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Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Curt, Oct 14, 2005.
When traveling is a customs declaration for your camera equipment necessary?
You don't say where you are traveling but when I travel from Canada to the U.S. and back (often) I stop on the way out and register my camera gear with Customs so they don't try to charge me taxes and duty on the way back. The other alternative is to carry your bill of sale (if you bought the gear in your home country) or the bill of sale and the customs paperwork (if you bought it outside the country on a previous trip.
When returning home, there is no need to declare your equipment if it was with you when you left.
Rules may vary in other countries
That is very sound advice -- in fact list all your gear with serial numbers so that you can declare them on the way out of your country. It will take about 10 extra minutes to fill in a couple of forms but that is far better than trying to convince someone your cameras aren't an import item.
All countries are different and you may find there is no need for some items over 12 months old. I recently travelled to the US and notified my customs in Australia as I left the country and had no problems coming back in.
Phone the local authourity and speak to a "real" person for some advice.
I think I will do the paperwork, I know of a man who did this paperwork when traveling a lot to Japan, one of the major photo manufacturing countries, and he was challenged a lot because of his Canon equipment etc. I'm going to Europe, why take a chance.
All of my equipment is pretty well aged, so I don't usually declare on the way out, but if you have new equipment it's a good idea.
I don't think there is anything to be gained by declaring film gear these days. If I were on my way to Singapore and had a new digicam I just might go to the trouble, then again, that's just likely to highlight the new digigear I purchased in Singapore
I always have declared my gear in and out, and has stopped problems from occuring, it is a simple process, you can get the form from a customs office, just list everything with a serial number and that way you will avoid them saying you purchased out of the country
I spent four days travelling back between the US and Canada doing a photo shoot. It was a very small crossing, the same crossing guards every day. The people we were with grew up near the crossing town (two buildings and a store), and grew up knowing the crossing guards. There was very little traffic ever, and they knew us, knew what we were doing, where we were going, who we were staying with, what the fishing was like, you name it.
The first time going over to Canada from the US (my starting point) I registered ALL of my gear - anything with a serial number. The guard was interested in the gear and asked lots of friendly questions about it. On the way back a few hours later the exact same crossing guard that helped me fill out the paperwork demanded to see said paperwork. It was late and snowing, we were tired and hungry. I had been up for a long time and had trouble finding the paperwork, and when I couldn't produce it right away he started writing up everything in order to tax me he said. This was tens of thousands of dollars worth of video gear. When I finally found the paperwork he got pissy that all his writing was in vain. He went through every piece of gear and checked the serial numbers against the paperwork that he had helped fill out. It took a long time.
On the fourth day, after having made the crossing more times than I could count they hit me with a $50 "business use" crossing fee, because I was taking jobs from Americans somehow (the rationale being that if I had done the shoot in the US incidental money would have been spent in-country rather than across the border). I protested and said that they never told me any of that before-hand, or on any other day we had crossed. They wouldn't let me through until I had paid, despite several trucks worth of gear going ahead of me.
The Canadian crossing guards never gave us those problems. They gave us others - mostly involving raiding our food supply for anything that looked tasty (you think I'm kidding???). The whole thing was a disaster as far as border crossing went.
I learned many valuable lessons on that trip. However where gear is concerned I now over-document everything.