Thread: Carnet Rant.... c'mon lets hear your story....!

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  1. #1 Carnet Rant.... c'mon lets hear your story....! 
    Senior Member David Grauberger's Avatar
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    I just have to rant for a minute about the whole Carnet process. First of all, I've been shooting for 10 years in over 15 countries, some multiple times. I'm well seasoned in Carnet useage and process. Sometimes I've used them. Othertimes I've skipped it.

    I just have to point out how RIDICULOUS the whole process is. And actually impossible. I just got back from Canada (I'm US based) on a shoot. I obtained a carnet as usual. I got it stamped (days early) from my airport with gear I had to drag there because the carnet office opens at 9am (my international flight was at 7am).

    As I entered Toronto, I had to show the Canadian customs inspector what the document actually is. He had no clue. This happens 50% of the time.

    Here's where it gets super fun.

    I got to the airport in Toronto to come home 4hrs early. I knew to go to arrivals and backtrack my way to the customs office to get my exit stamp. Thats fine. They stamped it. I then went up to my American Airlines gate, checked my bags, and walked THROUGH airport security. Once, (remember dear listeners, that I've checked my bags at this point) past Canadian Airport Security, I then walk into US Customs security lines. I proceed (without my checked luggage, which is physically impossible to bring in) through US customs (still in Toronto), and head to my boarding gate.

    Once landed at my hometown in Denver, (I've already cleared US Customs in Toronto) I get my bags from baggage claim. I then go find the US Customs office in denver to get my final 4th stamp. My coveted Re-Entry stamp which will get the ATA Carnet Bond off my ass for $20,000.

    After waiting a ridiculous amount of time to open the door of customs, the Denver Customs officer says I should have got this stamped in Toronto. I explain how thats physically impossible because TO GET TO THAT OFFICE IN THE AIRPORT, I HAVE TO CHECK BAGS.

    She gave me that look that said "I know its physically impossible to do what I'm requiring but I dont care..." and said "I'll do it for you this once, but in the future..."

    *face slap*





    So my question to you peeps is, Tell me I'm not the only one who has gone through this. Tell me this isn't the system. Tell me my defense against a bond company billing me $20k isn't to parachute into the Toronto Airport, blow a hole in the roof and lower myself down ala Mission Impossible.

    What are your stories? I can't be the only one....
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  2. #2  
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    That's pretty much every carnet I've ever used. Never filled out right, nobody does it the same way, etc. But, it always works out. Never had anyone seize my gear and demand a bond with a carnet.

    Nick
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member David Grauberger's Avatar
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    Yeah many of mine have gone that way. This was the first where the office holding the stamp I needed was physically restricted from bringing the cases in.

    Guess I'm having a father of the bride moment...

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  4. #4  
    Its made into a hassle by purpose. If it was not, companies would start using mules to carry products across borders. Import tax of expansive stuff is way more than a flight ticket back and forth so its how goverments that want that tax revenue tackles the problem. Sadly its just a hurdle for those that travel.

    I go under cover most of time hiding gear in somthing that looks like regular carry on cases. But next my gear goes to Marocko and quite a lot of cases, Its a pain and worry to deal with it. Like its not enough frustrating to check in gear and not knowing if it even will be there when waiting at the belt together with delayed/missed flights, dealing with overweight, etc. And yes closed carnet offices and and officers that have no clue how to even sign them.
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  5. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Grauberger View Post

    I got to the airport in Toronto to come home 4hrs early. I knew to go to arrivals and backtrack my way to the customs office to get my exit stamp. Thats fine. They stamped it. I then went up to my American Airlines gate, checked my bags, and walked THROUGH airport security. Once, (remember dear listeners, that I've checked my bags at this point) past Canadian Airport Security, I then walk into US Customs security lines. I proceed (without my checked luggage, which is physically impossible to bring in) through US customs (still in Toronto), and head to my boarding gate.

    Once landed at my hometown in Denver, (I've already cleared US Customs in Toronto) I get my bags from baggage claim. I then go find the US Customs office in denver to get my final 4th stamp. My coveted Re-Entry stamp which will get the ATA Carnet Bond off my ass for $20,000.

    After waiting a ridiculous amount of time to open the door of customs, the Denver Customs officer says I should have got this stamped in Toronto. I explain how thats physically impossible because TO GET TO THAT OFFICE IN THE AIRPORT, I HAVE TO CHECK BAGS.
    .
    I've had this same issue a number of times. Twice at Canadian airports with U.S Customs pre clearance. Like YYZ.

    I have been able though to find a customs office (U.S/Canada, doesnt matter) that is prior to security, explain my issue and have someone come dowe from the post-security USA pre-clearance office. They think it's kind of weird, but understand and will do it. Might have to wait.

    Once the CBP officer arrives, they can inspect and stamp your docs. I've actually done Canadian, and U.S at the same time, at the Canadian customs window. Something like. "Hey Canada, I need you to stamp out my Carnet... Ok. Hey Canada, I also need the USA to stamp IN my carnet, but the USA is behind security and I won't have access to my checked bags. Can you call Jeff and have him come down here? Ok."

    Did the same thing in Mexico. Way more hassle because A: Nobody knows what a carnet is in Leon most of the time, and B: my spanish consists of Cerveza, Salsa Picante, and Caliente.

    Another fun one. Exiting the USA via ground transportation at Port Huron in Michigan. The only way to get to the U.S customs office in a vehicle prior to the blue water bridge is..... To PARK on the side of the highway, and jump the k-rail. Yell at the customs guy in the watch tower and explain. Go inside. Buzz the door. Explain. Get stamp (maybe). Run back to car on shoulder and drive across. That's the official way to do it, and only option. There is literally no way to access the customs office eastbound prior to entering Canada.
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  6. #6  
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    Was on a shoot for a big company that sells those strange energy drinks and we where on the way through Africa.
    I was there as DIT and had approximately 20 Hard disks with me. All in one case for which was also my carnet (with also a couple of other stuff as well).
    The boardercrossings we had on the African continent where never a huge Problem, you went there with the Carnet and got the stamps (even though they didn't even check once if the Stuff of the Carnet actually existed)
    At the airport of Dakar it was then a bit more fun. First of All you have to find the office who is giving you the stamp for the Carnet. It was not in the same building as the Checkin, but with a Taxi driver we managed to find it.
    To get to the "right person which was allowed to give the stamp" as they told us, we had to pass a couple of heavy armed military people and where brought into a very shady and dark office. Maybe it was just because of the time because the flight left at 2.am in the morning.

    The whole scenario was a bit film like. The officer behind the desk, had glasses where one glass iron was missing, and one glass was all shattered. He was looking at the Carnet and trying to read it by taking off the classes and putting them back on. And then he said that he can give the stamp but it costs 5.000 (I forgot the currency of Senegal). After a couple of times explaining to him that it doesn'T cost anything and him repeating the 5.000 he gave in and put a stamp down and signed the document.

    I wondered what he would have done if he saw that there where 4 hard disks missing because a courier did fly back with them in between.

    And another experience. Dakar is so far the only airport I have been at where you need to show your passport to enter the airport building. (My guess is: once you make it inside you can make it to a flight)
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member David Grauberger's Avatar
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    man I feel better already guys. The hoops we have to jump through. Its almost as bad as getting out of ikea...
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  8. #8  
    Member Alex Lubensky's Avatar
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    We've ran into some kind of hassle most of the times when we used to have an ATA Carnet. Def. way easier to hand-carry stuff in a bag and forget about a Carnet most of the times, but you're getting it on your own risk. Sometimes getting stuff back from a country can be a hassle without a Carnet. And beware of using Peli-cases, they draw too much attention from officers.

    I've found that the easiest way to pass an airport with a Carnet - is to go straight to a security/police/military officer right after you've entered the airport building. Tell him your story, show him you've got a plenty of stuff with you - wait 5 minutes while he's talking to someone on a radio - and someone def. comes to pick you up and will pass you through all the security lines right to your gate. A huge time-saver, at least in most of my cases.

    I've also ran into some trouble just because some people are assholes and you have to just deal with that. In those cases having someone, who is a native-speaker to the place, even on a phone - might help a lot.
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Taylor Morrison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Johnston View Post
    Another fun one. Exiting the USA via ground transportation at Port Huron in Michigan. The only way to get to the U.S customs office in a vehicle prior to the blue water bridge is..... To PARK on the side of the highway, and jump the k-rail. Yell at the customs guy in the watch tower and explain. Go inside. Buzz the door. Explain. Get stamp (maybe). Run back to car on shoulder and drive across. That's the official way to do it, and only option. There is literally no way to access the customs office eastbound prior to entering Canada.

    Matt Thats pretty funny as just a few months ago I did the exact same thing at the crossing into Canada at I87 in Northern NY. There is literally no way to get to the US border control as you are entering Canada other than running across 8 lanes of highway. All this for the exit stamp. Oh right then you have to dodge traffic again getting back to your car. Managed to get all my stamps for that trip but not once was any gear even looked at...ever...
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  10. #10  
    Senior Member Dominik Muench's Avatar
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    spent the money once, turned out to be useless and have never used one ever again. they cost around 280 euros to get done in Europe, are a pain in the ass to apply for and I have never been asked for one in 10 years of traveling with gear so I just haven't bothered again.
    V lock batteries and the absolutely ridiculous and unfortunately now international 7kg rule for hand luggage have been much bigger issues and reasons for discussions with ground staff, but the gear itself....never.
    Not saying this is the right or even smart thing to do, but the way I travel and work with gear, it just seems to work for me.
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