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Author Topic: Questions about crossing the border with your gear  (Read 16057 times)

tami1215

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Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« on: March 15, 2011, 10:21:26 AM »
Hi there,

I hope this is a new topic.  I did a couple of searches and I couldn't find anything related.  Please feel free to direct me elsewhere if I've missed something.

I will be making some trips this year outside of Canada (Sweden, Boston, Dallas, and possibly Las Vegas and/or Hawaii).  These are all for personal (non-business) reasons. 

Do you declare your gear when crossing borders?  My fear is coming back to Canada and being accused by Border Guards that I bought all of this stuff in the USA and having it heavily taxed, or worse - confiscated.

Should I bring a notorized list with me?  What do you guys do?

Thanks so much for the advice.   :)

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Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« on: March 15, 2011, 10:21:26 AM »

AJ

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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2011, 11:24:53 AM »
Canadian here.  I've never had any issues over the years.

However that doesn't guarantee that you won't have a problem.  To put your mind at ease, you could bring photocopies of your original receipts with you.  Or scan them and put them on the net.  The dates and sales locations will prove your case.

colinu

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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2011, 12:02:29 PM »
From Canada Border Services Agency website

Before travelling outside Canada with valuable items, you may wish to take advantage of a free identification
service that is available at all CBSA offices. This service is available for items that have serial numbers or other
unique markings. For items that do not have such markings, the CBSA can apply a sticker to them so that they
can be identifi ed for customs purposes as goods that are legally in Canada.
When you show your valuables to a border services offi cer and state that you acquired them in Canada
or lawfully imported them, the offi cer will list your valuables and their serial numbers on a wallet-sized
card called a Form Y38, Identifi cation of Articles for Temporary Exportation. If you are questioned about your
goods when you return to Canada, show your card to the offi cer. This will help identify the valuables that
were in your possession before leaving the country.

rumorzmonger

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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2011, 12:38:41 PM »
From Canada Border Services Agency website

Before travelling outside Canada with valuable items, you may wish to take advantage of a free identification
service that is available at all CBSA offices. This service is available for items that have serial numbers or other
unique markings. For items that do not have such markings, the CBSA can apply a sticker to them so that they
can be identifi ed for customs purposes as goods that are legally in Canada.
When you show your valuables to a border services offi cer and state that you acquired them in Canada
or lawfully imported them, the offi cer will list your valuables and their serial numbers on a wallet-sized
card called a Form Y38, Identifi cation of Articles for Temporary Exportation. If you are questioned about your
goods when you return to Canada, show your card to the offi cer. This will help identify the valuables that
were in your possession before leaving the country.

Good advice - but don't wait until the last minute to get your gear registered.  If you try to do this at the airport just before your flight leaves, there may be no one on duty at the CBSA office and you will be out of luck.
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pitt monqui

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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2011, 03:08:41 PM »
I spend most of my time country hopping and have a scan of all receipts/bills stored on my laptop. All my Canon gear is registered with Canon too. Having said that, I've been through a lot of countries on quite a few continents and have never been stopped. Better safe than sorry though.

Azriel

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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2011, 03:30:24 PM »
The CBSA tips was really great, thanks!

elmo2006

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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2011, 05:35:41 PM »
Hello...

I've done this a few times however each and everytime I have *registered* the equipment I was informed by the Officer that one should also carry the purchase receipts where possible as the so called *green cards* can be falsified/duplicated - whatever that means.  So I do both!


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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2011, 05:35:41 PM »

prestonpalmer

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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2011, 07:21:08 PM »
I have been to 22 different countries with my camera gear, DO NOT declare any of it!  You are not importing or exporting goods so it is not declarable.  If you do you are asking for a whooping.

gmrza

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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2011, 09:30:25 PM »
I have been to 22 different countries with my camera gear, DO NOT declare any of it!  You are not importing or exporting goods so it is not declarable.  If you do you are asking for a whooping.
And the reason why you would generally take that approach is that your camera gear is classed as "personal effects" - most countries aren't too concerned about goods you take in for re-export.  Most countries also don't like to develop a reputation for making things difficult for tourists.

I think the exception is, for some countries, registration of equipment you take with you when leaving your country of residence, especially when you live in a "rip off" country (e.g. South Africa) where electronics and cameras are very expensive, and residents tend to buy new "toys" when overseas.
When I used to live in South Africa, I always diligently registered my camera gear for re-importation, but was never once asked for any documentation when returning.
When entering Australia I have always found that customs are more concerned about whether or not your shoes are clean than about whether you have commercial amounts of camera gear with you. - I guess, do not admit to Australian customs that you have had your camera on a farm in South America - they might want to wash it for you! *grin* - More seriously - if Australian customs think you have had your camera bag in the bush and it looks dirty, they might insist on washing/decontaminating it!

Of course there is always the warning that someone will find a country where these general rules do not apply...
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gene_can_sing

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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2011, 09:56:59 PM »
Done quite a few international trips. Never had a problem.

prestonpalmer

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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2011, 10:38:44 PM »
gmrza, YUP.  Had that happen in SA/Botswana Customs.  If someone DOES insist on inspecting your gear, don't hand it over easily, and be CERTAIN you remain within a few feet of it and in visual contact at all times even when they are inspecting it.  Demand to have a 2nd person nearby so the "inspector" doesn't outright steal your equipment.  Lots of crooked customs agents out there.  Had my pants stolen off me at gun point by a military officer once.... didn't care about my camera gear though. He just had to have my pants.....

ions

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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2011, 01:22:04 PM »
I don't really have anything new to add. I've had no problems crossing the border with my gear but decided to get the green card anyway. I've yet to need it.
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Rocky

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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2011, 02:26:19 PM »
May be I am lucky. I have been in most parts of Asia, Europe, Central and Southern America, the Nother Africa and  the old Eastern block including Russia. I have never have any problem going in or out with my camera equipments ( M4 and 4 lenses, canon DSLR and 4 lenses plus filters etc.) the bag may have been looked at couple times. In the old days I have a certified paper from the US custom for my Leica equipments. It is used to prove to the US custom that I have brought them out of US therefore I can bring them back in without any questioning. Nowadays, photo equipment is cheaper in US than most parts of the world. So the US custom has not looked at my paper for more than 25 years.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2011, 03:12:54 PM by Rocky »

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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2011, 02:26:19 PM »

dstppy

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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2011, 04:04:33 PM »
If you've EVER been "caught smuggling" something into the US, you go on a list and are forever given the 3rd degree.

Had a friend of the family that's put on custom's watch list; gets a thorough going over every time her or her husband come back into the country.

The contraband in question was Chinese Beef Jerky  ;D

I do have one question for Preston though . . . how good do your legs look that they really needed to take your pants? :)
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firephasers

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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2011, 05:19:01 PM »
I'm on my last day of vacation in Vegas now, heading back this afternoon  :-\

I've never had a problem with my 5D or the extra lenses that I pack.  The only thing that they want you to do at the airport is to take your laptop out and scan it separately, which is completely understandable.  Other than that, no problems at all.

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Re: Questions about crossing the border with your gear
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2011, 05:19:01 PM »