Recent U.S. Customs Experiences - Particularly at Dulles

Discussion in 'Before & After the Hunt' started by PHOENIX PHIL, Aug 27, 2018.

  1. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Folks,

    I had to take one for the team at work and leave beautiful Phoenix in August and pay my dues by traveling to awful Switzerland last week........I know I know.......very big of me.......(y) I traveled home this past Saturday flying into Dulles airport as my port of entry.

    While I may have missed an announcement regarding the forms you normally fill out on return from foreign travel, from what I remember they usually hand these out and you fill them out whether you think you need to or not. I didn't even think about the fact that I hadn't as I left the airplane. So off the plane and I followed the sign for folks with connecting flights and into passport control area I went.

    A relatively short duration getting through passport control, may be 10 minutes or so before I got to the CBP officer in the box. The officer asked me a question about what I had bought, I told him, but that it was in my checked bag which was of course through the next door. I thought that odd to be asked this as passport control but whatever. The officer replied welcome home, stamped my passport and sent me on my way.

    On through the next door to the baggage carousel where I was happy to see a United airlines employee taking bags off the carousel and standing them to the side. I found my bag immediately and one I went expecting to next meet with a customs officer. But that didn't happen, the next stop was at another conveyor for rechecking your bags. Which I did and was now on my way to clearing security before moving into the terminal for my connecting flight.

    Hey wait a minute.......what happened to the guy who may or may not want to look in my luggage? It didn't happen to me nor anyone else I could see. No one was being stopped. Has this become the normal procedure?

    If so, what does this mean for those traveling with firearms? I'd like to hear what you guys who've been to Africa this year are experiencing on return, particularly if Dulles was your port of entry.
     

  2. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Return to the States through Dulles three weeks ago with a firearm from Johannesburg was a bit of a pain. You are now tagged coming in as carrying a firearm. The nice customs man takes your custom's print-out and passport and seals them in a clear plastic lock box (Al Gore triumphant). He then escorts you and your sealed documents to a special holding area where you and anyone else so unlucky as to be traveling with a firearm are held awaiting the gun cases. They are, of course, the last thing off-loaded by the baggage handlers. The day I was there, one single agent handled all the inspections. I counted - there were 23 of us. Cases were opened, serial numbers checked against DD Forms and computer records. I flew business, and was number four in line. I left the holding area to find my checked baggage 47 minutes after entering (yes, I counted that as well). Passenger number 23 may still be there. Fortunately, I had a three-hour layover and I was able to locate my bag - long since removed from the conveyor. Not sure about passenger 23.

    I wish we could come up with a system to target someone trying to smuggle a weapon into the US that was half as thorough and bureaucratic as that managing citizens legally traveling with declared firearms.
     
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  3. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Wow. Do you think this is specific to Dulles or the norm for all airports?
     

  4. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Came back from Angola and RSA earlier this month and came through JFK, my first time through this airport. I did not have firearms. Customs and immigration was a breeze, no issues whatsoever. I was somewhat impressed, especially after ready many bad comments about transiting through JFK.

    I was in the People's Republic of California this past weekend, for a friend's wedding, and returned to Houston-IAH and was issued a gun upon re-entry :whistle:
     
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  5. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Same when you go to Anchorage without a gun!
     
    375 Ruger Fan likes this.

  6. Upton O. Good

    Upton O. Good AH Enthusiast

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    I took shotguns to SA in 2012, coming back through Dulles was a little bit of a challenge. Having retired from federal service and not giving a crap about the inefficient process of government, on orders by the man, I followed a Customs agent into a very secured area of the airport terminal. The very clear, heavily labeled “NO ENTRY TO UNAUTHORIZED INDIVIDUALS” and James Bond keypad entry gave me pause but, following orders I followed the Customs officer through the doors and into a very high tech equipment loaded room.

    A few steps into the room, another agent began screaming at me about being there. I turned to him and quickly responded in equal volume and force that I was following orders and if he had a problem he needed to take it upwith my guide. I turned, walked back out, they brought my gun case, I went to the next baggage check, processed my luggage and walked to my departure gate.

    No problem.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2018
    375 Ruger Fan likes this.

  7. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    May of '17, flight back to Dulles via SAA. Get to Dulles around 7 a.m. Was told even though I had Global Entry still had to fill out a customs form, WTF why, I couldn't figure. Off to the holding area, clear guns in five minutes, send me down to another guy, he asks me a few questions. Yep, I have warthog tusks and porcupine quills. Ok, no problem. Like a dummy I ask about my boots. Nope, they're ok, well maybe we'll spray them. Dig them out of checked bag, couple shots of spray, put them in a plastic bag and in less than a half hour, I'm on my way out to my ride who was two hours late due to traffic around D.C.
    Having said all that, the only downside I can see using IAD is the highway traffic.
     

  8. Ridge Runner

    Ridge Runner AH Veteran

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    I hunted South Africa in June this year, Dulles, via SAA. I had no problem leaving or returning with customs.

    Delcared my firearm going:
    SAA agent checked and tagged my rifle case, TSA agent had me stand at a rope gate, then go around to a walk way enter the area, where I opened my gun case, he checked to make sure it was unloaded and no ammo in the case, and serial number matched my CBP form. I relocked the rifle case and on my way. About 5-10 minutes tops.

    Declared my firearm return:
    Went thru the line at customs, picked up my check bags and off to he room to have my rifle serial number checked with the CBP form hunting boots sprayed and on my way to my vehicle via shuttle bus. About 20 minutes, 3rd in line.

    NOTE:

    Bow hunters (w/ bows only) were at first told to wait their turn. When a third CBP agent arrived, bow hunters were allowed to form another line, (which moved considerably quicker than the firearms line and caused a back up to get hunting boots sprayed).

    Comparatively about the same as traveling thru Atlanta.
     
    PHOENIX PHIL likes this.

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