enter image description hereSo, I bought a ‎€10 green laser pen, but it has no logo or model markings. The most I have is 'NO. 1 JAPAN' and 'LASER POINTER' on the metal clip. It has no indication of how mW it is, or how powerful it is. It is genuinely an average looking laser pen, it can also reach pretty far. I was told by the leader of our party that previous people who bought laser pens were stopped at customs. However, I am planning on taking the laser pen through in my tagged luggage will be going into the hold.

What I want to know is, will I get stopped for having it in the hold, or in my luggage?

Going from Italy to England.

  • To clarify, do you have an actual question?
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 21:30
  • 2
    Customs doesn't care about whether the items you're bringing in were in the cabin or the hold during your flight. Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 23:30
  • I was told their bags were recalled as were they... am not sure what happened next. I am wondering if it was just a story to scare us.
    – oisinvg
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 5:13

1 Answer 1


Aside from the question of markings and power, you have a green laser.

Typically green lasers are DPSS type which is a nonlinear crystal pumped with a powerful IR laser. A (relatively) small amount of green light emerges from the doubling effect of the laser. What do I care, you may say..

Well, the crystal is quite temperature sensitive and if it's cold or hot there may be almost no visible green light coming out, however the IR source is still in there. The cheap street laser may not include a blocking filter to notch out the IR beam, and IR will not trigger your eye's blink response as a bright green light would, so it could actually be quite dangerous to vision.

As was mentioned, the lack of power marking means customs won't know what the power is supposed to be. They may well be more than 1mW. I have a '200mW' one that is probably not 200mW but definitely more than 5mW (Chinese mW tend to be smaller than Western mW). Also green lasers have been targeted because there have been a small number of morons who think it's cool to point them at aircraft.

For example (2008)

High powered laser pointers have been seized by trading standards officers at a container port in Suffolk.

Sixteen boxes headed for a premises in north London were found at Felixstowe Docks earlier this week.

And from 2016:

While trading standards officers can act to stop lasers that exceed one milliwatt going on sale to the public, many are still attempting to smuggle more powerful devices into the UK.

Leicester trading standards recently seized 1,500 high-powered lasers destined for British shelves, which were then destroyed.

It's unclear to me whether they could prevent a private individual from importing such a device for personal use since ownership does not appear to be illegal.

Incidentally, your question asks about customs while your title asks about security. Lasers do not appear to be specifically prohibited from carry-on, but of course your particular one might attract interest. Certainly presentation lasers are not generally a problem, but they are low power devices and typically so marked.

  • I'm going to be packing it into luggage which will be going into the hold.
    – oisinvg
    Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 6:01
  • Why would people who point lasers at aircraft only point green lasers at aircraft? Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 11:22
  • @user253751 maybe they point other types, but powerful green lasers scatter light in the atmosphere such that you can see the beam. They are sometimes used for teaching astronomy for that reason (the instructor can point to celestial objects and the student can follow the beam with their eyes). With a red laser pointer the beam will be invisible in dry air. Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 11:45

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