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Posts: 397
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2004 2:34 pm

International commercial travel with valuables

Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:12 pm

I am being relocated to The Netherlands from the US. I have a question about traveling with valuables. My watch collection is worth more than $100k. I am planning on carrying them on with me - Flying on United from Houston.

Will I have any customs issues when arriving? Normally I just walk through with nothing to declare... just curious so I can be prepared.

*Long live the Widget*
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Joined: Fri May 06, 2005 6:44 pm

Re: International commercial travel with valuables

Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:45 pm

When you walk through the green channel you make a verbal declaration that you have nothing to declare. If a customs officer stops you and finds 100K value of watches you are in for Trouble. Especially when you relocate to the Netherlands. You might be liable to pay VAT. You should check with customs if they accept the watches as personal effects, which I doubt, or whether they require a declaration. General rule is, when in doubt always use the red channel. Customs will only take what thy legally can take and you are on the safe side.
Was Erlauben Erdogan!!!
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Re: International commercial travel with valuables

Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:08 pm

Great question, I've wondered this myself. I think in your case it might be different because you are relocating there as opposed to just returning somewhere from a trip. You haven't bought the watches and are now bringing them to the Netherlands because you are returning from a vacation or business trip, you already own them. I am not sure how to prove this but I imagine you can.
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Re: International commercial travel with valuables

Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:27 pm

If in doubt, declare. I purchased a Swiss Army Knife in Switzerland, and I declared it at customs with no issues. All they wanted to do was check its condition and to ensure that's the only item I'm declaring.
Toronto-based flyer since 1997
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Re: International commercial travel with valuables

Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:57 am

I would suggest talking with someone who is familiar with the customs requirements in the Netherlands. I would suspect entry with the correct paperwork will prevent any issues.

For example, I had a passenger returning from Asia to the US with jewelry. He had no paperwork to prove value or ownership. CBP placed the jewelry in bond until the passenger provided the documentation CBP wanted. Now, if the passenger had dealt with a broker, all documentation could have been filed prior to arrival and he could have walked through with his paperwork and jewelry. I also had a passenger who brought in 4 pallets of car parts claiming it was excess baggage. The airline got a fine on that one.
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