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Author Topic: Travelling with Camera Equipment Out of Country  (Read 9714 times)
AndrewKulin
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« on: January 30, 2009, 08:48:09 PM »
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I will be traveling from Canada to Europe on holiday and will be bringing my camera gear with me.  Is there a chance that on my return that Canada Customs may decide to slap me with duties on my equipment?  What would I have to do to protect myself from this possibility before leaving?

Thanks
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2009, 01:51:36 AM »
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BEFORE you leave the country you need to stop at a Canada Customs office and fill out a Y38 form, which lists all of the equipment you're taking out of the country - basically anything with a serial number.  When you return, if your bag is checked you show the nice officer your form and s/he checks off the numbers.  If not, you can be forced to pay the retail price of the equipment AND the appropriate duty and taxes AND the equipment can be confiscated.  Oh, and Customs reserves the right to do this up to five years after the fact.  Make it easy on yourself.  More information is available here:

http://cbsa.gc.ca/

Mike.
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rcdurston
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2009, 03:25:14 AM »
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Yes
everything Mike just said.
Its a little green form
give yourself an extra 30-60 minutes, go to your terminal and ask the first official you see where Canada Customs is
its usually a little tiny office off the the left on the ground floor
Be prepared and have a list made out with all the serials before hand
Back in the day when I was always flying out of Pearson, if you got the right person, they would just staple and stamp your list to their little green card.
I can't imagine they would do that anymore but depending on how much gear you are bringing be prepared to sit down and copy out numbers.

r
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larkvi
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2009, 05:03:31 AM »
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It may just be that my passport is from the U. S., not Canada, but I don't think that Customs Canada has ever checked my items, and if asked, I always just say that they came with me from Canada and that they are returning with me. Six years in Canada, crossing the border at least three times (each way) a year, and I have yet to have any issue--even when I actually was importing over my limit, and declared it, they still didn't seem to care, and never issued me duties. Now, I am traveling with two Digital Rebels, four lenses, and a bunch of computer stuff, so perhaps if you have obvious professional-grade gear this is different.

Now that I know about the form, I will probably fill it out just to be safe.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2009, 05:07:56 AM by larkvi » Logged

rcdurston
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2009, 06:26:41 AM »
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Quote from: larkvi
It may just be that my passport is from the U. S., not Canada, but I don't think that Customs Canada has ever checked my items, and if asked, I always just say that they came with me from Canada and that they are returning with me. Six years in Canada, crossing the border at least three times (each way) a year, and I have yet to have any issue--even when I actually was importing over my limit, and declared it, they still didn't seem to care, and never issued me duties. Now, I am traveling with two Digital Rebels, four lenses, and a bunch of computer stuff, so perhaps if you have obvious professional-grade gear this is different.

Now that I know about the form, I will probably fill it out just to be safe.


Ya Sean
I used to travel with 4 huge Pelican cases and stand bags for work.
Better safe than sorry

r
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michael
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2009, 06:55:32 AM »
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I've been traveling across the Canada / US and Canada / international border many hundreds of times over the past 30-40 years and have never ever been asked by customs to look at my camera gear. Not once. Nor do I know anyone else that ever has.

Yes, it's the safest thing to do, to register ones serial numbers, but I wouldn't lose a milliseconds sleep over not doing it.

Michael

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AndrewKulin
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2009, 07:56:15 AM »
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Thanks folks!  I'm a "glass is 9/10ths empty" sort of person and so I'll be filling out the paperwork before leaving.

Andrew
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rcdurston
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2009, 08:55:33 AM »
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Quote from: michael
I've been traveling across the Canada / US and Canada / international border many hundreds of times over the past 30-40 years and have never ever been asked by customs to look at my camera gear. Not once. Nor do I know anyone else that ever has.

Yes, it's the safest thing to do, to register ones serial numbers, but I wouldn't lose a milliseconds sleep over not doing it.

Michael

If you ever go across the border and claim you are going for work then ABSOLUTELY do the green card thing if not a proper carnet. Customs can and will seize your stuff. I have seen over productions flying through Pearson at the same time get nabbed and their whole shoot gets snafu'ed.

MR, you've been lucky, you must just look like a tourist


r
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Colorado David
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2009, 10:24:55 AM »
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I cannot say what the procedures are for Canada, but in the U.S. I have gone to the Customs office at an off time (at the suggestion of a Customs Officer there) and filled out the forms.  I have taken every piece of equipment that I might take out of the U.S., listed it on the form, and had a Customs Officer verify the numbers and certify the form.  After doing this once, I can travel across international borders with various equipment from the list without having to register it every time.  I have to repeat the process when a new piece of gear is added to my inventory.  I've never had a problem with Customs or Emigration returning to the U.S. from Africa, Mexico, Central or South America.  The Netherlands was once a little concerned that I was importing equipment, but they let me in anyway.  I've had the most scrutiny crossing between Canada and the U.S.  Michael, I have a question about Canadian work permits, but will start a new topic for it.
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jecxz
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« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2009, 12:42:39 PM »
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If you plan to spend 4 weeks or more in Canada you will need a visa - this was told to me on my last two trips north - my last two trips were 6 to 8 weeks long each.

It is wise to have U.S. customs register every serial number just in case Canadian customs wants to collect tax on your equipment because they think you've purchased it in Canada.

On my last journey l had to leave after 8 weeks - as that was the length of my visa, ironic considering l was just dumping cash into their economy (hotel, gas, food, etc...)! Go figure.

Kind regards,
Derek
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rcdurston
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« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2009, 03:06:32 PM »
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Quote from: jecxz
If you plan to spend 4 weeks or more in Canada you will need a visa - this was told to me on my last two trips north - my last two trips were 6 to 8 weeks long each.

It is wise to have U.S. customs register every serial number just in case Canadian customs wants to collect tax on your equipment because they think you've purchased it in Canada.

On my last journey l had to leave after 8 weeks - as that was the length of my visa, ironic considering l was just dumping cash into their economy (hotel, gas, food, etc...)! Go figure.

Kind regards,
Derek
Don't worry Derek
Same applies for all the Canadians flying down to Miami and CA. to shoot all their catalogues.
It would be interesting to see how much in still productions go south every year?
I think more than going north.

all the best

r
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jecxz
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« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2009, 04:11:18 PM »
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Quote from: rcdurston
Don't worry Derek
Same applies for all the Canadians flying down to Miami and CA. to shoot all their catalogues.
It would be interesting to see how much in still productions go south every year?
I think more than going north.

all the best

r
Oh, they won't stop me from returning--Canada is way to magnificent to let the government keep me away!  Plus the people are very kind.  Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Kind regards,
Derek
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