I live in Turkey. I have been on several domestic flights, including one to Ankara. I have also been on two international flights, one to London/Heathrow and the other to Zurich, Switzerland.

I have never had to clear Customs or fill in any Customs form. I think it is not needed. I have gone through immigration (passport control and baggage claim). I see people asking about clearing Customs or whether they need to go through Customs when they are in transit.

Who needs to go through Customs, and when?

What happens if you want to buy from Duty Free? In some countries, Duty Free is not in the international area. For example, when you arrive, it is after passport control, so you are in the country. How can it be tax free?

I am a student and researcher. I am sure that, in Japan, you have to complete a form about Customs.

  • If you ever crossed an international border, you have obviously cleared customs, at least implicity, e.g. by walking through a green nothing to declare lane ;) In countries where there is no landing card/interview, this amounts to a declaration and you are supposed to (1) find out about the rules yourself and (2) not use that "nothing to declare" lane if you do have something to declare (e.g. new goods you bought abroad that are above the duty free allowance for travellers, etc.)
    – Relaxed
    Sep 22, 2016 at 10:19
  • If you didn't go through customs, how did you get out of the airport? Sep 22, 2016 at 16:42
  • I just fallowed the signs and security checks(x-ray) :) Sep 22, 2016 at 16:44

1 Answer 1


In most Customs you can choose between two paths.

The first is "Nothing to declare" - that means you don't need to declare anything you bring with you, whether you bought it with you from you country, bought it in the Duty Free or it falls in some duty exempt categories.

The second is "Something to declare" - this means you need to pay custom on some of the items you brought with you.

Now some people are stopped on the nothing to declare lane for random checks and then they need to prove their items are exempt from duties. A duty free receipt would be good for this.

The government can freely decide where to place duty free zones. In my country we have an entire city that doesn't need to pay VAT, if they choose they can make an airport, even without border control, be a duty free zone.

  • @Thanks Mr. Super Savta, do you know the answer of my other question from your experience glad if you tell. Sep 22, 2016 at 7:51
  • @aintnosunshinewhenyouaregone which of your questions didn't I answer? Sep 22, 2016 at 9:12
  • Why in some countries Duty Free is not International Area for example when you arrive it is after passport control so you are in the country how can the taxes be free? Sep 22, 2016 at 10:45

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