How To Get Through European Customs As Fast As Humanly Possible

You've probably heard of SmartGate as a faster way to get through customs, but it only works when you're coming back into Australia of course. Luckily, Australia isn't the only country that has a program aimed at making customs go more quickly — some European countries do, too.

Image from seanhobson.

Given that tourism is a major industry for many European countries, they want to make it as easy as possible for you to visit. Here are the some countries that have programs aimed at making customs go more quickly, so that you can get out of the airport and onto exploring your destination.

  • United Kingdom: To be eligible for the Registered Traveller Program, you must have a visa or visited the U.K. at least four times in the past two years. The program has a £70 ($114) application fee and £50 ($81) annual renewal fee.
  • Netherlands: This year, travellers from Australia and New Zealand can now apply to the Privium program for speedier entry. The program costs €121 ($169) per year to belong to.

While these programs are available, they cost quite a bit so they're really only worth it if you plan to visit the country again in the near future or frequently go through that country to get elsewhere in Europe. If you don't participate in one of these programs or the European country you're headed to doesn't have an expedited customs entry program, the best way for you to speed up customs is to arm yourself with all the info you'll need to fill out the paperwork when you arrive

  • The address(es) and phone number(s) of where you're staying.
  • How long your stay is.
  • What you're bringing in that might have to be declared (like large amounts of cash or non-native produce).

Ask your flight attendant on the plane for the customs form so that you can fill it out early and get in line right away when you arrive at customs.


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