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Questions regarding U.S. Citizen Customs and Immigration Procedures

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Jul 10th, 2010, 01:09 PM
  #1
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Questions regarding U.S. Citizen Customs and Immigration Procedures

Hello all,

My wife and I (U.S. Citizens with Passports) are taking a trip to Europe for our 3rd anniversary. I was hoping some of you seasoned veterans could help us out with a question. First our detailed itinerary:

PIT to PHL to CDG
Paris to London via Eurostar
London to Shannon via Aer Lingus
Dublin to PHL to PIT via US Airways

Questions:
1. When traveling between Paris and London via Eurostar, what are the immigration/customs procedures? I know that the UK is outside of the Schengen Agreement, so I assume there will be some kind or entry form etc.

2. When flying from Heathrow to Shannon, what type of immigration/customs procedure can we expect? I know these two have their own agreement, just not sure what this means for a U.S. citizen coming from one of the countries.

Thank you in advance for your time

RWM
whippedboy76 is offline  
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Jul 10th, 2010, 01:30 PM
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Can only say for the Eurostar Customs i have taken as a U.S. citizen many times - when going to London in Paris after entering the Eurostar area you go thru French Customs - they stamp your passport for leaving the EU and you get a Landing Card to fill out to give British Customs - either in France or upon arrival in London - i've had it done both ways. But you will pass by bored-looking British Customs agents when leaving the Eurostar train in the U.K. even if actual British Customs were technically carried out in Paris or even on the train - and spot checks of luggage can be made at St Pancras.

As an American i would expect to have your passport stamped leaving the U.K. and upon re-entering the E U in Ireland -the Irish-British accord being irrelevant
to Americans as the EU trumps that for non-EU citizens i believe.
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Jul 10th, 2010, 01:32 PM
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J62
 
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You will show your passport to US Air agent at PIT where they will scan the info into their computer system. At PHL USAir may or may not (likely not) glance at your passport as you board the plane. Upon arrival at CDG no forms are required - you just hand your passport to the immigration agent and they'll scan it, stamp it, and hand it back to you.


Paris to London - also no forms required - you just hand your passport to the immigration agent and they'll scan it, stamp it, and hand it back to you.

London to Dublin: No immigration control - it's treated like a domestic flight.

It's only upon arrival back in the US when you'll fill out a form. USAir will hand them out on the plane before arrival.
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Jul 10th, 2010, 01:35 PM
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J62
 
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Looks like PalenQ and my experiences are different. I don't recall the UK customs form, but I could be wrong, and I don't recall having my passport stamped UK to Ireland. It's been a few years since was in/out of the UK, so I could be mistaken.
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Jul 10th, 2010, 01:41 PM
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1. Your passport will be checked in London before boarding your train, by French immigration officials. There is as yet no consistent exit control by the British, and not yet at Eurostar.
2. Things were expected to change soon until the new government in UK came in May and decided put them on hold, but currently there is no passport check when flying between UK and Ireland. You will have to produce an ID when checking in for your flight and often at the gate, and you can show your US passport for it. But this isn't immigration check. When you land at Shannon, at the passport control desk you can just show your boarding card (keep it) and you will in all likelihood be let through, though they do have the right to demand to see your passport, as you are neither British nor Irish national.
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Jul 10th, 2010, 02:42 PM
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Okay...just did some of it last month. Leaving the USA on an international flight really is no different than a domestic flight. They will check your passport when checking in (so they don't have to foot the bill if you're rejected on the other side of the pond) but little else.

Upon arrival at CDG, you go through French (Schengen) immigration. There are no forms...when you follow the sortie signs you will end up at passport control and you show your USA passport to the immigration officer (a lot of people do not know the difference between immigration and customs; they are separate entities)....when I arrived in Paris on 03 June, they didn't even bother to stamp passports believe it or not.

Eurostar....when you arrive at Gare du Nord, you follow signs and go upstairs to a separate eurostar boarding area...you will find a desk full of British landing cards. The UK requires a anding card of all non EU entrants...it is a simple form. After c hecking in (you scan your ticket), there is a French passport control who shrugs his or her shoulder, stamps your passport for leaving Schengen turf. Twenty feet further is a UK immigration desk. They look at your landing card, take it, stamp it and your passport and ask a few routine questions (how long will you be in the UK, where are you staying)....you then go through and put your bags through an x ray scanner. When they all your train, down the stairs you go and board the train (they check your ticket before you go downstairs). Upon arrival at St. Pancras, you clear UK customs...99% of the time you just walk off the train..there are customs inspections done either randomly or not so randomly but I (and 99% of people) have never been stopped.

Now LHR to Shannon is considered, at least for the time being, almost a domestic flight. The UK and Ireland are in a common customs area. However upon arrival in Dublin, they will look at your passport (for some reason they distribute an Irish landing card but it's never been looked at), and they stamp your passport. There is talk the UK will be instituting some sort of border control but it's really nonsenical as by agreement there are no border controls between the Republic and Northern Ireland anyway and no controls say if you fly from London to Belfast which indeed is a domestic flight.

Now, there was some misinformation above. The US government has an agreement with the Republic of Ireland. You will fill out your US customs form in Dublin, at the Dublin airport and will clear US immigration and customs procedures there (including for non US, non Canadian, non green card holders the inamous thumb print and picture). Therefore upon arrival in the USA, it's treated as a cleared flight (they do the same with Canadian flights, US immigration and customs is carried out in the Canadian airport).....

Now, just as an aside, if you do what I am doing in August, that is flying back to the USA from Shannon by way of London (can't pass up those AA miles), I would not have this advantage. I would fly from Shannon to London as a domestic flight (no immigration controls at LHR), check in with AA at LHR, go through the imbecilic extra security checks required on all USA bound flights and have to clear USA immigration and customs upon arrival at my first USA stop (JFK in this case).....

Believe this is all correct.
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Jul 10th, 2010, 03:11 PM
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In re-checking, apparently not all flights from Dublin to the USA pre clear in Dublin although Aer Lingus is advertising in some British publications the advantages of flying to the USA via Dublin and the pre-clearance...apparently Aer Lingus is moving to the new terminal (or has moved) and almost all US Aer Lingus flights will pre-clear but you have to check with the airline....the info also says AA to Chicago does not pre-clear...if you don't pre clear than on arrival at your fist USA destination, you go through immigration and customs...I do it all the time at JFK and the lines for American citizens and green card holders move very quickly through immigration while foreigners get their mug shots taken and their thumb prints taken which slows thingh up quite a bit.
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Jul 10th, 2010, 03:56 PM
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Don't worry about it. Just follow the lines, fill out the forms you're given (if any) and present whatever documents you're asked for.
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Jul 11th, 2010, 03:54 AM
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jsmith has the right advice. All of what you have read above is more or less correct under some circumstances. For example, my daughter came back from Dublin June 28 and cleared in Dublin. My passport has 100% always been checked again at the jetway in Boston by BA, AA, Air France, Sabena, United, Virgin, Lufthansa, and Alitalia. And maybe Air Canada. My passport has been stamped going into France, and it has not been stamped going into France. Go figure.
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Jul 11th, 2010, 05:50 AM
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ira
 
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>Upon arrival at CDG no forms are required - you just hand your passport to the immigration agent and they'll scan it, stamp it, and hand it back to you.<

Unless someone decides that you all have to fill out a yellow form from a stack at the agent's window and no one has a pen available. That can slow things down.

>Don't worry about it. Just follow the lines, fill out the forms you're given (if any) and present whatever documents you're asked for.<

Excellent advice from js.

Enjoy your visit.

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Jul 11th, 2010, 05:55 AM
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I was really wondering what difference it makes. Whatever they will be, you'll find out and have to do them. I have never thought about this ahead of time no matter where I have traveled.
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Jul 11th, 2010, 06:31 AM
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So it's go with the flow...I like that.
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Jul 11th, 2010, 10:32 AM
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I did leave out one piece of advice: read the signs.
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