Train Travel & Border Crossing

Old Jun 15th, 2004, 04:59 AM
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Train Travel & Border Crossing

Having never used train travel in Europe before, when travelling from one country to another (Holland to Belgium, for example), by train, will there be a customs stop when we arrive at our destination?
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 05:13 AM
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No.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 05:14 AM
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Last year we did the BeNeLux region, with the BeNeLux Rail Pass, and had no problem crossing borders. Peace.

Robyn
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 05:30 AM
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It depends.

Within Schengen, there's almost always no control (though Schengen states can and do re-impose controls from time to time. This might occasionally mean immigration officials or police asking for passports as the train's travelling between the last station in one and the first in the other)

Usually, between Shengen and non-Schengen, there are passport checks as the train approaches the border. Between the EU and the poor countries (like Belarus), or between the poor countries (like the Romania/Moldova border), the train does sometimes stop for an hour or so.

On the UK Eurostar, passport control is just like on planes.

Customs, BTW, is almost never an issue on intra-European travel for passengers. Even for merchandise, most Customs inspections are at inland ports.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 06:08 AM
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For the countries in the EU, unlikely, but customs checks can be made at any border on a random basis.

For countries outside the EU e.g. Russia, Turkey etc, then you will definitely have a customs check.

In all cases, expect to have a passport check too.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 08:01 AM
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In my experience even with the few places where passport control stil occurs (we went by train from Germany to Czch republic last year) it is either nonexistent, or Americans are exempted (yes, they can tell from your clothes) - I don;t know if its because they assume we're safe - or they're just too many folks to bother with.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 08:11 AM
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Last year we traveled by train from Prague to Vienna and then from Vienna to Budapest. We had checks between each country. Showed our train tickets and passports. Didn't amount to much. The Czech Republic and Hungary weren't EU then but are now, so perhaps this will no longer be done. In any case, it's nothing to worry about. Just have your tickets and passport ready.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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People SHOULD ABSOLUTELY understand the Schengen common-border zone that flanneruk talked about. Between two Schengen countries, no passport control; between non-Schengen countries, you need your passport. Simple as that.

The list of the 15 countries is here:

www.eurovisa.com

All Schengen countries are members of the EU, but not all EU countries are Schengen. UK, Ireland, etc, and all of the new countries that entered this year are not Schengen.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 09:29 AM
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Usually there is a cursory passport check entering Switzerland as well.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 09:34 AM
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Just returned from Europe- no passport checking at Swiss border.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 09:55 AM
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Rkkwan is right. We went from Budapest to Prague and had two border control checks: Hungary into Slovakia and Slovakia into the Czech Republic. Our border guards could have discerned we are Americans but they decided to do their duties.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 09:56 AM
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We returned from a Europe trip in March, and while traveling from Austria to Germany via train we had a passport check followed by an "unscheduled stop". I'm assuming that this isn't normal, but depending on certain circumstances it could happen.

By the way, the "unscheduled stop" was because they kicked a guy off the train that happened to be in our compartment. The German man who was also in the compartment with us told us that he had a Spain passport but that it definitely wasn't real. Border patrol searched our compartment and all our bags and asked us if the man gave us anything. They then escorted him off the train. Made for a very interesting first European train travel experience!
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 11:04 AM
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Peggyb,

I hope by this time you have figured out that unless there are unusual circumstances you will not have any "passport checks" between The Netherlands and Belgium.

Of course, if this goes on long enough we'll hear an embellished story about every possible border crossing on earth...but by then you'll be back from your trip! Have a good one.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 11:54 AM
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This was obviously not a yes or no kind of answer! Thanks for all your feedback. Basically - keep my passport and ticket handy. I wasn't anticipating any problems - just didn't know if, while we were on the train if we'd be approached, or, like air travel, would we have to go through a customs/passport check at our destination. Now I just have to worry about getting lost...........
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