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  1. #1 Travel questions 
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    1. Far as domestic, I believe you can have 2 batteries up to 160wh and unlimited if they are 98wh and under and all must be carry ons. Does this mean that I can have say 2 155wh batteries and 4 98wh batteries in my carry on?

    Far as international. I know many of you fly with gear. What is the paperwork needed to enter and exit other countries without paying high fees? I've heard some people had to leave their gear for weeks and/or pay thousands without the proper paper work. Mind you, at this time I am not traveling for Pro shoots and would mostly have everything in a carry on Backpack and maybe a few items like tripod or something with my checked luggage.

    Do you get the forms, or has most people had plenty success without them. I've heard of two forms. Carnet, and the 4457 form. Which is best to get and is it reallly a necessities or is that a chance that i probably should not take?
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  2. #2  
    Regarding international travel with your gear, it's really a question of how much risk you are willing to take. First, you shouldn't need any special docs if you are not travelling for commercial purposes. If you are traveling for commercial purposes you have two options to clear customs (legally): an ATA Carnet, if accepted in that country, or whatever temporary import scheme is used in that country. The CF4455 and CF4457 are only applicable when returning to the US. They are US customs forms and not recognized overseas. They will establish that the items are American Goods Returned so you don't have to pay duty when returning to the US. Whether to use a carnet or a TIB (temporary import bond) can be a little complex. It is difficult to know in advance what customs in a foreign country will require or charge for a TIB. Usually they want a cash deposit. And the TIB is only good for one country. So if you are going to more than one carnet country or making more than one trip to a carnet country it makes sense to get a carnet. For one trip to one carnet country I would look at the cost of the carnet, value of the equipment and whether you can afford delays in customs clearance, if, by chance, your gear gets confiscated. There is a cost calculator online for getting an estimate of carnet costs.
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  3. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leslie August View Post
    Regarding international travel with your gear, it's really a question of how much risk you are willing to take. First, you shouldn't need any special docs if you are not travelling for commercial purposes. If you are traveling for commercial purposes you have two options to clear customs (legally): an ATA Carnet, if accepted in that country, or whatever temporary import scheme is used in that country. The CF4455 and CF4457 are only applicable when returning to the US. They are US customs forms and not recognized overseas. They will establish that the items are American Goods Returned so you don't have to pay duty when returning to the US. Whether to use a carnet or a TIB (temporary import bond) can be a little complex. It is difficult to know in advance what customs in a foreign country will require or charge for a TIB. Usually they want a cash deposit. And the TIB is only good for one country. So if you are going to more than one carnet country or making more than one trip to a carnet country it makes sense to get a carnet. For one trip to one carnet country I would look at the cost of the carnet, value of the equipment and whether you can afford delays in customs clearance, if, by chance, your gear gets confiscated. There is a cost calculator online for getting an estimate of carnet costs.

    Thanks for the in depth informative reply. Any idea on what they usually look for to know if you're traveling for commercial purposes vs just traveling with your gear? I'd literally be taking a backpack and maybe checking one piece of luggage when travelong. I've just heard horror stories of people having to pay thousands to get their gear back. Would really rather not go on vacation and end up having to put down a $500 deposit or have my gear confiscated and pay a bunch of money to get it back.
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  4. #4  
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    Never mind.

    Nick
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  5. #5  
    Senior Member Chris McKechnie's Avatar
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    Always best to get a Carnet for your gear to avoid all potential customs issues. It's really a life-saver to avoid all the hassle of having to potentially pay a butt-load of tax.

    Also, you can take up to (3) 160wh batteries (one must be docked not the camera) and an unlimited amount of batteries 100wh and under. Always carry on batteries unless you want to get hit with a major fine and have them confiscated.
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member Owen Rennie's Avatar
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    I've done quite a bit of international travel and never played by the rules, only twice I've had problems. Once the gear was seized by customs and had to pick it up 3 weeks later in departure and the other was a 4 hour argument with customs explaining I wasn't there on work.. (hard to argue with 100k worth of gear haha)

    My advice is if packing light, camera in a bag and a some gear in a suitcase you'll never have a problem. Pack like your a tourist on a holiday.. however several pelican cases, tripod bags and the words "filmmaker" on your customs form is a bad idea.

    Regarding batteries I swear not one customs or airlines personal have a clue. I've have my bag pulled apart 100 times and never have my 190W batteries not got through, but be prepared to lose one in the bin haha. Just carry on all batteries as leaving in your suitcase can hold up a flight (sorry NZ to Sydney last year)
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Lee Kelly's Avatar
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    Nup,
    Owen is wrong and playing with fire. I literally had security at Sydney take my batteries into another room and test them. I am guessing it was some way of reading watt hours. There was a time when some sneaky people were replacing the stickers on their larger capacity batteries, as 96wh to get them through. You risk a big amount of trouble including fraud charges with potential jail time.
    Believe me, im not one of those people who subscribe to the theories that camera batteries took down a commercial flight so I think the precautions are a little overboard but dont risk trying to be sly. Not only will you get caught out that one time and pay heavily but it makes it even harder for the rest of us who do the right thing because they can easily tighten up their restrictions even more.
    Lipos on the otherhand are scary!
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member Owen Rennie's Avatar
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    I'm not wrong, these are my experiences, playing with fire haha yeah that's fair to say..
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Lee Kelly's Avatar
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    You are right Owen. Im sure a producer would love to deal with gear being seized.
    Great that you want to travel with batteries that are above the specified legal limits and risk serious consequences. I dont imagine the plane is going to fall out of the sky but trust me on this, you will get caught out that one time (as i said, my batteries were tested!) and you will lose your batteries and thats another headache for a producer especially if going somewhere that does not have v-locks easily available.
    Also when some people cowboy it and get caught it often causes security to tighten up even more making things harder for professionals doing the right thing.
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  10. #10  
    Senior Member Thai Christen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owen Rennie View Post
    I'm not wrong, these are my experiences, playing with fire haha yeah that's fair to say..
    Concerning batteries
    1) you have been lucky. I hope you will get caught soon and learn the hard way.
    2) what you do is just irresponsible. Not only do you put your own life to risk but the lives of all other passengers on the same aircraft.

    PLEASE, don't try to be super hero and play by the rules. There are good batteries out there with very fast re-charging time.
    Sorry if I am being harsh. But when I hear this, it drives me nuts.

    Analogy: with all those stupid wannabe pro drone operators who don't play by the rules until something happens. Then the government will come with more restricted regulations making the life of aerial professionals harder. Not even talking about the drone operator who got caught.
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