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Outbound Immigration

Once you are checked in, you can move through to the outbound immigration area. There is usually a multitude of retail and food outlets prior to going through outbound immigration area. You will most probably want to get through immigration and into the retail/food outlets or the airline lounge/club on the other side of immigration as quickly as possible. This

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Once you are checked in, you can move through to the outbound immigration area. There is usually a multitude of retail and food outlets prior to going through outbound immigration area. You will most probably want to get through immigration and into the retail/food outlets or the airline lounge/club on the other side of immigration as quickly as possible. This is a best way to ensure you are on time for your flight. Immigration lines can be very long at peak times and are variable so best to pass immigration quickly. You never know how long they will be until you arrive.

Hot Tip:

Once you have been through outbound immigration, you have technically left the country.

Remember you will not be able to go back. The check-in and your car will be off limits so make sure you are ready to leave the country when you go into the immigration area.

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    Customs Immigration Process Outbound

    The customs immigration process is straight forward and let us start with outbound (when you depart). You will need your passport (with relevant visas), boarding pass and immigration form if it is required to get through immigration.
    There will most likely be several lines for passing through immigration so read the signage.
    General – there will be a general

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    The customs immigration process is straight forward and let us start with outbound (when you depart). You will need your passport (with relevant visas), boarding pass and immigration form if it is required to get through immigration.

    There will most likely be several lines for passing through immigration so read the signage.

    General – there will be a general line for most passengers. In some airports there are two general lines; one for local citizens and permanent residents and another for foreigners (sometimes called “aliens”).

    Flight Crew – there will also be a line for flight crew.

    Fast Track – there may be a line for passengers with a designated “Fast Track Pass”. These are usually awarded to first and business class passengers in the airports that have these available.

    APEC Business Travel Card holders – there will be a line for these card holders.

    Other lines – sometimes there are lines for families, diplomats, etc

    The customs immigration process includes lines which in some countries, can be very long. Be patient and use the time to check that you have completed all relevant sections of the forms and have answered the questions accurately. The immigration officers work for the government of the country you are departing from. They have no association with the airlines. Make sure you have completed the immigration forms correctly and completely as this will ensure quick passage through this area. It is also the law that the forms be completed accurately.

    Remember to check the back of the immigration card. In some countries, there are more details required which are printed on the reverse side of the card.

    It is usually against the law to use your mobile/cell phone while you are in this area so be aware of the signage. The immigration officer may ask you some questions and will stamp your passport. He will keep the forms and will return your passport and boarding pass.

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      Immigration Inbound

      Immigration Inbound requires documents to be completed accurately. In the boarding area for the flight or on the flight you will be given a customs and immigration form/s to complete. This will require you to complete personal particulars and some detail on where you have been. Depending on the quarantine laws it may ask a series of questions regarding what

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      Immigration Inbound requires documents to be completed accurately. In the boarding area for the flight or on the flight you will be given a customs and immigration form/s to complete. This will require you to complete personal particulars and some detail on where you have been. Depending on the quarantine laws it may ask a series of questions regarding what you are carrying with you. It is critical that you complete the form accurately and completely. If you are not sure, declare it. It is better to be safe than sorry. There will be heavy fines, sometime jail sentences and even the death penalty for drug offences in place for breach of these issues. There will also be heavy fines for incorrect declarations on the forms.

      These forms are available in many languages. So ask for a form in a language you are fluent in to ensure that you complete the form accurately. Not understanding will not be an acceptable response to why the form is incorrectly completed.

      It is obvious that illegal activities are one area that countries are targeting – eg drug trafficking, weapons which may be legal in one country are not in others. Apart from the obvious illegal drugs, some prescription drugs may not yet have been approved for sale in a country. If you are carrying such a drug, you will require a letter from your doctor to bring those drugs into that country or they may not be allowed. Click here for All Things Medical. Further, some products like steroids are just not legal in certain countries. You will be in serious breach of legislation if you try to bring them in.

      The country you are entering may also be trying to protect its industries from certain diseases – eg wood products may contain insects that are not prevalent in the country that you are going into. The local government may be trying to ensure that these pests and diseases do not enter the country. Make sure you check this out prior to departure as it will be illegal to enter these countries with those goods. If you have them, you will need to declare them on the customs form and they will most likely be confiscated. If you do not declare these goods and try to enter the country with them, you are breaking the law. If caught, the goods will be confiscated, you may be fined and at worst deported.

      Contraband products like pirated CD’s and DVD’s and designer handbags and shoes are also an area of focus for many countries. This is about protecting their local entertainment and luxury goods industries. Copyright legislation will be in place which you will be in contravention of if you bring these types of products in.

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        Immigration Lines Inbound

        You will be required to stand in the Immigration lines and there will most likely be several lines which will be clearly marked.
        Local Residents Lane – for people from the country that you are entering. This could also include residents of neighboring countries that have arrangements with that country to allow them in this line (eg EU

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        You will be required to stand in the Immigration lines and there will most likely be several lines which will be clearly marked.

        Local Residents Lane – for people from the country that you are entering. This could also include residents of neighboring countries that have arrangements with that country to allow them in this line (eg EU member countries in Europe).

        Foreigners (sometimes called “Aliens”) Lane – for all non resident people entering the country.

        Fast-Track Lane – some countries have a lane specified for First and/or business class passengers. You will need to have an invitation card to join this lane which would have been given to you onboard the aircraft.

        Airline Staff Lane – for airline staff, flight attendants, etc.

        APEC Business Travel cardholders will be listed on the Fast Track Lane or the airline staff lane so watch for the signs.

        Other

        At the immigration desk, the attendant may ask you some questions. Where you have been and for how long, what you were doing there, where you will be staying. They may quiz you on the questions on your customs declaration form. They may ask you to show a return or onward bound ticket. They will check your photo and scan your passport. In some countries, they require a digital photograph and/or fingerprints (which are taken electronically at the desk). They will stamp your passport and if there is a customs declaration form. They will give it back to you and may tell you to leave by a particular number or colored lane.

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          Luggage Collection

          Luggage collection at the carousel is prior to going through customs. Check the signs. Your flight number and carousel number will be displayed. Your bags will be arriving on the carousel number that aligns to your flight number. You need to collect all your bags. Put them on a trolley (which will be provided) and move onto customs.
          You will

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          Luggage collection at the carousel is prior to going through customs. Check the signs. Your flight number and carousel number will be displayed. Your bags will be arriving on the carousel number that aligns to your flight number. You need to collect all your bags. Put them on a trolley (which will be provided) and move onto customs.

          You will be required to clear customs at this point.. This is irrespective of whether you are traveling onto another city in the same country. The point of entry into a country (and the EU in the case of Europe) is where this process takes place. So all your bags will need to be collected and then re-checked-in even if they have been tagged for your final destination.

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            Lost Luggage

            The facts on lost luggage are as follows. 3.5 billion bags fly from one location to another every year. 12 in every 1000 bags or 1.2% do not arrive on the scheduled flight. 99% of those lost are recovered within 3 days. The other 1% being lost for longer or never recovered. So in summary, the strike rate for bags

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            The facts on lost luggage are as follows. 3.5 billion bags fly from one location to another every year. 12 in every 1000 bags or 1.2% do not arrive on the scheduled flight. 99% of those lost are recovered within 3 days. The other 1% being lost for longer or never recovered. So in summary, the strike rate for bags arriving is very good and recovery of lost bags is also very good. One in 100,000 or 0.001% of bags are lost forever which means it is highly unlikely your bags will be gone forever.

            If you do have missing baggage there will be an airline counter for missing baggage at this point. You will be required to fill in forms detailing your personal information and what the bags look like. You will be asked where they are to be on-sent to when they are relocated (your hotel, office, home or wherever you nominate). You will also be required to produce your luggage receipts that were given to you on check-in.

            They will give you a telephone number to follow up with but usually, the airline will contact you when the bags are recovered. They will let you know that they are en route to your nominated delivery location. Sometimes they already know the whereabouts of your bags and will inform you at the counter what the next steps will be.

            You need to follow up the airlines for lost baggage. Sometimes they are even known to have the bags in their office and not call the passenger. This is probably to do with people changing shifts and the new employee on shift thinking the employee on the previous shift already called. Airlines can can be inefficient on this. Remember it is an exception.

            If you have lost luggage for more than 24 hours, there are compensation amounts available to purchase toiletries and similar items. The longer the luggage is lost, the more compensation you are entitled to. Increasingly the airlines make the process of collecting the compensation challenging. Receipts and documents needs to be filed to the airline in limited time frames. Some airlines have a daily rate which makes the process easier. Make sure you ask what you are entitled to when you complete the lost luggage forms.

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              Customs

              In countries that require customs declarations, there will be another line. You should join the line you were instructed to at Immigration. If you were not instructed at Immigration, join the green line if you have no goods to declare (see the customs declaration form). Join the red line if you have goods to declare (see the customs declaration form).

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              In countries that require customs declarations, there will be another line. You should join the line you were instructed to at Immigration. If you were not instructed at Immigration, join the green line if you have no goods to declare (see the customs declaration form). Join the red line if you have goods to declare (see the customs declaration form). You will be asked to produce your customs declaration form when you meet the attendant who will instruct you where to go from there.

              You may be randomly selected to have all your baggage checked. It may be that all bags are scanned for contraband goods. Australia, New Zealand are two countries which scan most bags. In a minority of cases, you may be called aside for a detailed random assessment (which usually incorporates assessing your luggage for traces of drugs).

              The attendants will be very helpful and polite and will direct you as to what is required.

              You may see the customs dogs with their handlers at this area or even at the luggage carousel. These dogs are trained to sniff drugs and other contraband. They are very cute and well cared for dogs but they are working dogs so you should not pet them.

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                Domestic Transfer from International Flights

                A domestic transfer from international flights is straight forward but perhaps not intuitive. Your luggage will need to be cleared customs with you even if the luggage tags show that the final destination is on an onward flight. Once you have cleared customs, there will be a domestic check-in area (follow the signs) for you to get a boarding card

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                A domestic transfer from international flights is straight forward but perhaps not intuitive. Your luggage will need to be cleared customs with you even if the luggage tags show that the final destination is on an onward flight. Once you have cleared customs, there will be a domestic check-in area (follow the signs) for you to get a boarding card for your onward journey (if you do not already have one). You will also need to re-check your bags which may have already been tagged through to the final destination. They need to be redirected to baggage handling post customs.

                The domestic terminal may be in a different location to the international terminal or the onward flight may be in a different terminal. If this is the case a bus or train will be available to transit between terminals which will be free of charge at most airports. Look for the signs or ask your airline representative if you need help.

                Hot Tip:

                One airline may fly out of several terminals so you need to check the destination or flight number details to ensure you get to the correct terminal. Follow the signs and read the detail!

                eg British Airways flies out of many terminals at London Heathrow. A bus transits passengers between terminals at Heathrow and the signs at each terminal outline the destinations that BA flies to from that terminal. The same is true at Changi Singapore Airport where Singapore Airlines flies out of more than one terminal and there is a train between terminals.

                Be careful to check the signs in detail as you will be delayed if you get off at the wrong stop and you may have limited time for your transit.

                If you do get off at the wrong stop you will be allowed on the next bus to go to another terminal.

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