How do you clear Customs Quickly?

Old Jan 6th, 1998, 09:09 PM
  #1  
L. Montgomery
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How do you clear Customs Quickly?


It seems as though I read an article somewhere that said there was a way business people and others that travel abroad often are able to clear customs separately from others with paperwork done in advance. Does anyone have any information on this? Thank You
 
Old Jan 7th, 1998, 10:21 AM
  #2  
Tricia
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The airlines gave us a customs declaration sheet to complete before we landed. Ask if they will do that. Then its all done and we breezed right through.
 
Old Jan 7th, 1998, 10:28 AM
  #3  
Tricia
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The airlines gave us a customs declaration sheet to complete before we landed. Ask if they will do that. Then its all done and we breezed right through.
 
Old Jan 7th, 1998, 02:22 PM
  #4  
Bob and Anna
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There is also a form to be filled out, with the make - serial number - model of camcorders, cameras, watches, expensive jewelry, etc.; things that you might have to prove was not purchased overseas. You get it at the airport from Customs, fill in the info - have it stamped by the Customs person and present these forms on arrival back in the states. Can also be gotten from Customs in your home city. Get a few, in case of errors!
 
Old Jan 28th, 1998, 01:11 AM
  #5  
Vikki
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Take some advice from a Customs Inspector:

1)know where you are going/have been ie.city and
hotel names.

2) know what you did there - if we are at all doubt-
ful of the purpose of your trip - we will ask

3) have your customs declaration form, your passport,
and your ticket (even if you are returning) ready to
present but only give the first two unless asked for
the third (I ask one out of five people for their
ticket randomly and more if I have suspicions)

4) keep all the members of your party together in
one line - although you may not be allowed to
approach together - I want to see who you are with!!

5) always give the information asked for - truthfully
and without trying to understand why?...although
you may not like the detailed questioning appreciate
that we are asking everything for a reason...I don't
have time in my job to waste in asking non-productive
questions...when you pause to try and figure out
why I'm asking the question or try to figure out the
"right" answer you are wasting yours and my time and
arrousing my suspicions.

6) Trust the Customs Inspectors - we know what we
are doing even if you don't. If you have a question
ask it outright, don't try and fudge an answer or
be evasive because you don't understand the question.

7) REMEMBER ALWAYS - our job is to protect you from
terrorists, drug runners, criminals, illegal
immigrants and illegal workers. At the border we do
the job for 16 federal and provincial departments,
including Environment Canada (protection of endangered
species) Immigration Canada, Customs, RCMP and Prov.
police agencies. Help us out!!!
 
Old Jan 28th, 1998, 01:11 AM
  #6  
Vikki
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Take some advice from a Customs Inspector:

1)know where you are going/have been ie.city and
hotel names.

2) know what you did there - if we are at all doubt-
ful of the purpose of your trip - we will ask

3) have your customs declaration form, your passport,
and your ticket (even if you are returning) ready to
present but only give the first two unless asked for
the third (I ask one out of five people for their
ticket randomly and more if I have suspicions)

4) keep all the members of your party together in
one line - although you may not be allowed to
approach together - I want to see who you are with!!

5) always give the information asked for - truthfully
and without trying to understand why?...although
you may not like the detailed questioning appreciate
that we are asking everything for a reason...I don't
have time in my job to waste in asking non-productive
questions...when you pause to try and figure out
why I'm asking the question or try to figure out the
"right" answer you are wasting yours and my time and
arrousing my suspicions.

6) Trust the Customs Inspectors - we know what we
are doing even if you don't. If you have a question
ask it outright, don't try and fudge an answer or
be evasive because you don't understand the question.

7) REMEMBER ALWAYS - our job is to protect you from
terrorists, drug runners, criminals, illegal
immigrants and illegal workers. At the border we do
the job for 16 federal and provincial departments,
including Environment Canada (protection of endangered
species) Immigration Canada, Customs, RCMP and Prov.
police agencies. Help us out!!!
 
Old Jan 28th, 1998, 09:44 PM
  #7  
Carole
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It would be nice if all customs officers were conscientious and polite, but unfortunately many of them take on the job because it gives them power in an otherwise boring life. For these ones, be polite, give the shortest answer you can, with a smile. Of course, most of them are highly conventional, with fixed ideas of who is "respectable", so it helps not to be young, or untidy or dirty, or to be coming from suspect central american countries, but the is not a lot you can do about that.

To speed things up, join the "something to declare" line which is always shorter than the green line. Take something small and cheap along for this purpose, like fresh food, and hand it over with an apology. or take one bottle of table wine (not spirits) over the duty free allowance and declare that. They'll probably let you through without paying the duty.
 
Old Jan 29th, 1998, 08:42 PM
  #8  
L. Montgomery
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Vicki,
Thanks so much for your precise and informative answer.
 
Old Jan 30th, 1998, 07:54 AM
  #9  
Leslie
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This is confusing to me. I've come and gone from all the European countries and the States for 5 years... and never spent any time 'clearing customs.' In Germany and France, you just walk through the 'nothing to declare' door, and no one asks you anything. Entering Great Britain, the questions amount to ' are you in the country for business or pleasure?' Entering the States, the lines are the longest, but basically the questions amount to 'Do you have anything to declare?' On the plane, beforehand, stewardesses always hand out the form you need to fill out (one per family). It's really nothing to worry about.
 
Old Feb 1st, 1998, 08:11 PM
  #10  
Amy Chew
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Leslie, you have obviously led a sheltered life, or maybe you always wear a business suit and travel first class? In many parts of the world, the custome service is very efficient and keen to keep out drugs and environmental hazards. If they decide that YOU are suspicious, you will have every item of your luggage including your dirty underwear and the seams of your clothes cchecked. When they are finished, they will leave you to put it all back in your bags. This particularly applies in Asia and the middle east.
 
Old Feb 1st, 1998, 08:13 PM
  #11  
Amy Chew
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Leslie, you have obviously led a sheltered life, or maybe you always wear a business suit and travel first class? In many parts of the world, the custome service is very efficient and keen to keep out drugs and environmental hazards. If they decide that YOU are suspicious, you will have every item of your luggage including your dirty underwear and the seams of your clothes cchecked. When they are finished, they will leave you to put it all back in your bags. This particularly applies in Asia and the middle east.
 
Old Feb 1st, 1998, 09:05 PM
  #12  
Leslie
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Amy - Besides Europe, I have traveled to Turkey, Greece, Tunisia, and Eastern Europe... and I still maintain that customs is no big deal. Granted, I have not traveled to Asia or to the Middle East... but I think the original poster was only asking about typical European customs. I could, however, be wrong about that. When I travel, I wear the traditional American garb of teeshirt, jeans, and tennis shoes, carry a back pack... and MY DREAM is to travel first-class, but it hasn't happened yet. (sigh)
 
Old Feb 2nd, 1998, 11:02 AM
  #13  
Joe Lomax
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The quickest way to clear customs is to be at the line before most people on your flight. The only way to do that is to pack only carry-on luggage. I realize this is not practical for business people who may need a number of suits, but it is a rare tourist who wished that they had carried more: most wished that they had carried less. Remember: Less is More.
 
Old Feb 2nd, 1998, 11:07 AM
  #14  
Joe Lomax
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The quickest way to clear customs is to be at the line before most people on your flight. The only way to do that is to pack only carry-on luggage. I realize this is not practical for business people who may need a number of suits, but it is a rare tourist who wished that they had carried more: most wished that they had carried less. Remember: Less is More.
 
Old Feb 6th, 1998, 09:36 AM
  #15  
Gigi
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This may be considered a "sheltered" viewpoint but it is important when you travel to look clean, neat and respectable, interpret that how you will. How you present yourself sends messages you may not even be aware of to those around you, and that is just a fact. I know in this era of "do whatever feels good" that is not at all a politically correct statement. However, if you appear dirty, unkempt, or inappropriate for the circumstances you are going to appear to customs inpectors and local authorities like you are not concerned with pesky things like laws either. If you are dressed appropriately, and speak truthfully and directly and with a smile, your chances of being hassled at the customs line will be diminished greatly. A customs agent does not have a lifetime to get to know you and all of the subtle wonderful nuances of your personality, so make it easy on them. Whether you like it or not, they are going to assess whether you are suspicious or a threat in the first few seconds they look at you. For the same reason, if you come back from Paris in a designer suit with status luggage, dripping with jewels, and dragging a fur while telling the agent you have "nothing to declare" don't be suprised if your bags are searched, just for good measure. As with most things in life, it is amazing how far common sense will get you.
 
Old Feb 7th, 1998, 08:31 PM
  #16  
Patrick Barnette
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I agree with most of the replies about being neat, non-flashy, polite, and early to customs. Also, going into most other countries is usually not a big deal (especially Canada, where you will never meet such nice border agents). However, coming back to the states can be a pain. A lot of the agents are mall security guards with attitudes, and watch out if you are a minority. I can't remember the number of times I (a young traveler) have breezed through customs in a number of countries, while the minority family or businessman or businesswoman or whoever has there bags ripped apart. I wish it wasn't that way, but it is.
 
Old Jan 4th, 2003, 04:32 AM
  #17  
xxx
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It may help to not look like the profile of the types most likely to be breaking the customs laws. so not too dressed up and not too grubby either.
 
Old Jan 4th, 2003, 06:13 AM
  #18  
Ian
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The original poster probably read about the INS pass program. This is only used to travel to the US through several Canadian airports (similar program for some ground ports too).

You get a pass that allows you to bypass the long lines at immigration when flying to the US.

The pass can only be used at THAT specific INS station.
 
Old Jan 4th, 2003, 09:43 AM
  #19  
John
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I agree with Leslie. I also have travelled all over Europe and never have had a problem or a long wait. The only Asian country I've been to is Thailand and had no bad experience there either. I am a senior citizen and travel in Jeans and t-shirt or sport shirt. Guess I don't fit the profile but I do look like just your average early 60's person.
 
Old Jan 4th, 2003, 10:00 AM
  #20  
Sharon
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Hey - PEOPLE - This thread is FIVE years old! Nothing is the same anymore. xxx - why did you top this anyway? DUMB!
 

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