Getting demo devices through customs

I just arrived in Hungary. The Canalys Navigation Forum will take place in Budapest this week, and I will be presenting a demo during the keynote. This demo will be about Windows Embedded NavReady features and benefits, so I had to bring some PNDs (Personal Navigation Devices) to demo Bluetooth pairing service, Hands Free and Dial Up Networking profiles, Live Search for Devices, MSN direct and Sideshow.

So far, I used to travel across boundaries with demo devices without declaring them to the customs. I was not declaring them because I only had 2 or 3 at a time and was convinced it was just painful to go through customs declaring items. Well I did declare them this time (I felt like traveling with this pelican case containing 6 PND devices would be trouble:


So I decided to go through the process of getting an ATA carnet prepared. It took 24hours to get it delivered to my office (rush delivery with additional fee).
When you have this document, you have to go to a Customs office in the airport you are flying from. I made the trip from Seattle to Budapest via New York, so I decided to go to the customs office in New York. It was not easy to find them... I was in the Terminal 3 of JFK airport and I had to go to the international arrivals, find a Customs agent and ask him about getting my ATA Carnet paperwork signed. They were really kind, checked a couple of serial numbers and then signed and stamped the carnet. I was all set to travel in only 5 minutes (+15 to find the Customs office ;-)).
When arriving in Budapest, customs agents were surprised I wanted to declare something, but I didn't want to be in trouble when coming back to the US (as the US Customs agent told me that I HAD to come back with every single device listed on the ATA carnet and with the signature of the visited country customs services), so I insisted to have the Hungarian agents to do the paperwork and I finally got my stamp + signature. The process is really simple and the ATA carnet makes things really easy. I recommend you get one if you need to travel with demo devices.

Now I will just have to replay and do some rehearsal for this Tuesday keynote demo with these legally imported PNDs! Stay tuned.

Comments (2)
  1. Thanks for the comments on using the ATA Carnet. For future reference we have some of the most travelled airport maps on our web site with the locations of Customs highlighted on them. Hopefully this will ease your journey even more next time!

  2. Great info Leslie. I should have digged the atacarnet Web site as these maps would have helped!


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