We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

customs en route to and from Italy

Texas, USA
Level Contributor
13 posts
15 reviews
Save Topic
customs en route to and from Italy

We are planning a visit to Italy in the fall. We are flying from Dallas/Ft. Worth. We will have a stop in London, Madrid, or Frankfurt going. Returning we will have a ten to fourteen hour layover (during the night) at either London or Madrid. Will we have to clear customs at any or all of these stops?

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
27,708 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: customs en route to and from Italy

Assuming all your flights are on one through ticket ....

... Takes a deep breath as one tries to explain the complexities of the Schengen Area, and this will be a long'un - http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Area

... And promises that it's much more straightforward than it sounds!! :))

Firstly, when you refer to "customs", do you actually mean just Customs, which is the inpection of you and your bags for prohibited or dutiable/taxable items when you enter a country, or do you mean Immigration/Passport control?

On your outbound, you will clear Customs only at your destination in Italy, as it's the first country you actually enter, and you won't see your checked bags until you get to Italy. On your return, you will clear Customs on arrival in the US and you won't see your checked bags until then. However, if you want to spend your long layover in Madrid or London, as you're entering Spain or the United Kingdom you and your carry ons will clear Customs there.

Now, Immigration is different. The Schengen Area is a common travel/immigration area, that includes, Italy, Spain and Germany, but *not* the UK.

You clear Immigration at your first port of entry into Schengen, and you clear exit immigration at your last point of exit.

So ..., If traveling via MAD or FRA, you will clear immigration at these airports, and then customs in Italy. But, if traveling via LHR, you will clear immigration on arrival in Italy, and there will be no passport check at LHR.

Now ... for your return.

If you fly via MAD, that is your last point of departure from Schengen, so you clear exit immigration there. If you choose to enter Spain, you'll have no passport control on arrival (still in Schengen).

Now, returning via London. Italy is your point of departure from Schengen, so you clear exit immigration there. But, If you want to spend a few hours in London, then you will have to clear entry immigration to the UK.

Got it?

Have a great trip.

Texas, USA
Level Contributor
13 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: customs en route to and from Italy

Thanks for the information. I am just concerned about the short layover times outbound. Especially in London--we would have to change airports with as little as a four-hour layover. You've given me good background on what to expect.

Madrid
Level Contributor
3,168 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: customs en route to and from Italy

If you have to change airports from Heathrow to Gatwick,4 hours is barely enough time to achieve this.It also negates all the good information USBusinessTraveller has given you regarding transiting the UK.In this case you will have to enter the UK,collect your bags and transfer to Gatwick and recheck.

If you have other options in the same airport,I would choose one of these.

Amsterdam, The...
Destination Expert
for Amsterdam
Level Contributor
35,090 posts
79 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: customs en route to and from Italy

Have you looked at KLM via Schiphol? much easier connection.

Texas, USA
Level Contributor
13 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: customs en route to and from Italy

I was afraid that would be the case. Thanks for the heads up.

Illinois
Level Contributor
15,948 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: customs en route to and from Italy

I don't know if this is standard or not, but we just did ORD-FRA-NAP about 10 days ago, and the passport control in FRA was really nothing. There was no line, the officer didn't ask us any questions, he stamped our passports, and we proceeded to the gate. On arrival in NAP, we just got our bags and walked through the nothing to declare exit.

Coming back through Frankfurt on the way home, we ended up going out of the secure area (which seems to be where the majority of shops and restaurants are) so we had to have our passports stamped again and go back through security. Security didn't take long, although I did get pulled out of line to be wanded and they hand searched my bag. The only bad outcome of this is that they made me throw out my water bottle and I had to buy a new one. They let DD's bottle of powerade go through though.

I did not see any signs on the way up to security like I usually do telling you to get rid of liquids, have them in a 1 quart ziplock bag, take laptops out, etc.

We had about 4 hours in Frankfurt each way, and that was more than enough time.

Nashville, TN
Level Contributor
5,618 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: customs en route to and from Italy

First to make it as easy as possible and to give yourself the maximum reprotection options, be sure to book this as one ticket. If at all possible, avoid the airport change in London. Changing airports as part of a connection is never a good idea in any city. Anything could happen that could throw a monkey wrench into your plans.

8. Re: customs en route to and from Italy

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 19 June 2013, 22:15