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Customs and Immigration as separate services, and flights to/from the UK

We have done this one before a number of times…

My normal position is that if an airport is showing in the airport databases (e.g. Jeppesen) as having “Customs” then it is a “port of entry” and you can use it for a flight to/from anywhere in the world.

And the converse normally applies strictly i.e. not showing Customs means it cannot be used for any travel to/from another country.

Now, we all know that Schengen has changed all this for the Schengen zone. You just need – in theory at least – local language competence for non Customs airports. In some countries it is definitely not a “theory”; I would not try it in any country where English is not widely spoken as a second language by “older” people, e.g. Spain, France, Italy…

However Germany seems to have a lot of airports which don’t show as “Customs” and indeed don’t have Customs in the traditional sense, but have Immigration (only) available on a PNR basis. This means, for those airports, that you can do a UK flight if you arrange for Immigration policeman to turn up.

I wonder how many other countries offer this. It would take a lot of AIP research, and I wonder if it actually works.

Also, is local language competence a requirement at these airports? If so, that alone would make them unusable to most UK pilots

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

To the best of my knowledge, this ‘immigration only’ does not exist in Spain.

I would not try it in any country where English is not widely spoken as a second language by “older” people, e.g. Spain, France, Italy…

Spanish, French and Italian are nice languages and can be learned. There is more than English on this planet.

This whole AIP/Jeppesen thing is not that important anymore. Nowadays most airfields have a web page and I take that information (maybe with a phone call if something is unclear) over any AIP/Jeppesen any time.

Also, is local language competence a requirement at these airports?

No, the radio language is given in the AIP for each aerodrome but that is just the legal status. If you fly to one of the “de” only airfields, you ask if you can land with English on the radio and they will say yes



If you want to live your life so that it’s guaranteed you do not break any of the millions of stupid rules, you have to stay in bed

[ hilarious youtube clip fixed up :) ]

Last Edited by Peter at 06 Jul 10:18
Last Edited by achimha at 06 Jul 10:03

In France I feel comfortable enough to announce my intentions/position in French…..I may struggle with a response that is not in basic language! Luckily my wife is a fluent French (and Italian) speaker so next week when we head to the Côte d’Azur hopefully she can help me out if need be…

Of course the traditional British approach when abroad is just to say it in English with a French (German/Italian etc) accent….if that’s not understood just say it again slowly…if still not understood say it slowly and louder!

[reposted from San Sebastián thread]

EGPD / OMDW / YPJT, United Kingdom

To update this old thread… Are there any countries which do this separation of the two services, apart from Germany and Italy?

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Are there any countries which do this separation of the two services, apart from Germany and Italy?

I don’t know, but the UK is part of the EU so I think the current checks would be more to do with processing non-EU citizens when your flight is between the Common Travel Area and the Schengen Area. In terms of goods, there shouldn’t be much due to the UK being part of the EU Single Market.

This could all change when the UK leaves the EU – in a worst case no deal scenario, I’d imagine all people and goods must be fully processed and passports stamped at a designated “port of entry/exit” in the EU.

Entry/Exit through any other means would be illegal and penalties could be hefty.

Last Edited by James_Chan at 18 Apr 13:19

France has 2 services but in small places it is combined.
Immigration is the remit of the Police aux Frontieres (PAF) (Border Police) which is part of the Police Nationale part of the Home Office

Customs is the remit of Douanes which is part of the Treasury.

Customs officer have a lot of powers and can do immigration if PAF is not present.

PAF policier can’t do Customs generally speaking. There might be some local specific agreement.

Nympsfield, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

o update this old thread… Are there any countries which do this separation of the two services, apart from Germany and Italy?

Croatia when you want to get them on request on the airports where they are stationed regularly. E.g. on my base airport LDVA I call border police officer when travelling to any EU country and call customs officer in addition when I fly to non-EU country.

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

Peter wrote:

To update this old thread… Are there any countries which do this separation of the two services, apart from Germany and Italy?

Switzerland.

A clear and obvious example is arriving in Zurich or Geneva. If one arrives from a Schengen country, there is no passport control. Everyone, without exception, goes through the green/red customs control regardless of their point of departure.

Last Edited by chflyer at 18 Apr 22:02
LSZK, Switzerland

To be clear, what I meant in my original Q is whether there are any GA airports which offer one and not the other.

In all countries I know of, the two functions are separated in terms of the organisations. For example in the UK you have Customs (now called HMRC) which do duty and VAT, and you have the Border Force which do immigration. But in reality for GA it is the same bunch of police officers.

I don’t know of any current airport in France which offers one and not the other.

Zurich and Geneva offer both, H24. Years ago, I recall Wangen-Lachen having “exit customs” but it was actually customs+immigration (you emailed or faxed Zurich with a PNR).

That’s another funny variation: exit customs/immigration. You would think lots of countries would offer that, because who cares who is leaving the country? The UK sort of does it, with a zero-PNR for the GAR form (which most interpret as no GAR form required) when exiting (but only to the EU and if everyone on board has an EU passport, otherwise it is 24hrs).

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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