Incoming Passenger Card and declarations

Discussion in 'Your Questions' started by Smanfer71, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. Smanfer71

    Smanfer71 Junior Member

    Dec 10, 2009
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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 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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  2. NM

    NM
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    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.
     
  3. MelUser

    MelUser Established Member

    Aug 6, 2007
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    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?
     
  4. samh004

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    Apr 1, 2009
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    Is that an admission? :p
     
  5. anat0l

    anat0l Enthusiast

    Dec 30, 2006
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    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.
     
  6. Smanfer71

    Smanfer71 Junior Member

    Dec 10, 2009
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    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.
     
  7. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    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.
     
  8. anat0l

    anat0l Enthusiast

    Dec 30, 2006
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    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!
     
  9. Smanfer71

    Smanfer71 Junior Member

    Dec 10, 2009
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    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.
     
  10. moa999

    moa999 Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2003
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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.
     
  11. davidj-bell

    davidj-bell Member

    May 23, 2009
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    The customs officers are usually pretty nice. When in the queue, and if you're not sure about the wood in the pencils (I have no idea if they're allowed or not), walk up to one of them and just ask.

    If in doubt, always declare, because if they catch you out, then that is where people get into trouble.

    I came through a year ago with a toddler and some bottled baby food and wasn't sure if we needed to delcare them - so we just asked. (we didn't need to)
     
  12. david870mdg

    david870mdg Member

    Jul 20, 2009
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    Wow, if only we did have the red green channels, ala Asian ports - what a luxury :p.
    Last year every time I landed from O/S back into AUS I had no choice - it was up to the quarantine officer as to whether they put you into the lines, even if you did have no goods to declare.

    O/T I always declare anything into the US - tim tams food items etc, just as a precauction, have never had a problem entering there when questioned about my declaration though :D (nor entering AUS ;))

    David
     
  13. david870mdg

    david870mdg Member

    Jul 20, 2009
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    Melbourne
    +1

    Worse in when you get put into the lines, only to arrive at the scanners and be told, "Nothing to declare? Thats fine. Go through."
    Thanks for 45 minutes wasted time AQIS....
     
  14. ozbeachbabe

    ozbeachbabe Senior Member

    Jan 10, 2009
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    If you were booked on a one plane through service with the same flight number whereby your transit point was not a ticketed point on your itinerary eg QF30 London(Heathrow) to Melbourne then I would put you boarded the flight in the United Kingdom on your orange IPC. Despite the transit stop in HKG your itinerary would only mention you are booked on QF30 LHR/MEL.

    If however you were flying CX LHR/HKG eg on CX252 then connecting immediately HKG/MEL on CX163 whereby it was the same airline all the way through and like the above scenario you again remained in transit in HKG as there are two different flight numbers I would put down that I boarded this flight in HKG because that's exactly where that flight (CX163) originated from.

    Cheers

    Oz
     
  15. anat0l

    anat0l Enthusiast

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    The luxury of Asian ports is that there is no red or green channel - you just walk out!
     
  16. ozimax

    ozimax Member

    Feb 23, 2009
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    I have never had even the slightest problem with customs in Sydney from almost 25 years of overseas travel. They have always been fairly courteous and quick.
     
  17. MelUser

    MelUser Established Member

    Aug 6, 2007
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    My comment is just an observation of the way Australia (specifically the customs/quarantine check) treats incoming passengers compared with many other parts of the world.

    Passport control into Australia is normal as per other parts of the world but once you've collected your bags and want to get out it becomes a lottery as to what happens to you next.

    If you have been lucky enough to meet a Customs Officer whilst waiting for your bags, they will stamp the form. This stamp then gets you out without further xrays, checks etc.

    If you have been busy with the kids, collecting bags or whatever and don't meet one of these floating customs bags you are then sent some down __ foresaken x ray line.

    After coming in from a long flight the last thing I appreciate is a long queue, bags xrayed and so on - especially when I'm coming from US where I'm unlikely to have anything that will hurt Australia in some way - after all that is the point of checking baggage - to make sure that there isn't something that will hurt Australia's primary industry.
     
  18. notzac

    notzac Established Member

    Oct 6, 2008
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    The only time I've ever had trouble with the nice Customs man is when I "forgot" an extra bottle of vodka that I'd packed in my suitcase. Got a lecture, but was let off with a warning.

    In my experience declaring vs. not declaring has v little bearing on whether you get sent to the x-ray queues or not. I usually have something like chocolate or wooden gifts or something else I need to declare .. more often than not I get waved straight out to landside.
     
  19. garyjohn951

    garyjohn951 Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
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    #19 garyjohn951, Feb 5, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
    I normally come back with business samples into M<elbourne and get sent to queue 1. Never anyoneis in it, go straight thru will all other lines are full.
    Agree with NM, the first line to get to that stage is the worse.
     
  20. joeymelb

    joeymelb Member

    Jul 28, 2009
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    Melbourne
    +1

    My last flight back from Singapore, there was a custom officer doing the walkabout pre-screening the pax and stamping their delcaration card. I had couple of wood items + prescribed medication that I declared, she just took a peek at them (I have those items all in my carry-on baggage) and told me to go through the Green channel.

    Furthermore, you need to let the doggies sniff your bags first before the custom officer would stamp anything and let you thru. (At least that was my experience.)

    Enjoy your flight.
     

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