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Places where international borders and customs / immigration checks are different

Places where international borders and customs / immigration checks are different

Old Jan 1, 07, 12:43 pm
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Places where international borders and customs / immigration checks are different

What places are there in the world where international borders and customs and immigration check points are different?

For example, crossings between different countries in Europe that have the common customs and immigration zone. Or crossings between Hong Kong and other parts of China where a customs and immigration check are done even though it is the same country.
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Old Jan 1, 07, 1:28 pm
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There are some oddities with various outlying islands in Europe.

For example: The Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark) are part of the UK for Immigration purposes but not for Customs purposes (as they are not part of the EU). The same goes for Denmark and the Faroe Islands - the Faroes are part of Schengen (so no Immigration controls for arrivals from anywhere in the Schengen area, not just Denmark) but are outside the EU so there are customs controls. I also remember going through Customs controls when flying from Svalbard to the Norwegian mainland some years ago.
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Old Jan 1, 07, 1:46 pm
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Persons traveling from certain US territories (such as the US Virgin Islands) to the US mainland are subject to customs, immigration, and agriculture checks.

Mike
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Old Jan 1, 07, 3:21 pm
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Liechtenstein has a common immigration / customs zone with Switzerland.

Before Schengen, the Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) had a common immigration zone and one visa for the 3 countries.

East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) have seperate immigration from West (peninsular) Malaysia.
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Old Jan 1, 07, 7:59 pm
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Norfolk Island is a self governing territory of Australia (The only one). If an Australian citizen wants to travel there they must travel with a document of identity (which is designed specifically for Australians to visit Norfolk Island without the need for a passport) or with a passport Foreigners are required to have a multi entry Australian visa or they will not be permitted back into Australia. Australian citizens do not have right of residence there (more a result of Norfolk's tax haven status) without a permit Norfolk is not subject to duty tax either so plenty of shopping not much else but very pretty part of the world.
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Old Jan 2, 07, 12:30 am
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Tales of the Marianas in the post 9-11 era (Part 1)

Originally Posted by nako View Post
Persons traveling from certain US territories (such as the US Virgin Islands) to the US mainland are subject to customs, immigration, and agriculture checks.

Mike
And here are the complexities of the Territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI):

Jurisdictions and background:

(1) Customs: Guam and CNMI (Rota, Tinian, Saipan) are both outside US customs zone, and have their own customs.

(2) Immigration: CNMI has its own immigration, but Guam is under US, hence CBP = "Not Customs but just Border Protection". For a US citizen traveling from Saipan to Guam, since you haven't left US soil, passport not required by USCBP Guam, just ID.

(3) Airport Security: If it's a US airport, it's TSA's job. However, for a long while, Tinian and Rota are too small to staff TSA people, so passengers from Tinian and Rota get checked by TSA upon arrival at Guam and Saipan.

The tale (when you fly Guam-Rota-Saipan):

At Guam, you go through the TSA check. Arriving at Rota (your first port of entry into CNMI), you go through CNMI immigration and customs. However, by using the "unclean" (in TSA's view) airport of Rota, you go through TSA again at Saipan before being let out to the streets.
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Old Jan 2, 07, 12:56 am
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Tales of the Marianas in the post 9-11 era (Part 2)

Background:

(1) Congress granted Guam a special visa waiver to attract Asian tourists. People who otherwise need a visa to enter the States (Koreans, Taiwanese, Hong Kong BNO-holders BUT not Filipinos) can visit Guam for up to two weeks by just filling out a form upon arrivals.

(2) Until about 2002, the US had a "transit without visa" program in which the airlines simply had to take custody of the passengers and stand guard until the door closes for the flight leaving the US. At Guam's airport, arriving passengers were mingled with departing passengers within the secured area. (Only way in is with a BP through security; only way out is immigration.) Airlines simply told transiting passengers to get stamped by USCBP and U-turn back to connecting gate.

The tale:

(1) While Hong Kong BNO-holders can still fly Continental's Hong Kong-Guam-Saipan (since they don't need a visa to enter Guam, they can still transit through Guam), Filipinos could no longer fly Manila-Guam-Saipan. Continental started a Guam-Saipan-Manila route. (Saipan is heavily populated by Filipino non-resident workers.)

(2) To keep the increasing number of holders of HKSAR (Chinese) passports (who need a visa to visit Guam, thus making a Guam transit at least US$100 more difficult) eligible to visit Saipan, Continental decided to change the Hong Kong-Guam-Saipan flight to a Hong Kong-Saipan-Guam flight.

However, coming into Saipan from a foreign airport, TSA Saipan wanted everybody off the plane at 5 am (3 am HK time), get checked, get back onto the same plane (and seats), fly 20 minutes to Guam and go through the usual customs and immigration check.

Eventually, Continental realized that from Hong Kong, it was like 10 people getting off at Saipan and 90 people still heading to Guam (be awaken and searched half-asleep) which was now 6.5 hours from Hong Kong instead of 4.5 hours. They went back to Hong Kong-Guam nonstop after 1 year.

The moral of the story: They made Saipan the intermediate stop because Saipan is not US (in terms of immigration), but Guam passengers literally got a "rude awakening" because Saipan is US (according to TSA)!
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Old Jan 2, 07, 1:09 am
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Tales of the Marianas (Part 3)

Since Guam has more lax immigration rules than Honolulu (see Asian visa waivers above), the Guam-Honolulu flight has a semi-secured pre-board waiting area (your BP gets processed before entering this area) and a pre-board immigration semi-check. USCBP Guam makes sure you're eligible into the States and stamps your BP stub. Because of this check, you must arrive in the waiting area 45 minutes before scheduled departure or they'll unload your bags.

I say "semi-check" because at Honolulu you go through the other half. If you have the Guam CBP admission stamp, you go right through. I hadn't traveled this route as a non-US citizen, but I can imagine tourists and immigrants get the main-course processing at Honolulu.

Since arrival at Honolulu is on the evening BEFORE the morning one leaves Guam, this route has been utilized by "desperate" immigrants, e.g. a Filipino immigrant nearing his/her 21st birthday reuniting with family on Guam. On the eve of his 21st birthday, he boards a flight from Manila, arriving on Guam on his birthday (thus ineligible to immigrate into the US). However, he can then continue to fly to Honolulu, and unless there's a 6-hour delay, he's still legally 20 when he arrives in Honolulu where he gets processed for a Green Card.
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Old Jan 2, 07, 7:11 pm
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San Diego to Tijuana land border on foot basically has no immigration or customs at all to speak of. There is a customs kiosk that I have never once seen actively doing anything and there are some immigration offices where I suppose you could track down an immigration agent if you really needed one but realistically, anyone and everyone can just walk into Mexico with no border formalities whatsoever. I do not know of a more open border anywhere. Not nearly so friendly returning to the US of course.

Mai Sai Thailand to Tachalek Myanmar. You can pay for a day pass to the border region without a visa but they hold your passport in the immigration office for the day, the border closes early in the evening and you better be back by then to collect your passport and get the hell out before nightfall.
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Old Jan 2, 07, 8:25 pm
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Some airlines have international flights between domestic airports that use international terminals at each end - mostly as tag flight at start or end of true international flight, but some purely run as domestic connections. Treatment at immigration and customs then depends on whether or not pax is international or domestic.

Examples include QF, NZ.
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Old Jan 2, 07, 8:28 pm
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The DMZ between South and North Korea has buildings crossing the border. You can enter these on tours (from either North or South Korea) and step across the border inside the building without formally entering the other country.
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Old Jan 2, 07, 10:13 pm
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I walked in and out of Sweden with no customs/Passport control whatsoever. Very odd to me as a US citizen but I had not done my homework before traveling between Denmark and Sweden.
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Old Jan 2, 07, 11:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Kiwi Flyer View Post
Some airlines have international flights between domestic airports that use international terminals at each end - mostly as tag flight at start or end of true international flight, but some purely run as domestic connections. Treatment at immigration and customs then depends on whether or not pax is international or domestic.

Examples include QF, NZ.
I've done this in Brazil.. I was on a flight from EZE-GRU-GIG. The stop at GRU was just that, a stop, as we were continuing onto GIG. The plane took on a handful of passengers for the 40 minute flight and we got off at the customs area of GIG. The Brazilians who boarded the flight in GRU were wondering why they had to go through customs when they got to GIG.. they were waived through.

Also in Brazil... this time at Pto Iguazu/Foz do Iguacu.. the Argentine side checks you out.. stamps etc... and the brazilians just wave you past. Only need to stop in the BR side if you're actually continuing onto SP, Rio or any other city in Brazil outside that state.
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Old Jan 3, 07, 12:55 am
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Originally Posted by USDHS1984 View Post
San Diego to Tijuana land border on foot basically has no immigration or customs at all to speak of. I do not know of a more open border anywhere.
San Diego to Tijuana has signs "Travelling south? Report to immigration office" or something similar.

Borders within Schengen are totally open unless in times of crisis.
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Old Jan 3, 07, 12:56 am
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Originally Posted by Kiwi Flyer View Post
Some airlines have international flights between domestic airports that use international terminals at each end - mostly as tag flight at start or end of true international flight, but some purely run as domestic connections. Treatment at immigration and customs then depends on whether or not pax is international or domestic.

Examples include QF, NZ.
And Thailand. For inexperienced travellers it would be very easy to walk back into Thailand after you have been stamped out.
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