Going to Europe/Clearing customs

Apr 19th, 2007, 06:50 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 18
Going to Europe/Clearing customs

We are flying from Omaha, Nebraska to Valencia, Spain with change of planes in Chicago and Madrid (3 hour layover in Madrid). We will be checked through to Valencia but would we pick our bags up in Madrid, clear customs there then have the bags placed on the flight to Valencia, or will we just clear customs when we arrive in Valencia? Also, if we would wait until Valencia to clear customs, would we be able to leave the security area in Madrid during our 3 hour layover without clearing customs? It seems to me, where one first enters the country of destination (which would be Madrid) is where customs would be cleared but I would like like some good advice from someone that knows. Thank you in advance. John
jfletch is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 07:06 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 17,158
If your bags get checked through to Valencia (ie if your transatlantic airline has an agreement with the domestic carrier in Spain), your bags go through customs in Valencia (or rather Valencia is where they don't go through customs: you just pick them up and walk out the door) and immigration in Madrid.

If there's no agreement, you collect your bags at Madrid, walk through the green channel at customs and check in for your connecting flight.

Of course you can leave the security area. You've got to go back throiugh security to get on a plane though.

flanneruk is online now  
Apr 19th, 2007, 07:45 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 18
When you state "immigration in Madrid" does that mean we still pick up our bags in Valencia(assuming the airline agreement)but go through immigration in Madrid when we land? Thank you!
jfletch is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 07:58 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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We do not have "immigration" in Europe. There is just a passport check which takes about 15 seconds per passenger. No forms, no questions, no long lines.

And usually there is no customs check. You just go through the green channel. No forms, no questions.

In your case, there will be a passport control in Madrid, none in Valencia. You will collect your bags in Valencia and go through customs there. Unless you hav e contraband, you will just go through the green channel, that's all.

Not comparable with the U.S.
traveller1959 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 08:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,167
Hi jf,

You arrive in Madrid.

You go through passport control.

> would we be able to leave the security area in Madrid during our 3 hour layover?

Yes, but you won't be able to go very far, because you will have to go through Security to get back in.

You will get your baggage in Valencia.

At Customs, you go through the "nothing to declare" door.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 08:49 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
Actually your luggage (and you) will go through Customs at Madrid - as it's a bit pointless doing customs at the end of an internal Spanish flight.

You won't have to pick up your luggage though as Europe has ways of checking luggage without your being present
alanRow is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 10:11 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 170
I know that when I have flown back into the US, you must claim your luggage at the first stop. For example, I flew from London to Minneapolis but we had a connection in Detroit. We had to go claim our luggage in Detroit and go through customs - re-check the bag right near customs area and then pick up our bag in Mpls (without having to go through customs in Mpls).

Question -- I am flying to Rome in May with a stop and plane change in Amsterdam. Will we have to get our checked bag and go through customs in AMS and then recheck to Rome? How will it work??
queener is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 10:38 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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No, queener, nothing like the US procedure.

You won't see your checked baggage before Rome. You will go through customs in Rome - as jfletch will go through customs in Valencia.

But know I understand the concerns of many posters on this forum, asking if a connecting time of 50 min in Munich will be enough. For us Europeans, of course it is enough. But if you are used to the American procedure with immigration, claiming, customs and re-checking these questions become understandable.

traveller1959 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,108
Yes - the American procedure takes awhile, and is really confusing. No wonder we are worried about connection times - LOL.

I don't know if Chicago is particularly difficult or if this is par for the course, but last summer we flew Munich to Chicago to San Jose, and it was a mess. NO ONE seemed to know what was going on, not even the airport employees. And when we rechecked our bags, it was nothing more than leaving them in a pile with everyone else's bags, just sitting there in front of the counter. I was so glad we were on the way home because we just knew that our luggage would not find its way from that pile to our plane - and we were correct. Fortunately our luggage showed up the next day.
J_Correa is offline  

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