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Picked for random survey at baggage claim.

Picked for random survey at baggage claim.

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Old Jul 29, 19, 10:22 am
  #1  
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Picked for random survey at baggage claim.

I recently traveled on a short trip to visit family abroad. As I picked my baggage at baggage claim and right before the customs exit, an officer asked me if I was traveling with the people in front of me as a group, I responded. “ no sir” so then the officer very nicely asked me to follow him for a 10th person “random” survey. I followed him to the belts next to the exit and he asked for my passport and to open my bigger suitcase. Obviously I did without hesitation, he browsed through it briefly, we chatted about diverse topics ( he was very pleasant, by the way) , he asked for name, address and such and wrote it on a paper with other writing on it on it already, from previous passengers I presume? ( it looked like an excel sheet) . Then asked me to close my suitcase and where to exit. My question is, if I had to pay taxes or fine ( on the few items I had like chocolates and coffee ) he would of told me during or after the inspection, right? Or given me some kind of paperwork or notification of any amount due ? Do they ask you to pay there or they mail you the bill to pay in a different location? How do you know if you’re being taxed? He didn’t say anything about the subject. Just what I mentioned above. Never being in a pull a side “ random survey” so the normality of this is unknown to me.

Last edited by Blissfulpri; Jul 29, 19 at 8:23 pm Reason: better wording
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Old Jul 29, 19, 8:48 pm
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Short answer is no they will not send you a bill. If duty is owed on items they will send you straight to the cashiers desk to pay duty. If the officer didn't bring up the subject of duty or tax at all then you're in the clear. As a heads up you are supposed to declare everything you brought abroad that is staying in the US. My guess is that the items were of so little value it wasn't worth the officers time to even bring it up.
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Old Jul 29, 19, 8:55 pm
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Originally Posted by freeagent View Post
Short answer is no they will not send you a bill. If duty is owed on items they will send you straight to the cashiers desk to pay duty. If the officer didn't bring up the subject of duty or tax at all then you're in the clear. As a heads up you are supposed to declare everything you brought abroad that is staying in the US. My guess is that the items were of so little value it wasn't worth the officers time to even bring it up.
Thank you for clearing my inquiry. I always say coffee and chocolate to the first officer because that’s what we always bring for personal use. The surveying officer was very polite and it only took like 10 minutes or so ��

Last edited by Blissfulpri; Jul 30, 19 at 8:27 pm Reason: Previous reply was incomplete
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Old Jul 30, 19, 4:03 am
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The more interesting question is whether the "survey" was really random. Certainly in the UK, whilst the officer might say that it's random, as a matter of practice nearly all the time something has led to someone being stopped, whether it's that they are tracing a particular bag, it's an intelligence lead on that flight, or even suspicious behaviour in the Customs Hall. They don't do random.
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Old Jul 30, 19, 8:40 am
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Hello @Blissfulpri,

The US CBP is transitioning to random inspections instead of having every arriving passenger fill out a customs declaration form.

Take a look at this thread in the Practical Travel Safety and Security Issues forum:
No customs forms any more when returning to US?
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Old Jul 30, 19, 8:51 am
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These are both random and targeted. "Survey" is also a nice way to put something which is far from that.

Random in that it might be every 40th passenger or selected by a randomizer. Targeted in that you yourself might be on a watch list or that CBP is looking for someone scheduled to enter around the time of your arrival and who fits your rough description.

Bottom line is that CBP could still conduct 100% full inspections and search every bag and person entering.
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Old Jul 30, 19, 8:28 pm
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Thank you for helping with my inquiry.
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Old Aug 5, 19, 1:10 pm
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So this raises an interesting question - say you told the CBP agent you had some chocolates (or whatever) and s/he said "go ahead/welcome home" and then you get randomly pulled. How would they know if you've made declaration?
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Old Aug 5, 19, 1:57 pm
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Originally Posted by drewguy View Post
So this raises an interesting question - say you told the CBP agent you had some chocolates (or whatever) and s/he said "go ahead/welcome home" and then you get randomly pulled. How would they know if you've made declaration?
I think it was a random survey and I was picked by a determined number of passengers that walk by. The person nicely asked first if the people walking infront of me and myself were traveling as a group. I said no sir, traveling alone and then he politely asked me to be part of a survey.
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