Customs, or to be more precise, going through Customs at the airport. In some countries, like Australia, people need to fill in an entry card and in other countries, you don’t. The key is to have all your information right at the start of your planning. We usually search for the visas we need to apply for, so why not get everything done at once and get it all organised?
Going through Immigration
Usually, it all starts with Immigration. That is when we officially enter the country we are visiting. In most cases, it is a very long and frustrating wait in a very long queue. Depending on the country you are in. I think if you have everything ready and you know which queue you must join, it will be easier for you to go through the process.
It is important to ensure that all your information is correct. I remember the first time I visited Australia, my travel agent made a mistake in my name. Portuguese names are very long and she just forgot to put one of those names. When I got to the airport, the name on my passport did not match the name on the ticket. It was a silly mistake that was easily fixed. I explained to the Senior Immigration Officer what it was and even provided my Portuguese Identity card. After that, I always checked if all names were correct, so I wouldn’t have to go through that again.
Nothing to Declare?
Next is Customs. Here is where most problems happen, at least here in Australia. We even have a TV show about it. Lots of confusion and undeclared goods that end up costing a lot of money for those who bring them in.
A lot of countries have restrictions on what you can and cannot bring to the country. Australia is one of those countries. Before you arrive, you are given an Entry Card and you should declare everything you got. Some people don’t and then they will have problems at the airport. One of the biggest problems is food.
One of the problems I’ve seen is the language barrier. In a lot of languages, the word food refers to uncooked food or already prepared meals, things like tea, chocolates and sweets are a different category. So when they are asked if they bring food they respond, no. It is very important to understand that in English, food is anything you can eat or drink, so your tea, your lollies and anything else you may bring must be declared.
Some items, if commercially packed may be allowed in, others won’t. So to avoid wasting money or getting a fine, it is important to read all the rules before you travel. Most importantly, it is important that you are transparent. If you declare and explain what it is you might be allowed to keep it, if you hide it you may end up starting your trip with a heavy fine.