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Do most people end up going through the red "something to declare" channel, when entering Australia (ie Melbourne) from overseas (ie UK), as a precaution, and are the queues really ...
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  1. #1
    Junior Member Smanfer71's Avatar
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    Incoming Passenger Card and declarations

    Do most people end up going through the red "something to declare" channel, when entering Australia (ie Melbourne) from overseas (ie UK), as a precaution, and are the queues really long?

    We are going to have to go through this channel anyway because of my husband's personal medication, so I believe.

    We will also be taking crayons/colouring pencils for our daughter to use during the long flight - do these need to be declared as they are made of wood?

    Apologies if my questions seem a bit silly, but I would like to make our transition through the airport as smooth as possible, after such a long flight with a toddler!

    Thanks.

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    Re: Incoming Passenger Card and declarations

    On arrival into MEL, everyone queues in the same line to approach the exit (this is generally were the delays are experienced). At the head of that queue is an officer that checks your card, may ask some quick questions, and directs you to a particular line. if nothing to declare there is a chance you may be directed straight through the exit doors. Otherwise you may be directed to an x-ray queue or if declaring something to the appropriate agents.

    Generally its quicker if not declaring, but in my experience the biggest delays in MEL are the queue to get to the decision point.

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    Established Member MelUser's Avatar
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    Re: Incoming Passenger Card and declarations

    Coming into Australia can be smooth or can be a nightmare (no difference whether Aus passport holder or not).

    When I visit other countries of the world - USA or europe/UK - their customs trusts my declaration and waves me through.

    On return to Australia, 1/3 of time our cases are xrayed - never an explanation or apology given.

    It seems odd to me that the rest of the world trusts me but my own country does not.

    All xrays have been after return from US - I mean seriously - what are they looking for - undeclared Hershey Bars?

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    Re: Incoming Passenger Card and declarations

    Quote Originally Posted by MelUser View Post
    All xrays have been after return from US - I mean seriously - what are they looking for - undeclared Hershey Bars?
    Is that an admission?
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    Re: Incoming Passenger Card and declarations

    I don't get into the "red channel" just for kicks or "just in case", I do it because most of the time I do have something to declare.

    Usually it's not a lot, so the process for me is fairly quick. I've also been lucky in both SYD and MEL not to bump into huge queues (except one time in SYD); I've also had the experience before where I've been given a couple of quick questions (e.g. "What do you have?") whilst standing in the queue, and after answering these have been allowed to cut the queue and go straight to the exit.

    I don't think the colouring pencils should cause a ruckus; I think the initial "screeners" who sort out whether you can go to exit or go to the benches ask what you have - from here you could tell them (after ticking "yes" on the form) that you've got such-and-such, and if they think it's trivial enough you might just get waved to the exit.

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    Junior Member Smanfer71's Avatar
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    Re: Incoming Passenger Card and declarations

    Thank you all for the replies. I think Qantas give out colouring pencils with their kiddy backpacks anyway ... so I would be surprised if they confiscated them!

    Can I ask another question relating to the IPCs, please? It says on the card that you need to state the country in which you boarded the flight. If I'm flying from LHR, but stopping in Hong Kong for a couple of hours to refuel (effectively "in transit") do I say I boarded the flight from the UK, or Hong Kong. To me the question isn't clear enough - again apologies if it sounds stupid! I just want to get it right!

    Thanks.

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    Re: Incoming Passenger Card and declarations

    Quote Originally Posted by Smanfer71 View Post
    It says on the card that you need to state the country in which you boarded the flight. If I'm flying from LHR, but stopping in Hong Kong for a couple of hours to refuel (effectively "in transit") do I say I boarded the flight from the UK, or Hong Kong.
    The rule I use is to use the city where I last was 'landside'. So if at Hong Kong I slipped out of the airport and got some noodles, then that's what I write. If I just hung around the inside of the airport, then I would use LHR. Immigration/Customs doesn't really care about airside transfers, only what you could have 'picked up' outside of the airport.

    Regarding the pencils etc, it is much easier to just declare them as a wooden item for customs. They have some warped views as to the definition of various things (eg food is anything you put in your mouth??? ), but actually have a pretty good sense of logic when they see something they don't care about and will normally wave you through.

    But, if you don't declare something they think you should be declaring - then all hell can break loose. If you can find some episodes of Border Security (or Nothing to Declare assuming you are based in the UK - it's on tv during the day), you'll see the mentality used.

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    Re: Incoming Passenger Card and declarations

    Quote Originally Posted by Smanfer71 View Post
    Thank you all for the replies. I think Qantas give out colouring pencils with their kiddy backpacks anyway ... so I would be surprised if they confiscated them!
    Don't forget that Qantas themselves don't confiscate them - Australian Customs do.

    We all have to play by their rules; this doesn't mean that Australian companies (let alone Australian airlines) like them any more than we do!
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    Junior Member Smanfer71's Avatar
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    Re: Incoming Passenger Card and declarations

    We won't be going outside the airport, so I that makes it clear, now. And, yes, I have been watching Border Control/Nothing to Declare (it's on series record!), which is what is scaring me - I don't want to be ending up in one of their interview rooms (not that I can see how I would, but still!).

    Thanks again everyone for your replies, they have been very helpful.

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    Re: Incoming Passenger Card and declarations

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    Also if you see some customs inspectors lurking / chatting to other passengers around the baggage carousel, try and position yourself close to them.

    If you are lucky they will look at your card, ask you a few questions, stamp the card and send you straight to the exit.


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