How To Go Through Customs (Almost) Hassle Free
Customs clearance is not a particular favourite among travellers. Some may simply be impatient at the process while others may be unprepared, making it more complicated than it ought to be. As a traveller, there are some things that you should have ready with you to make customs clearance a lot more pleasant:
Fill out the customs and immigration form promptly
When you get on the plane, you will be given a customs and immigration form for your destination. Make sure you fill this form as soon as you get it. It will save you a lot of time when queuing through immigration. Plus, trying to fill out a form and manage your luggage at the same time, all the while standing on a queue, can be rather uncomfortable.
Filling in the form while in the plane will give you the time to make sure you have everything filled out correctly, especially if you have to fill in forms for your family members as well. Once you are done, keep the forms in your passports, and put them away in a safe yet easily accessible place.
Make sure to declare all the items that need declaring such as food that is not from the destination, plants or seeds, animals or animal meat, weapons and ammunition, and some medication like steroids or medical marijuana. Failing to declare these upfront could land you in a lot of trouble at customs.
Have all the information
As part of the security checks when clearing customs, you will be asked a few questions to gauge the intention of your visit. To avoid being regarded as suspect, know exactly what you have in your luggage, how much cash you have with you, which credit cards you have carried, and where you will be staying.
In some countries, the hotel name may not be a specific identifier since there may be many hotels with the same name. So make sure you know the exact address of the hotel. If you are staying at a friend's place, make sure you know their full address and telephone number. Being vague about where you are staying raises quite some suspicion at most customs checkpoints.
Minimize the carry-on luggage
The less stuff you have in your carry-on, the quicker you will go through the search process. As you approach the security check, take out your electronics so you are ready to put them on the tray, rather than fussing with your bag right at the check point. Empty your pockets as well, and wear shoes that you can easily take off and put back on. Some countries may require you to take off your belt if it is made of metal, so avoid wearing one if you can.
All of these tips will certainly save you time when going through customs clearance.