Declaring Guitar at Airport Customs

Discussion in 'Gibson Les Pauls' started by abhimanyu, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. abhimanyu

    abhimanyu Junior Member

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    Some of you may already know that I'm planning on taking my guitar to India in a couple of weeks.

    I have heard that when customs officers in India see equipment they begin to ask too many questions and also threaten to charge duties and taxes if you cannot convince them that you will take your instrument back. This can be avoided by bribing them but I don't want to do that.

    Do any of you declare your instrument at Airport Customs when you leave the US for another country? I want to know what the procedure is.

    In India for instance, if you are carrying say an instrument or film equipment, you can declare it to customs and they give you a receipt saying that you are taking this stuff abroad and will be bringing it back.

    Please help out if you can.
     
  2. 155

    155 Senior Member

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    you are nuts for taking it!
     
  3. LongBeach

    LongBeach Premium Member

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    sorry bro, I'm not international
     
  4. Tim Plains

    Tim Plains Senior Member

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    This can also be avoided by leaving the guitar at home.
     
  5. Sven

    Sven Senior Member

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    Are you travelling in the capacity of a musician? If so, then it would be no different than a businessman taking a laptop.
     
  6. sapi

    sapi Senior Member

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    Man i'd think twice about taking a guitar with me to India. Especially if it's expensive!
    If you just want something to play on, just buy a cheap copy from there. And bargain hard don't let them rip you off.
    Best,
    jo
     
  7. abhimanyu

    abhimanyu Junior Member

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    Like I said, if Seattle (SeaTac) Airport has the procedure where you can declare goods that you will bring back, I can completely avoid dealing with customs in India.

    I'm pretty sure if any Airport in the US has it, Seattle should have it because it will be a CBP (Customs & Border Protection) issue.
     
  8. sapi

    sapi Senior Member

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    Up to you bro. Not to be pessimistic about India (i spent 5 months there and loved it) - but once you're there you can't make the rules, they will. It helps to be assertive though. You must also guard against it being stolen. Even from your lodging. That may mean carrying it around with you in a hot climate.
    Best,
    jo
     
  9. noslen1968

    noslen1968 Senior Member

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  10. GuitarGod319

    GuitarGod319 Senior Member

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    Dont take it!!!!!!!!!
     
  11. noslen1968

    noslen1968 Senior Member

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    This has made me look at US laws in this regard http://www.kron.com/global/Story.asp?s=670696 When I return to the states, I will have the Les Paul I purchased for $1,000 in Korea. According to Sample Customs Declaration Form - CBP.gov usually, the first $800 of value is duty free - meaning I will have to pay about a 5% duty on the remaining $200 (=$10). You will notice that if you are a not a resident of the US and will leave with what you bring, it is exempt. Also, if you are a US citizen, only items purchased abroad are subject to the duty. The Indian rules parallel this, meaning if you plan to leave with the guitar you bring in, no duty will be owed - you should only pay duty on what will remain in the country you are going to - of course, this is open to interpretation by the official at that particular time...

    Do not consider bribery - may get you in more trouble than you like - even though duties in India range from 5-40% Custom Duty In India, Central Board Of Excises Customs India, Indian Customs Act, Indirect Taxes & Related Info

    Then you have to consider the possibility of it being broken or lost on the way there or back as well as theft while there.

    Don't bring it, is my final advice for you.
     
  12. pcorajr

    pcorajr Senior Member

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    I would leave the guitar home. I have travel abroad many times and have seen a lot of problems specially with expensive equipment.

    I had a friend lose a expesive Martin Acoustic guitar in India. I would recommend buying a cheap guitar to take overseas. Something that if they decide to keep you wont regret.

    I use to take a cheap acoustic guitar with me when i had to travel anywhere in the world.

    Also remember that 90 % of the time you have to check in you guitar so i would suggest that if you must take your expensive equipment with you that you invest in a travel case
     
  13. scissorlock

    scissorlock Member

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    I took my acoustic guitar to India last year, and it was a bloody hassle.

    To be honest with you, it's more trouble getting the damn thing on the plane than getting it through customs. There was no way I was going to declare it as checked baggage, but getting the stewardesses to stow it in a closet on the aircraft was like pulling teeth.

    When I transferred airlines in Mumbai, I almost had my guitar confiscated by customs. They opened the case and figured it must be expensive, so they tried to give me nonsense about it not being declared on my passport...which, according to the officers imagination, is illegal. I remained polite, but would absolutely not let anybody take it from me. I told them repeatedly that my travel agent assured me there was no such policy in place with India customs (all BS, by the way...but I kept insisting). Eventually, the officers decided it wasn't worth their while and let me pass.

    I was probably very lucky though. I was traveling with my girlfriend, so maybe that had something to do with it. Safety in numbers. If I was traveling alone, they'd definitely have taken it without any hesitation.

    Just be careful. Don't take ANYTHING abroad that you can't afford to replace, should something happen to it.

    Enjoy your trip! India's amazing.
     
  14. Belzeebub

    Belzeebub V.I.P. Member

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    Leave the guitar at home and just buy a cheap one there to play. 2 things:

    1. As mentioned here, most Indian airport and customs officials are corrupt and will need to be bribed ridiculous sums of money to let you slide by. No use going to the cops, they're just as corrupt. You will end up paying off a lot of people which would equate (if not surpass) the value of your guitar.

    2. Travelling anywhere by plane with a guitar is just asking for trouble. Think: lost luggage & mishandling (even if you affix a "Fragile" sticker) by airline loading crews among other reasons. I am most certain that your guitar will not be allowed as a "carry-on" item since it is too large to fit in the overhead bin or under the seats therefore, you will have to check that in.
     
  15. Kuroyama

    Kuroyama V.I.P. Member

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    ¡Ú³ÚÅ·»Ô¾ì¡Û¡ÚÆþÌçÍѥ쥹¥Ý¡¼¥ë¥®¥¿¡¼¡Û ¡¡¡ÚPhotogenic¡Û¥¨¥ì¥­¥®¥¿¡¼¥ì¥¹¥Ý¡¼¥ë¥¹¥¿¥ó¥À¡¼¥É¡¡£Ì£Ð£²£¶£°¡¡£´ÅÀ¥»¥Ã¥È¡§³Ú´ï¥é¥ó¥É¡¡¥µ¥ó¥¯¥¹

    These guys made the first LP I ever bought. Shape wise its VERY satisfying. Tone wise it aint bad. Pricewise, you cannot beat it. It was this guitar that I converted into a BFG.

    At $150, if this got broken or confiscated, Im sure youll get over it.

    You seem AWFULLY bent on taking a GIBSON BFG with you to India. Are you sure its not your intention to sell it? That would make sense. But honestly, this whole business about just taking a GIBSON just to have it around... I think its foolish, and dangerous. I think you wont be happy until this this is broken or stolen.

    All these unrelated people from this website giving the SAME advice (leave the guitar at home, avoid trouble, if you must take it take a flight case...) This isnt hazing. Its not coincidence. Its people who have heard your plan and want to help you avoid heartache.

    You just seem so determined to ignore the advice.

    Like I said, at the rate youre going, I see no reason it wont end in tears. But I dont wish that for you. I hope you travel safe and everything goes well. Also... you might wanna tone down all the talk about bribing Indian officers. Im sure you didnt register with traceabel personal information...

    But how many people do you think will travel to India this year carrying single Gibson BFG guitars with them? If the cops stopped all TWO of you, it wont take them a long time to bust the right guy. Take it easy on the language...

    Good luck.
     
  16. Gigan

    Gigan Senior Member

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    I did some work in india and had to bring a lot of work related items there . They tore thru my stuff and left it there on the floor of the airport for me to repack in the boxes they tore up, mind you I still had to come back to the good ol' USA and find a way to pack this stuff up to survive coming back home. Yes they are corrupt I entered the country with no visa and had one within a half an hour. I would say don't do it if you don't have too.
     
  17. martin6string

    martin6string Senior Member

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    I used to work for a major airline for 11 years. I've seen the good and bad when traveling with musical gear. If it were me, I'd leave the guitar home. Even if you don't have issues with customs, you going to have some worry involved in checking the guitar and potentially having some "bagsmasher" damage it enroute.
     
  18. ronniesize

    ronniesize Senior Member

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    leave it at home. Seems like itsa lot of hassle than just buying a copy from india than taking the risk of taking the gear with you
     
  19. GeeJay

    GeeJay Senior Member

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    A couple of years ago I carried a piece of technical equipment into India (Mumbai) as part of a business trip. Before I went I asked the Indian Embassy in the UK what was needed for customs clearance and followed their advice to the letter. Had all the documentation prepared beforehand, letters of ownership, etc. etc.

    I got about 10 feet from the luggage conveyor before I got pulled up by customs. They would not accept any of my documents. The customs officer in charge (for that shift) said that I needed a carnet (which I was specifically told I would not need) and that the equipment had to be impounded, which it was.

    After he went off shift, the new guy said I needed a bank guarantee or bond to the value of duty that would be payable had it been imported. This would be held by customs until the goods were seen by them to be leaving India.

    It took five days. Some of those were spent at the airport trying to get through all of the red tape. Even when we'd finally got all of the correct papers to suit the demands of the particular customs officials, it took me 15-hours to actally get the equipment handed back to me so that I could then go and so the job I'd travelled there for.

    And when I went to fly out, I needed to find a particular guy to sign-off on the banker draft, otherwise they would have let me leave and then cashed it in.

    I would not try and take anything of value (financial or personal) into India. I would certainly not expect it to be pain free..

    Good luck...
     
  20. Lefty666

    Lefty666 Senior Member

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    All this talk doesn't make me want to pack my bags and head off to a vacation in India anytime soon. Sounds like it would be more fun to go to Tel Aviv or Tehran instead.
     

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