Customs Questions

Old Aug 20th, 2004, 12:33 PM
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Customs Questions

It has been a few years since I have traveled internationally, so I can't remember the process...

On the airplane I fill out a customs form, correct? Do I only list things if I have more than the allowances? The only thing I'll be carrying is alcohol. As long as I have less than allowed, will I just declare nothing?

When I go through customs do I do the same? Or, will I need to declare any alcohol? Does this need to be in my carry on?

Please forgive my "basic" questions and feel free to direct me elsewhere if this question has already been answered.

Thanks!
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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 01:11 PM
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Are you talking about returning home at the end of the trip? The form gives you instructions, I'd do what it says. As I recall, it asks you to list everything not just things over the limit. I remember someone saying that on here once, about only having to itemize things over the limit, so I really read the instructions on the form on my last trip, and I did not see that it said that anywhere. It just said list what you bought and the amount, do I did. I don't buy alcohol so don't pay attention to those rules.

I sort of lump things together on my form -- like "womens sweater/blouses" $200, "books/CDs" $100, "misc souvenirs" $25. They've never objected to that or even questioned me.

Read the rules, but whether something is in your carryon is irrelevant, I think. It's just what you bought and brought back. You must also declare things you bought in "duty free" stores, as that is not a reference to your own country's customs.

Don't understand the distinction you are making between customs and declaring things, they are the same thing to me.

I'm American, so don't know if you are a different country.
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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 01:24 PM
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Thanks Christina. I am in the US and am asking about both out and back. I appreciate your information. I have been fishing around on the web and have found the "declaration" forms for US and the UK. It looks like on the US form, I need to list everything and on the UK form, I need to list how much I have of particular items (like alcohol). It also seems that I can take the green lane at customs if I stay under the listed amount of alcohol.

That makes sense to list purchases by category since there is limited space on the form.
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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 01:54 PM
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Hi K,

On the way out, just go through the green line (nothing to declare).

Just how much alcohol are you planning to bring to the UK?

ON the way back, I have found that Customs accepts a statement of "less than $800 per person".

If you will be bringing back more than 1L of alcohol pp, declare it. The duty is only 10%.
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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 02:26 PM
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Hi Ira. I will have to do the math. I am taking 8 of the little shot bottles of whiskey as gifts. Also, a bottle of wine, but it is less than the 1 ltr. allowed.

Good to know about the "less than $800". I know it will be less than that!

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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 04:33 PM
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While Customs declarations are important, and yes, they are filled out on the airplane prior to arrival, the airlines are now the ones that dictact the requirements. On United Airlines, in terms of alcohol, you are only allowed to bring one (1) bottle back as a carry-on; however, there is not a limit on the number brought back in your suitcase. I have brought back several bottles wrapped tightly with bubblewrap and then put in between my clothes and nothing broke.

You don't have to "doubly declare" any items that you have brought back (that goes for alcohol, food items, etc). You take the white Customs card with you to the window and the Customs officer reads that, they will look in your items if they have any questions. If you anticipate bringing back a lot of items, pack them in your suitcase so you will be allowed more than the limitations with the carry-on requirements.
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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 05:00 PM
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I haven't brought back a large quantity of booze lately, but as I recall, the duty kicks in at "one proof gallon."

That means 1 gallon of 100% alcohol. That would be 2 gallons of 100 proof vodka, 3 gallons of 60 proof whisky, and so on. Your little bottles don't add up to a proof PINT, much less a gallon.
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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 05:02 PM
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I simply declared the value of what we had purchased, about $200, and did not bother to list anything, which included 7 bottles of wines, apéritifs and alcohol.

Huitres: Since UAL does not do the baggage check, how do they know how many bottles of alcohol you have in your carry-on luggage?
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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 05:04 PM
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I should have clarified, United Airlines stated 1 litre bottle back in carry-on (which ends up being the size of an average wine bottle). There shouldn't be any limitations on the bottle sizes inside your suitcase(s).
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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 05:07 PM
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I called UA to verify what could be taken/brought back as a carry-on in terms of alcohol and that was what I was told. Not sure what you meant about UA not doing the baggage check, they do check, as well as Customs. I do not want the security agents scanning the carry-on suitcases to remove any items of mine. This way I comply with their rules and pack accordingly prior to even de-boarding with my stuff.
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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 05:23 PM
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As far as I know, the security agents checking my identity, passport and luggage prior to coming to the UAL counter are not employees of UAL. There used to be occasional luggage checks by boarding personnel within the year after 9-11, but I do not recall seeing it recently. In fact, you no longer have to show your ID when boarding the plane.
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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 06:11 PM
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Going over, it depends where you're going, but in my experience, if you're not too much over, and it's for your own consumption, or gifts (as in you don't plan to sell it), you should declare it, but no one cares.

For example, when my husband smoked, he'd pack more than the one carton of cigarettes allowed for a business trip. He'd always declare them, and was always just waved through.

Note that coming home you are actually asked to itemize everything and attach additional forms. Once, I was asked what "Misc $19" included (on the very last line available, after carefully itemizing everything else). But, I think the officer was just joking, as I noticed the person in front of me had listed "Souvenirs $125".

You can see a sample customs form here

http://www.customs.gov/xp/cgov/trave...ation_form.xml

where there's all sorts of other information as well.

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