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Old Apr 8th, 2011, 09:46 AM
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if you are flying from paris to florence do you have to go through customs?
michellevandyke is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2011, 09:56 AM
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I don't remember going through customs at all in Europe.

If you live outside the EU you will show your passport at immigration but this is different from customs.
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Old Apr 8th, 2011, 10:17 AM
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"If you live outside the EU you will show your passport at immigration"

Oh no you won't. As a matter of interest, how do you think they could tell the difference between EU and non-EU residents?

There are, 99% of the time, no immigration formalities between Schengen states.

"I don't remember going through customs at all in Europe"
It's impossible to arrive in the EU from outside without going through Customs. 99% of people don't notice, though, unless they're stopped. Customs officials scan every arriving bag and watch every arriving passenger on closed circuit TV. That's how they decide who to stop
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Old Apr 8th, 2011, 10:32 AM
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so is it just like going from state to state in the us?
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Old Apr 8th, 2011, 10:32 AM
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Customs and immigration are on arrival in the Schengen zone, then inter-country flights within the Schengen zone are the same as flights within the US - you just walk off the plane and into the airport.
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Old Apr 8th, 2011, 10:44 AM
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thanks for the information!!
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Old Apr 8th, 2011, 10:53 AM
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No, you don't have to go through Immigration/ passport control when you fly within the Schengen zone.

Yes, you walk through Customs after baggage claim. Also when you arrive on intra-EU or intra-Schengen flights. Everybody does - unless it's an airport terminal with only domestic arrivals.
But it's just spot control. You pick the right color-coded exit: blue for arrivals from within the EU, usually marked with the EU flag. If there is no blue exit, take the green one.

If you should get questioned by a Customs official (which happens very rarely), your boarding pass will tell that you arrived from within the EU (and thus are eligible to very high allowances for private use which you can hardly get on an airplane anyway).
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Old Apr 8th, 2011, 10:58 AM
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However EU & Schengen are NOT the same thing - there are countries like Norway & Switzerland that are part of Schengen but not the EU and countries like the UK & Ireland that are part of the EU but not Schengen
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Old Apr 8th, 2011, 11:08 AM
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When I flew from Frankfurt to Paris I had to show my passport at CDG immigration. There didn't seem any way to leave the airport w/o going through immigration. Aren't both Germany and France Schengen countries?
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Old Apr 8th, 2011, 11:50 AM
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Some airports that handle international traffic are organised in such a way that they cannot readily segregate intra-Schengen and ultra-Schengen arrivals. The easy fix is to put all arrivals through passport control.
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Old Apr 8th, 2011, 03:52 PM
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You don't have to go through customs (so you are free to bring with you any amount of liquor, or even things like cheese that might be banned if you are coming from a non-Schengen countries). But, that doesn't mean that the police are not present, with the right to search. One border that is closely watched is the train between Italy and France (where they are more concerned about immigration than customs, even though both countries are Schengen). The police are on the watch for anything suspicious, just as they can be when you land in Italy. Even at the Rimini train station (nowhere near a border) I have seen police with dogs sniffing at traveller's bags. They do have the authority to do this, even though it technically isn't "customs".
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Old Apr 9th, 2011, 11:25 PM
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Sorry to sound anal, but things get a bit blurred.

Schengen has nothing to do with Customs, it's only about Immigration. It's a bunch of countries (some not even in the EU like Switzerland or Iceland) which agreed to waive mandatory immigration/passport control procedures at their land, air, or sea borders for travelers from other Schengen countries.
This mandatory procedure got replaced by giving the police more authority to perform controls inland at major transport arteries, e.g. train stations, trains, motorways, etc.

The liberal Customs regulations are based on whether that territory is within the Customs Union.
This covers most of the territory of the European Union, including the non-Schengen Member States UK and ROI.
The Customs Union excludes certain (mostly overseas) EU territories or regions with low-tax regimes, e.g. the Spanish Canary Islands or that little tax-free valley in the Alps in Northern Italy Samnaun.
Switzerland is not part of the Customs Union even though it's in the Schengen area.

If you fly from Paris to Florence, you travel within the Schengen area AND within the Customs Union.
The first will give you the liberty to proceed to baggage claims without clearing passport control.
The latter gives you the right to bring with you goods for personal use or consumption.
The allowances that define "personal use" are very gracious (up to 10 liters of spirits, 90 liters of wine, 4 cartons of cigarettes - that's why I said it's a non issue for air travel), but not without limits.
If you travel with goods beyond those limits you can get questioned and have to prove that it is not merchandise for the purpose of commercial re-sale.
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Old Apr 10th, 2011, 05:04 AM
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Just an addendum to what Cowboy1968 about the allowances for personal use: they are, strictly speaking, guidelines. If you are so minded, you can travel with more, and argue your case with customs officers. I regularly exceed the tobacco limits, but not by outrageous margins, and am always upfront about it. Never had a problem, which I think might be because it is pipe tobacco, a product for which there is not an appreciable black market.
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