTA.

9.	**Determine if your goods are subject to the goods and services tax (GST), excise tax or excise duty.**
Short answer: YES.

10.	**Determine the value of the goods you are importing.**
Glowforge will provide an invoice when it ships. That determines the value. Note that this is the value of the **goods** - do not include the carrier/courier **service** fees!

11.	**Estimate in advance how much duty and taxes you will be required to pay.**
This is the important part: CBSA uses the Canadian Value of the item, not the US value. You MUST convert the USD to CAD value using the Bank of Canada exchange rate at noon on the day of shipment from Glowforge – not the rate on the date you ordered from Glowforge. [](
So the answers for my Glowforge Basic, if shipped today (exchange rate of 1.3379):
 - **Value for Duty = $2669.11 CAD** [$1995 USD x 1.3379]
    Value for Duty = (USD$ x BoC rate)
 - **Customs Duty = $0.00**
    (based on #8 above, there is no customs duty)
 - **Value for Tax = $2669.11**
   Value for Tax = (Value for Duty) + (Customs Duty)
 - **GST = $133.46** ($2669.11 * 0.05)
   GST = (Value for Tax) * 0.05 (5% GST)
 - **Total Customs and Taxes = $133.46**
   Total Customs and Taxes = (Customs Duty) + (GST)

12.	**Place your order and select a method of shipping.**
Well if you’re here, you’ve already done that. Shipping has already been decided for you by Glowforge. But if you need a reminder of what you ordered:

13.	**Report your goods.**
Guess what? CBSA will already know, because you’ve blown your CAN$2,500 limit. But you need the courier’s CCD. What’s a CCD?  **It’s a document tied to the Tracking Number Glowforge gives you.**

14.	**Obtain release of your goods.**
You might as well pay the piper up front – Method 1.
 * Tell the courier you want the CCD document for the tracking number. **Make two copies.**
 * Glowforge will email you an official invoice when they ship. **Print two copies of that.**
>I feel it's necessary to point out the difference between an INVOICE and PURCHASE ORDER here: A Purchase Order (“Order”) is a request for goods, without fulfillment or payment. An Invoice is a statement of order fulfillment, including payment information. _Get it wrong, and you'll be running around._

 * Glowforge SHOULD include copies of the regulatory documents with shipments, but _they are not required to do so_ - it’s the responsibility of the importer. They really should post the documents on their website for retrieval, rather than emailing upon request... but it’s your responsibility to obtain them, print them, and have them handy - GF must provide proof of regulatory abidance, if requested.

Evil side note: Courier companies - acting on presumption of being your broker agent - will sometimes jump the gun and start uploading scans of all the invoices, regulatory documents, etc. into the CBSA database, tied to the CCD of the shipment. Then they just tell you, “Your package is here! Pay our brokerage fees!”
Once the documents are uploaded, they can’t just delete government records. And they can’t destroy attached regulation documents, either. What I’m trying to say is, CBSA will either have the documents thanks to the Courier, or Glowforge can provide you with redundant copies to get the job done.

And that’s it!


Holy cats @dan_berry! Thanks for doing all that work for folks! (cc @rita)

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yes, definitely.

Thanks , so much , this helps tremendously.

Thanks a million, that will simplify things for me.

I dont even live in canada and i appreciate this… :slight_smile:


Great information @dan_berry ! Could you elaborate further on the sidenote? Greatly appreciate all the hardwork you did.

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