Customs Loopholes for Ukrainians
Before travelling abroad, you should be equipped with as much information as possible. This means you should learn the customs regulations for passengers going across the border. Otherwise, your journey can turn into a big problem. Some Ukrainian experts consider that the establishment of Ukrainian regional customs, and liquidation of some previous customs, (started October 1 this year), is making customs procedures for passengers easier and more comfortable.
But it looks different from the point of view of Ukrainian residents. People are going abroad for commercial deals, like buying clothes to resell in the Ukraine.
These people have the same customs regulations as all Ukrainian residents. But the limits on the amount of money they can carry and travel bag weights are different. That's why their trip through customs service is followed by a scheme. We'll speak now about the usual customs procedure for those travelling as tourists, students, or for work.
Many Ukrainian citizens pass through customs without any problems. But extraordinary problems can happen. One of them is caused by overweight baggage. If you have some, but do not have extra money to pay for them, nobody will feel sorry for you. Some passengers try to throw out heavy items from baggage. Clothes, books, alcohol bottles that add additional kilograms get a new location-the wastebaskets in airport areas.
The smarter passengers find another solution. They look for single travellers carrying very little baggage, for example, just a small bag. It is not easy, but you may ask them to carry your additional kilograms. It may cost a small fee.
After landing it is important not to mix up "green " and " red" corridors. It happened to one of my colleagues, who decided to use the "green" corridor. According to Ukrainian customs rules, this corridor is available only for people, who have not filled a custom declaration and are not carrying more than 3,000 dollars or its equivalent. Helen had 4000 dollars. She was stopped by a customs officer for breaking customs rules.
Unpleasant things also occur with bus or railway travellers. Passengers from the neighbouring train compartment may ask you to switch to their compartment. Allegedly they have a lot of baggage and need to be nearer to the exit. You are polite and change places. But how can you prove to customs officers at the border why that contraband alcohol, professionally installed in the compartment ceiling where you moved, is not yours?
Victor Skryabin, PR specialist of the State Customs Service:
- Many of our citizens incorrectly pass through the green corridor (simplified customs control). As a result, our officers send them back. The majority of passengers believe that passing through the red corridor means they will pay taxes for declaring more than 3,000 dollars. They are mistaken. You do not pay any taxes for declaring money up to 10,000 dollars or the equivalent.
Irina Slastyon, PR inspector of Borispol customs services advises:
Before travelling, you should inquire at the Embassy of the country you will be visiting. It's wise to take their suggestions about customs regulations. Otherwise, you can meet some obstacles on the border. For example, your notebook, having passed through Ukrainian customs without declaration, can be declared by another country's customs. There are some limitations for carriage of perfumery and food; special permission is required to carry animals and plants in some countries.
According to our customs service, the majority of breaches are in the form of illegal possession of currency, jewellery and antiquities.
If a citizen hides money from declaration (more than 3,000 dollars or its equivalent), a customs inspector cites a violation of customs rules.
The inspector will return 3,000 dollars to the citizen, which will not be declared at that time. The rest of money, held by officers, can be returned only through a court. During the detention period a customs transgressor gets an original court notification and protocol that is signed and sealed by the inspector.
Since 2005 the "green corridor" has become more loaded than the "red" one. This is because new simplified customs controls were implemented more than one year ago.