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Thread: Register Your Equipment


  1. #1
    Premium Member Angelo's Avatar
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    Register Your Equipment

    U.S. – Based Photographers Traveling Abroad – Beware The Duty Photofocus

    I just came from registering my photographic equipment with the Department of Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection.

    The article attached gives reasons why you should register your equipment. There's even an attachment to form #4457 "Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad" that may save you headaches upon entering back to the US.

    If anyone needs to know where to go in Houston just let me know.
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    "Luck Favors the Prepared", Author unknown

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    You Can't Be Serious!! Patti Edens's Avatar
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    Angelo, I need to know. I'm leaving in a few weeks to go overseas for business and plan to take a camera just in case I can sneak away...
    Regards,
    Patti

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    Forum Regular dminton's Avatar
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    took an arrow to the knee TheFantasticG's Avatar
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    Since January I've been packing the Nikon and glass to and from Singapore (not any more though) and I have never had any problem packing it back and forth. I, infact, bought my Nikon in Singapore.

  6. #5
    Premium Member Angelo's Avatar
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    Patti, the place is off Lee Road at Bush Intercontinental Airport. Let me go by there tomorrow and get the full address.

    David, I scanned through the article you posted, Flying With Fish. He's not talking apples and apples. He states he prefers a Carnet to form 4457.
    Let me tell you the difference:
    I filled out the short form 4457 and took the equipment to the US Customs Office at the IAH Airport. An inspector came out looked at the form I had typed and compared the serial
    numbers. It took no more than 10 minutes. There was no cost.

    A Carnet is a bond or insurance that you obtain to ship your equipment (it does not cover for loss or damage). The convenience for a Carnet is when you are shipping a lot of equipment, especially if you are going from country to country (most Carnet equipment go air freight and not with the passenger). There are a few countries that do not honor Carnets - one being Mexico, so you need to check this out in advance.

    The disadvantages are several. 1. There is a cost to a carnet, 2. It is only good for one year then you have to reapply and pay again, 3. In most cases you have to obtain the services of import brokers in the countries you'll be visiting and there will be a fee for their services, 4. you have to apply for the Carnet with a company, usually out of town (we do our Carnet work with one in Florida) and 5. a Customs officer comes out to the freight forwarder being used (at the airport) or airline who is transporting the goods to inspect the equipment.

    Now, what we are talking about is someone taking, say 6 lenses and two camera bodies with them (as carry-on baggage).

    Filling out form 4457 took me 10 minutes (I typed it) and on that small form you can put several line items. I typed the info for the cameras (2) on one form and the lenses (4) on two forms (I think I could have squeezed them in on one form).
    The form does not have to be renewed every year like a Carnet.
    And did I mention that, to date, it's a free service?

    This discussion has to do with making it easy and hassle free when bringing in US purchased camera equipment from overseas. I travel 6-8 times a year and never had a major problem. But, if a Customs Officer decides to check my equipment I feel certain that with form 4457 I'm covered.

    Garret, I hate to say this but I think you may owe Uncle Sam some taxes.
    Last edited by Angelo; 08-17-2010 at 12:21 AM.
    Angelo
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    "Luck Favors the Prepared", Author unknown

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    Premium Member J Eddington's Avatar
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    Thanks you just reminded me I need to go and update mine since I have new equipment.
    Janice Eddington
    When you turn your camera on, does it return the favor? Check out the NEW Pixtus Photography Cheat Sheet!

  8. #7
    Junior Member flyingwithfish's Avatar
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    Angelo,

    My discussion of the Carnet is specifically in response to returning to the United States with your professional camera equipment. It was in regard to a post by Scott Bourne on his blog and I wrote my reply at the request of the folks who run Views, Reviews & Interviews In Photography | Seshu's Tiffinbox.

    A Carnet is not only used by those moving air freight but also by many business travellers flying with high dollar items to and from countries. But that is not relevant to the purpose of the content of my post.

    For a traveller just taking a camera and 2 or 3 lenses with them there is essentially no need for a Form 4577 or Carnet.

    As for Mexico, they actually have specific guidelines for the number of cameras, batteries, lenses allowed in to the country. Included in Mexico's Customs Import Regulations is "a photo or movie or video camera. One additional camera for passengers residing outside Mexico."

    This means if you are travelling alone you can bring in a single camera, anything more than that is subject to a tax upon entry.

    It is also handy to know what country you're headed to in terms of inspections. You can bring 5 cameras and two dozen lenses into France via any airport and no one would open your bags because that is not how their Customs agents work ... however if you are headed to Jamaica with a loaded Tamrac Expedition 7 you run a good chance of a Customs Agent stopping you and asking you to pay a Duty on the gear on your back (Jamaica accepts a Carnet).

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

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    Forum Master ElanR's Avatar
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    This is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection checklist cited in Scott Bourne's blog. Highlights added by me.



    Do I have:

    1. U.S. Passport or other recommended ID for U.S. citizens? (Carry it; do not pack it).
    ( U.S. Department of State: Travel )
    2. Green Card (Form I-551) or document for Lawful Permanent Residents? (Advance Parole if LPR status is pending). ( U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services ) Failure to have Form I-551 or document for lawful permanent residents could result in a $545 waiver fee.
    3. Notarized travel permission letters for minors traveling without their parents? Entry documentation for the country(ies) I will be visiting? (Is a visa required?)
    ( U.S. Department of State: Document Requirements )
    4. Only the medication that I need for my trip and in its original container?
    5. Receipts or registration paperwork (CBP Form 4457) for any new electronics, such as a camera or laptop, that Iím taking with me? (Only suggested if traveling with recently purchased goods. Not necessary for goods more than 6 months old.)
    6. Proof of Rabies vaccinations for my dog if they are traveling with me? (Recommended but not required for cats. Check for requirements regarding other pets.) ( USDA APHIS: Pet Travel )
    7. Permits and/or certificates if bringing restricted animal and plant commodities regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
    8. Appraisals or receipts if Iím traveling with a lot of new jewelry?
    9. Valid driverís license? Do I need an international driverís license in the country I am visiting?
    ( International Driving Permit Application Instructions )
    ( American Automobile Association )
    10. An envelope to put all the receipts for my purchases? (This will make filling out the CBP declaration easier.)
    11. Copy of this Know Before You Go brochure?

    Information on items that do not have a Web site address after them can be found in this brochure or on the Travel page. ( Travel )
    http://elanr.fotopic.net

    I complained I had no hat, until I met a man who had no head.

  10. #9
    Junior Member flyingwithfish's Avatar
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    Here is the web link to the US CBP Travellers Checklist

    Traveler's Checklist - CBP.gov


    Be sure to check out #5, as is highlighted above. It leaves a lot of room for latitude in dealing with US CBP as it opens up a huge grey area. #5 was also highlighted in my blog post, which is referenced above.

    Again ... the post on my blog was in regard to US Citizens reentering the United States with their gear.

  11. #10
    Premium Member Angelo's Avatar
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    Patti, The address is 19581 Lee Road.

    Lee Rd., runs North and South off of "Will Clayton Rd" and "FM1960 Business"
    Again it's a free service.

    If you are only taking one camera I would not be too concerned, but if in doubt get it registered.
    Angelo
    www.mourinogallery.com
    "Luck Favors the Prepared", Author unknown

  12. #11
    took an arrow to the knee TheFantasticG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelo View Post
    Garret, I hate to say this but I think you may owe Uncle Sam some taxes.
    No. I don't think I do seeing as he already raped me for over $5,000 in April.

  13. #12
    Premium Member Angelo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFantasticG View Post
    No. I don't think I do seeing as he already raped me for over $5,000 in April.
    LOL
    Good choice of words "raped"...
    Angelo
    www.mourinogallery.com
    "Luck Favors the Prepared", Author unknown

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    Uber Poster Howard Barlow's Avatar
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    I've frequently carried pro equipment in and out of Russia and the rest of Europe for the past 11 years. Never registered anything, never had a problem.
    No, really, I'm fine. I always look like this.

  15. #14
    Premium Member Angelo's Avatar
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    Howard, I've also travelled a lot and never had problems. From what several friends of mine are saying and also reading about some encounters with US Customs I figured it is better safe than sorry.

    According to the article customs is trying to hammer down on many people that bring things in without paying their taxes. Having the registration form with you saves time and explanations.
    Angelo
    www.mourinogallery.com
    "Luck Favors the Prepared", Author unknown

  16. #15
    Member Scott1970's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElanR View Post
    This is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection checklist cited in Scott Bourne's blog. Highlights added by me.
    (Only suggested if traveling with recently purchased goods. Not necessary for goods more than 6 months old.)

    How would they tell a year-old Canon EOS 7D that is lovingly cared for from one that was just bought a week ago?

    I would say that unless your camera is old & outdated, and obviously so, you should have all necessary records -- actually, even for worn and beaten equipment, I'd have all my records.

    You don't want a martinet of a customs agent with a stick up his ass and a Napoleon complex deciding to lord his authority over you just because he can.

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