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Travel Between The UK And Rest Of Europe

Fri Jun 30, 2006 9:53 am

Last time in Europe, I was flying on Ryanair from Rome Ciampino to another European city and of course, you do not need to go through customs because of it being a flight between two EU countries. However, the flights that were arriving/departing to the UK had to go through customs. Why is that if the UK is part of the EU?
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RE: Travel Between The UK And Rest Of Europe

Fri Jun 30, 2006 10:24 am

Quoting COewrAAtysAZ (Thread starter):
However, the flights that were arriving/departing to the UK had to go through customs. Why is that if the UK is part of the EU?

I suposse it's immigration you had to go trough. The UK is not part of the Shengen countrys. Countrys that signed the Shengen agreement allow border crossing between these countrys without the need of showing documentation (ID card or passport). Only if you fly in from a non Shengen into a Shengen country you need to go trough immigration, if afterwards you continue to another Shengen country there's no need to go trough immigration again. Several airports in Europe's capitals now have dedicated terminals for Shengen and non Shengen flights.
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RE: Travel Between The UK And Rest Of Europe

Fri Jun 30, 2006 10:30 am

As far as customs is concerned in all UK airports there are three channels. The blue channel is for all arrivals from EU countries. The red channel is for all arrivals from non-EU countries who have something to declare. The green channel is for all arrivals from non-EU countries with nothing to declare.

This does not necessarily mean you will not be stopped if you select the blue channel. Customs & Excise may stop you to check you started your journey in the EU or to check for illegal contraband such as proscribed drugs.
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RE: Travel Between The UK And Rest Of Europe

Fri Jun 30, 2006 10:44 am

One issue is that the the UK doesn't issue a national ID card to it's citizens and legal residents, unlike the 'Scengen' countries. UK citizens need a passport to travel to other countries in the EC, just like any other country except the Republic of Ireland (due to N. Ireland part of the UK). Yet, it seems that the UK as part of the EC will accept the National ID's of other EC countries for entry into the UK. This issue was discussed a few months ago as to the fare purchase rules and requirements on Ryanair's website.
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RE: Travel Between The UK And Rest Of Europe

Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:55 pm

The issue here is that the UK is not a part of the Schengen area. The Schengen agreement, which has been implemented by 15 countries (Germany, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Austria, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark) entails a common travel area with shared entry requirements and an effectively borderless region. Thus, travellers entering the zone will undergo immigration and customs checks but, once inside, they can travel freely without further immigration checks. There are limitations though - a country can reinstate border checks during major events eg Germany is currently doing so as the World Cup is on, Portugal did so during Euro 2004. Also, France requests border checks on people entering from Belgium and Holland on a routine basis.

The UK and Ireland have a separate Common Travel Policy (albeit limited to native-born citizens of the the two countries) and have remained outside of Schengen. As EU members their citizens do have free movement within the EU but have to go through immigration when entering Schengen zone countries. This is generally just a formality and their passports are not stamped and no limit is applied to their stay (as per EU citizens). The same applies when Schengen area citizens enter the UK.

Customs checks on people travelling within the EU are by and large discretionary as duty-paid products can travel freely - there are some limits though, especially if one travels from the new EU members.

The 10 new EU members are not full Schengen participants as yet so border controls remain - they will have to join eventually. Switzerland is also joining Schengen soon.

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