You’ve got your luggage (or your airline is busy looking for it!) and you’re almost ready to leave the airport. One final thing: you need to go through customs.
Customs can be a little inconvenient sometimes, but there are a few things you can do to make sure the process is quick and easy.
Firstly, check the customs rules for the country you are visiting. There is often a guide that tells you what you can and can’t bring with you when you enter a country. For example, it’s likely that you won’t be able to bring fruit, meat, plants or animals with you. Make sure you don’t pack any forbidden items in your suitcase!
Secondly, if you are given a Customs Declaration Form on your flight, make sure that you have filled it out before you arrive at customs. This will save you some time.
Often, you will need to talk to a customs officer and they will ask you some questions about your visit and your luggage.
If there are no forbidden items in your luggage, you can say you have ‘nothing to declare’. If you’re not sure, you can always ask a customs officer. If you do have forbidden items in your luggage, they will probably be confiscated and you may also have to pay a fine.
Here are some example dialogues to help you:
A: Good morning, mam. Do you have anything in your luggage that you need to declare?
B: No, I have nothing to declare.
A: May I see your passport and Customs Declaration Form, please?
B: Of course. Here you go.
A: What’s the purpose of your visit?
B: I’m here to visit a friend in London for a week. We’re going to go sightseeing and go to the theatre.
A: Thank you. Have a wonderful trip.
A: Please give me your passport and Customs Declaration Form.
A: Do you have any items in your bags that you need to declare?
B: No, I don’t think so.
A: Any food items?
B: Oh! I have some fruit I bought from a farmer’s market yesterday. Is that ok?
A: No, you can’t bring that into the country. Please step to one side. We’ll need to check your bag.