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Going through customs

Camino(s) past & future
Santiago (2018)
#1
I will be traveling from the United States to London and then transferring to a flight to Biarritz on another airlines. Will I have to go through customs twice? Loving this forum.
 
Camino(s) past & future
April 2017 Sarria to Santiago de Compostela
#3
Last year I travelled from Sydney to London (Etihad) and on to Santiago de Compostela (Iberia). I transited in London and cleared customs in Santiago. As long as your bags are booked through to Biarritz I reckon this will be the same for you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2018)
#4
I haven't yet done the Camino but I travel often to Europe on business.

Heathrow has a transit area. When you get off the plane, you'll follow signs for Transfer Passengers.

Depending on current security measures, you may or may not have to go through security screening at Heathrow before transferring to your Biarritz flight. This is similar to the TSA screening we have in the US that you go through between checking in your luggage and going to your gate. But you won't clear Passport Control until you get to Biarritz, and that's also where you'll be reunited with your luggage and go through customs.

This has nothing to do with Brexit and everything to do with the Schengen Zone. The UK and Ireland are not in the Zone, while a few non-EU countries are. US citizens can spend up to 90 days out of 180 in any part of the Schengen zone without a special visa.

Finally, it may be interesting for others to know that you go through Passport Control at the first place you land in the Schengen Zone, but you don't get your luggage and go through customs until you arrive at your final destination in the Zone.

And going through Customs is much easier than it is in the US — you basically just walk through a corridor labeled "Nothing to Declare" with customs agents that have the right to pull you aside for inspection. As long as you just have your personal goods with you, you'll be fine even if they do.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#5
With an airline change in London, you will claim your luggage and clear passport and customs there. Going back through security, you will have passport and customs in Biarritz, but it is pretty cursory while the UK is still part of the EU. The border process after Brexit is being negotiated, but it does not look good for the UK.
 

jefferyonthecamino

http://www.barrerabooks.com/ - Guidebooks
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (1994)
Camino Francés (2013 - 2017)
Camino Portugués (2015 - 2017)
#6
I will be traveling from the United States to London and then transferring to a flight to Biarritz on another airlines. Will I have to go through customs twice? Loving this forum.
Customs in france, immigration possibly in the uk
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2018)
#7
You only have to clear customs at Heathrow if your bags are not checked through to your final destination. I've never had to do it (but then I always use Star Alliance airlines - United and partners). If you've booked on the SAME ticket at the same time, then you probably won't have to clear customs at Heathrow.

You'll know because all of your flights will be on the same ticket, even if you have different airlines listed.

If you've booked two separate tickets that are not connected to each other to save money, then I hope you allowed plenty of time! You'll have to go through Passport Control, clear Customs, then re-check your bags and go through passport control and security again. That's because when you check your bags in the States, they won't be able to check them all the way through.

But this is actually quite rare for flights coming from the US, and booked on travel sites like Expedia, etc.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2018)
#8
You are quite right in what you say (expect that passengers don't usually have to physically claim their checked in luggage during transit at Heathrow) but it seems most passengers don't realise that they actually clear customs at Heathrow and not in Spain. Heathrow airport explains it all here: https://www.heathrow.com/flight-connections - a really good explanation of what you have to do where and if you have enough time between arrival and departure as you can enter your individual flight data to get a tailor-made answer according to your flights.
I"ve never had to clear customs or Passport Control at Heathrow if I'm making a connection in Europe. The transfer lanes bypass all of that, as long as the bags get checked all the way through. It's possible things have changed since I've done it.

In fact, the page you've linked to states that passengers DON'T go through these steps unless they are connecting to another UK flight or London is their final destination.

A person who is switching tickets (as opposed to just switching airlines on the same ticket) will look like a passenger with London as a final destination. That's why they have to go through customs and then recheck.
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
#9
I will be traveling from the United States to London and then transferring to a flight to Biarritz on another airlines. Will I have to go through customs twice? Loving this forum.
No customs but you will go through immigration again. Because England and Ireland never joined the Schengan passport free zone they do check all entries. Some airports not as strictly as others. Biarritz, I flew through, Bilbao took forever as every passport was closely scrutinised
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago (2018)
#10
You only have to clear customs at Heathrow if your bags are not checked through to your final destination. I've never had to do it (but then I always use Star Alliance airlines - United and partners). If you've booked on the SAME ticket at the same time, then you probably won't have to clear customs at Heathrow.

You'll know because all of your flights will be on the same ticket, even if you have different airlines listed.

If you've booked two separate tickets that are not connected to each other to save money, then I hope you allowed plenty of time! You'll have to go through Passport Control, clear Customs, then re-check your bags and go through passport control and security again. That's because when you check your bags in the States, they won't be able to check them all the way through.

But this is actually quite rare for flights coming from the US, and booked on travel sites like Expedia, etc.
I won't be checking bags, so that should help. Will be flying into Gatwick but I'm sure it's the same.
 

julia-t

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2015-17
Kumano Kodo March 2018
Camino Portuguese Valenca-SdC April 2018
#11
You might find you have to change terminals at Gatwick (check which you arrive into on Norwegian and then which your flight to Biarritz flies from) and though it's easy enough to get the shuttle between the terminals you need to allow at least half an hour - just for the shuttle transfer.

And changing terminals means you will have to go through passport control/customs before leaving one terminal, transfer, then go through security again in the next terminal.

I hope you have enough time between flights. More is better, the Gatwick terminals are decent enough to spend a few hours.
 

hotelmedicis

Commercial Interests
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2001 (+more)
VDLP 2013, 2018
#12
With an airline change in London, you will claim your luggage and clear passport and customs there. Going back through security, you will have passport and customs in Biarritz, but it is pretty cursory while the UK is still part of the EU. The border process after Brexit is being negotiated, but it does not look good for the UK.
I agree with you Ivar. And it looks even bleaker for the Irish/UK border.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#13
As I recall from another post you were planning on going through Gatwick on a non connecting flight. You will go through passport control,need to collect your luggage and then take shuttle to new terminal. Check in to new flight, and then go through security. When you arrive in Biarritz you will go through passport control again (schengen).

https://www.gatwickairport.com/at-the-airport/flying-in/flight-connections/
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2018)
#14
I won't be checking bags, so that should help. Will be flying into Gatwick but I'm sure it's the same.
Yes, not checking luggage will help. But you can't assume it's the same at Gatwick as it is for Heathrow because many more international flights come into Heathrow, which means that they've got to have more efficient systems.

I checked Gatwick's site and it said that you won't have to go through Passport Control if you're traveling onward to Europe.

But what I'm not sure about — and what nothing seems to state — is if you'll have to transfer terminals and if you do, if they have a way for you to do that without going through Passport Control.

That will depend on the airlines that you travel, and then whether or not the terminal shuttle stays inside the secure area (the way the shuttles do at O'Hare and Dulles).

Here is the best information source I found for Gatway:
https://www.gatwickairport.com/at-the-airport/flying-in/flight-connections/

You can also find a list of which airlines use which terminals.

Note that their recommended connection time is quite long! An hour for flights in the same terminal, and 90 minutes for others. And that's for domestic flights. . .
 
#15
TSA will love to see you in the US and then, is it Stanstead you fly to Biarritz from? TSA will check you out again there before finding the Flight Gate. Customs at Biarritz will review your passport befoe letting you loose. But it is not anything more than what one goes through to cross a country's border, a few questions and you are on your way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
#16
is it Stanstead you fly to Biarritz from?
It sounds as if mercifully her flight comes into and departs from Gatwick.

As a word of warning to others potentially travelling through London AVOID STANSTEAD AT ALL COSTS!! It is a LOOOONG way out of London to the north east wheras Heathrow and Gatwick are to the west and south respectively. You'd be lucky to get get to Stanstead in 3 hours from Gatwick.
 
#17
It sounds as if mercifully her flight comes into and departs from Gatwick.

As a word of warning to others potentially travelling through London AVOID STANSTEAD AT ALL COSTS!! It is a LOOOONG way out of London to the north east wheras Heathrow and Gatwick are to the west and south respectively. You'd be lucky to get get to Stanstead in 3 hours from Gatwick.
Not so. I was staying downtown, and I mean downtown, several blocks from Regent Park, took a cab to Stanstead. It cost 50 euro but only took 45 min.

The concern here is we do not know the airport of arrival or departure. In addition, we do not know the airline for the Biarritz flight. Biarritz is not a large airport and I doubt that it services many airlines. I do know that RyanAir flies in and out. And RyanAir also flies out of Stanstead.
 

PDX Bucky

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Camino -- April/May 2017
#18
I’m not sure about what you’ll experience going there, but be aware of chorizo-sniffing dogs on the way back. Last May (2017), we flew from Madrid to Chicago-O’hare. Signs throughout the immigration and Customs area warned about reporting any meat coming into the US.

As I was making my chorizo-free way through the line, a beagle led a customs agent right to me. The agent, while polite, was very serious about determining whether I was trying to bring Spanish chorizo into the US. I told her I did not have any and allowed her to search my small backpack. What I had forgotten in the rush to get off the plane was the jamõn sandwich I was given on the Iberian flight. While the sandwich was confiscated I did get to enjoy the company of a cute beagle.

¡Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
13/9/13 to 1/10/13 Pamplona to Leon

5/6/2014-9/7/2014
SJPP to Santiago
#19
I went through Heathrow for the first time last year (hopefully my last time)..and had to dump half my toiletries in my carry on backpack because all liquids must fit in 1 small plastic baggie. No liquids more than 100ml. Ridiculous. I will avoid London if at all possible in the future..or just purchase what I need once in Spain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2018)
#20
I went through Heathrow for the first time last year (hopefully my last time)..and had to dump half my toiletries in my carry on backpack because all liquids must fit in 1 small plastic baggie. No liquids more than 100ml. Ridiculous. I will avoid London if at all possible in the future..or just purchase what I need once in Spain.
This is how it has been everywhere for several years, and there is a good reason for it.

The 3 oz / 100 ml limit, to fit in one quart / one liter transparent bag is intended to prevent someone from bringing enough flammable/explosive liquids on board to bring down a plane.

I'm sorry that you didn't know this in advance so that you could plan ahead.

For anyone who does not travel often, it's a good idea to check the TSA web site (https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening) or your home country's equivalent so that you are up to date on the current regulations.

They do change often in response to new information about threats and they are not applied consistently in every airport. Even I, as a frequent business traveler, get confused sometimes by new procedures.

For example, I live in Washington State and TSA kees warning us that, at some point, WA drivers' licenses will not be considered true ID for travel because we don't comply with REAL ID requirements. You can pay extra to get one that will be. It hasn't happened yet, though and I think it's because they're afraid of TV cameras showing chaos at SEA-TAC. But one day they probably will, and they probably won't announce it nearly far enough in advance to catch the occasional traveler.
 
#21
For example, I live in Washington State and TSA kees warning us that, at some çpoint, WA drivers' licenses will not be considered true ID for travel because we don't comply with REAL ID requirements. You can pay extra to get one that will be. It hasn't happened yet, though and I think it's because they're afraid of TV cameras showing chaos at SEA-TAC. But one day they probably will, and they probably won't announce it nearly far enough in advance to catch the occasional traveler.
I live in a state so dysfunctional that it is laughable to think they will ever get it together enough to change the drivers' licenses. I think the thought is that these extensions are never-ending. But if the US government does run out of patience, for those of us who walk the camino, the solution is easy -- just bring your passport.
 
#22
I’m not sure about what you’ll experience going there, but be aware of chorizo-sniffing dogs on the way back. Last May (2017), we flew from Madrid to Chicago-O’hare. Signs throughout the immigration and Customs area warned about reporting any meat coming into the US.

As I was making my chorizo-free way through the line, a beagle led a customs agent right to me. The agent, while polite, was very serious about determining whether I was trying to bring Spanish chorizo into the US. I told her I did not have any and allowed her to search my small backpack. What I had forgotten in the rush to get off the plane was the jamõn sandwich I was given on the Iberian flight. While the sandwich was confiscated I did get to enjoy the company of a cute beagle.

¡Buen Camino!
I've encountered those sniffing dogs frequently at O'Hare. Not only are they looking for chorizo, they will also sit down and stare at you if they smell fruit. I usually bring a few pieces on the plane (precisely to avoid that awful Iberia ham sandwich -- you are lucky it was confiscated;)) and I have on occasion forgotten that I didn't eat an apple or orange. Nothing makes you feel like a criminal more than having a sniffing dog pointing you out to a federal agent.
 

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