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Customs between countries ...

We are flying home from Zurich (to NYC) through Dusseldorf next summer. There are two options for flights, one with 1.5 hrs between connections and one with 7 hrs.... Obviously we would prefer the 1.5 hrs, but want to make sure we are leaving enough time if we will need to go through customs in Dusseldorf. Experience and suggestions would be welcome. Airlines are ticketed by one carrier, but flight to NYC is on partner carrier.

Thank you!!

Posted by
8889 posts

I suspect you are asking about the wrong thing. It is immigration you should be worried about, NOT customs.

You say this is all on one ticket, so you don't have to check in again at Düsseldorf. In that case your bags will be checked through to New York, you will not see them at Düsseldorf. And IMPORTANT BIT, the airline would not have sold you the ticket if they didn't think it was possible, and they are responsible for getting you on the second flight. If you miss it, they will put you on a later flight.

  • Customs is the check on goods, whether they are allowed into the country, and whether any taxes (tariffs) have to be paid on them. As your bags go direct to New York, they will not go through customs at Düsseldorf. Even if you did exit to the city, customs in Europe for private travellers is a random check only, >95% are not stopped. So again no issue.

  • What I think you are concerned about is immigration, aka passport control. This is the check on people.

    • Both Switzerland and Germany are in the Schengen Area, which is a "passport union". You go through passport control when you enter or leave the Schengen Area, but not between Schengen Area countries. -This means you will not go through immigration exiting Zürich
    • Düsseldorf is where you exit the Schengen Area. You will go through immigration on the way to your flight to New York.
Posted by
1494 posts

It is a flight in Schengen zone. Therefore you do not have to expect checks . except very rare spot chaecks.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you very much .... and yes it is immigration. You would think with all this discussion on this side of the ocean about the subject that I would understand the difference! thanks again.

Posted by
18378 posts

I flew home from Munich through Düsseldorf a few years ago. It was in intra-Schengen flight to Düsseldorf, so I went through Schengen emigration (immigration is incoming, emigration is outgoing) in Düsseldorf. Both flights were on Lufthansa and used the same concourse. Schengen was on one end, "airside" was on the other. I just walked down the hallway; passports were checked in the hallwall between the two gates.

By the way, Düssel is a river, Dussel is a fool. Therefore, Dusseldorf would be a town of fools. It's Düsseldorf, or Duesseldorf.

Posted by
8889 posts

So Dusseldorf (no umlaut) = Gotham village (dorf = village).
The original Gotham is a small village south of Nottingham, which due to a medieval legend was known as the "village of fools" (click here if you don't believe me). Then applied by Washington Irving in 1807 as a nickname to New York City.
Therefore batman comes from Germany, who would have guessed?

Posted by
128 posts

About half a century ago there was a German schlager (hit) sung by Dorthe with the title "Wärst Du doch in Düsseldorf geblieben" (If only you had stayed in Düsseldorf). A little later there was a parody "Wärst Du Dussel doch im Dorf geblieben" (If only you had stayed in your village, you fool).