the dumbest question you've ever heard

Old Jan 14th, 2003, 10:49 AM
  #1  
huh
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the dumbest question you've ever heard

but I'll ask anyway.

what exactly is the difference in terms b/w customs and immigration? I know customs is when you go home, immigration is when you are entering another country...

but

each person on the aircraft gets dropped at the same place, they don't send some people one way and others, another way (OK, except that you will see a line for US passengers and non-US, or EU passengers and non-EU)

so why the big deal in using the terminology? I've seen so many people corrected here for using customs generically.
 
Old Jan 14th, 2003, 11:05 AM
  #2  
xxx
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Immigration has to do with people coming into the country -- both those who live there and are returning and those from other countries visiting. Customs has to do with what things those people are bringing into the country.
Immigration is concerned with a person who may not belong there.
Customs is concerned with getting the tax for the articles the person has purchased elsewhere.
 
Old Jan 14th, 2003, 11:08 AM
  #3  
John
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Customs deals with merchandise, immigration deals with people. Both apply regardless of whether you're leaving or returning, though obviously the laws and regulations will apply differently to citizens/non-citizens of the country you're entering.
 
Old Jan 14th, 2003, 11:14 AM
  #4  
simple
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It is not the dumbest question ever, because I see many posters mixing up the two.
Every country in the world has both a customs and an immigration department.
The simplest definition: the first one checks goods being brought into the country and the second one monitors people coming in. Two different issues.
You always go first through immigration, and then through customs with your belongings.
 
Old Jan 14th, 2003, 11:26 AM
  #5  
Ryn
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When you run the gauntlet at an airport coming off an international flight, you normally will encounter 4 types of precautionary checks, which may or may not be done by people in 4 different uniforms. I'll use US terminology, as that is what most of us here are most familiar with.

1. Immigration (US: Immigration & Naturalization Service): these folks are concerned with keeping track of humans and determining the nationality of those humans for reasons such as work eligibility. They will check for visas and passport validity. If they think that your documents might be false, they may question your reasons for being where you are.

2. Customs (US: United States' Customs Service). These folks are concerned with collecting taxes and keeping track of goods which enter the country. Certain items, like new ivory, for example, are illegal to possess, so they will attempt to be sure that you don't possess them. Other items are legal, but taxed, and they will attempt to be sure that you pay the appropriate taxes.

3. Security (US: Transportation Security Administration) These people are charged with making sure that persons do not create dangerous conditions in airports and airplanes. They check for dangerous articles and attempt to discover if your reason for being in the airport is to facilitate commission of a criminal act while there.

4. Agriculture (US: Dept. of Agriculture) These officials are concerned with keeping out creatures and substances that might contaminate a nation's food supply, or cause crop failure. They look for contraband items that might harbor destructive insects, animals or organisms, or materials that might have been contaminated by such things.

Each of these is necessary from the host country's point of view. When you confuse the functions of the various organizations, you also may become confused as to whether a specific procedure makes sense. Example: Immigration probably does not have a reason to check the state of your shoes, but Security and Agriculture might. Customs might also want to inspect them, if the shoes appeared to be made of the hide of an endangered species, or have diamond-studded heels.
 
Old Jan 14th, 2003, 12:22 PM
  #6  
Jens
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I had a customs agent why I needed so much chocolate - as if a person could ever have enough swiss and belgian chocolate - geez.
 
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