flying into EU countries

Old Apr 24th, 2006, 09:52 AM
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flying into EU countries

When flying back to US from anywhere, one goes through customs and immigration at port of entry, not final destination. Flying from DFW to Frankfurt soon en route to Warsaw. Will I have to claim luggage and go through customs and immigration in Frankfurt or will it wait until Warsaw?

Carolyn in Texas
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Old Apr 24th, 2006, 09:56 AM
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If your bags are checked through, immigration happens at WAW: Customs is practically non-existent, but you go through the "nothing to declare" door at WAW.

If you're travelling on separate tickets, or the airline won't check the bags through for some other reason, you need to go through immigration at FRA, collect ther bags, go through the "nothing to declare" gate and check in again. You then go through immigration again at WAW.
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Old Apr 24th, 2006, 10:50 AM
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At many of the major airports you can stay "airside" vs "landside" - that is never actually enter the country in which the airport stands - when changing planes - so you don;t do immigration until you actually enter a foreign country.
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Old Apr 24th, 2006, 10:57 AM
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We flew Chicago-Frankfurt-Warsaw last year (all on one United/Lufthansa ticket), and we went through both immigration and customs in Warsaw.

If your final destination was a Schengen country (e.g., Italy or France), then you would go through immigration in Frankfurt because that is your Schengen point of entry. Poland is part of the EU but hasn't yet become part of the Schengen zone; therefore, you are just transiting and should be able to go straight from gate to gate in Frankfurt, unless, as CS says, you have separate tickets or for some reason can not check your luggage all the way through.
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Old Apr 24th, 2006, 11:43 AM
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Cotswold is essentially correct, but I'll add my own recent experience re JFK-Munich-Pisa.

First, the desk agent as JFK tagged our bags through to Pisa, so that wasn't an issue. Make sure to ask if that's possible -- tagging bags to final destination -- so you don't have to deal with them.

You do have to pass through customs, but it's quick and painless. What did surprise me was the need to go through security again. I figured if you never left the departure area, there would be no need to deal with security again, but you do.
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Old Apr 24th, 2006, 01:26 PM
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"What did surprise me was the need to go through security again"
I flew from UK to Jordan via Romania & had to go through security at Bucharest where they found the Swiss Army knife that had been missed at Heathrow
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Old Apr 25th, 2006, 01:13 AM
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j 999 -9 nay have confused things because what she/he described is a trip wholly between countries which are party to the Schengen Agreement, from Germany (Munich) to Italy (Pisa). In that case, immigration and customs takes place at the first point of entry into the Schegen zone, which is Munich. This is like landing at JFK and having a connecting flight to St Louis. You go through immigration and customs at the first point of entry. What CarolyninTexas is doing is like landing at JFK and having a connecting flight to Canada.

As noted correctly by Cotswold and msgo, Poland is not a party to the Schengen Agreement and therefore you will NOT go through customs or immigration in Frankfurt. You will be "in transit" and not leave the transit area of the airport. You will simply change planes. Your bags will be changed for you automatically. I know this because I have flown several times via Frankfurt from the US to Switzerland which is also not a party to Schengen (at least not yet).

There is no reason to believe that your bags will not be tagged all the way through. Do not confuse code-shares and airline partnerships with baggage handling agreements which virtually all airlines have with one another. It is very rare to find that your bags will not be tagged all the way through to your ultimate destination even if you are travelling on two separate airlines.

However, it is possible that you may have to get a boarding pass in Frankfurt. This may be necessary if you are travelling on two separate airlines, and if the airline you are taking from Frankfurt does not have a presence at the airport in the US, and if your originating airline in the US is not be able to issue you a boarding pass for the Frankfurt-Warsaw flight. If that is the case, you will need to find the "transfer desk" for your airline in the Frankfurt airport, present your ticket and get a boarding pass. A very simple procedure. Website for Frankfurt airport is at, for information in connecting flights in particular, go to

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Old Apr 25th, 2006, 01:30 AM
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Cicerone is correct in this case, but wrong about the general principle.

As a general rule, passengers arriving in the EU and connecting with through-checked bags to another EU airport go through Customs at the final destination even if that destination is in the same common travel area, or even the same country . They go through Immigration at the first arrival point in the common travel area where thir final destination lies.

So if Poland joins Schengen, a passenger with luggage through-checked to Warsaw will still be liable to Customs clearance at WAW, even though he'll have gone through Schengen immigration at Frankfurt. Just as a passenger transferring at Frankfurt to Hamburg today is subject to Customs at Hamburg, not Frankfurt. If arriving with bags that have been through-checked from an original embarkation point outside the EU, he needs to exit through the green or red door, and not the blue EU door.
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