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Amsterdam airport arrival from U.S.customs?

After baggage pickup is there any customs checks like the U.S., or can you right to the train below the airport?
Trying to figure timing to book train after flight arrival.

Posted by
12794 posts

Is there a customs checks in the US? I just hand my US Customs form to the guy/gal standing there to collect them and walk out through the green line (nothing to declare).
In the EU it works the same way, except you don't have to fill a Customs form like in the US (the US Customs form is just to create some extra Government jobs in America).
Having said that, I'm not sure what train you need to book. If it's the shuttle train from Schipol to the city, they are frequent and You don't need to book anything. If it's a long distance train to go somewhere far, I wouldn't book anything either, because the biggest delay may not be caused by Customs officers, but rather by a late arrival of your plane.

Posted by
14776 posts

You will have to go through immigration before getting your luggage. There can be lines. As Roberto noted, there are other reasons for delays. It's usually not a good idea to book a train in advance, since you'd probably have to just toss it away if you miss the train.

Posted by
12040 posts

If you have nothing to declare upon arrival (almost all casual tourists never do), customs in the Schengen Zone of Europe is just walking through a "Nothing to declare lane". As others have noted, the hold-up is usually the immigration portal, which occurs before you pick up your luggage. I don't know Schiphol airport, but usually the length of the line depends on how many flights simultaneously de-plane. Which means, usually it's busiest in the morning and evening.

To where are you trying to book a train? If it's a train to somewhere else in the Netherlands aboard the national rail carrier, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), there's no advantage to booking in advanced. Just buy your tickets when you arrive and hop on the next train to your destination.

Now, if you're headed to somewhere in Belgium or Germany aboard either the Thalys high-speed service or Deutsche Bahn, you can save money if you pre-purchase your tickets, but this will lock you into taking a specific train at a specific time. You can always purchase the tickets at the station, but of course, you'll pay the highest fare.

Posted by
3 posts

I am arriving at 8:30 and was trying to get the Thalys to Paris at 9:30 since the next train out of the airport isn't until 11:30.
11:30 would be less stressful, so I will cool my heels.
Thanks Again for your replies.

Posted by
2081 posts


i had a short 50 minute connection in AMS this past Sept. i was hesitant to do it, but i wanted to see how well the Airlines and Schiphol had their act together.

I was able to make my connection with time to spare, but there were lines. Like stated it will depend on how many other flights arrive at the same time. I was able to make it through customs/immigrations fast but there were a lot of others arriving at the same time too.

i noticed that when overthere, the EU immigrations usually has a longer line and more people than here, but when i get back home, its us USA citizens where there is a longer line.

If you havent been to Schiphol, you may want to take the later train since the Schiphol is a nice airport to wonder around in.

happy trails.

Posted by
8976 posts

Schiphol is a nice airport to wonder around in.

Currently it's not. It's undergoing major renovations in the terminal areas and a lot of their regular amenities (like the airport Rijks Museum) are temporarily closed.

Posted by
8889 posts

There are two queues for immigration, EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA. They both look about the same, but the EU line flows much faster as all they have to do is scan the passport barcode (to proove it is genuine). The non-EU queue can be a lot slower as they do more checks, and stamp the passport. Best case the non-EU queue will take just enough time for your bags to reach the carousel (so you don't actually lose any time, because you would have been waiting for your bags anyway). Worst case it takes 1-1½ hours.
Customs takes zero time, you just walk through the green channel, unless you are the 1% they stop.

Land 08:30 (assuming it is on time) for a 09:30 train is just too short. Book the 11:30 train. You also need a bit of contingency time to find the train (individual escalators down to each platform from the main concourse, need to know which platform first), and time to buy some food & drink to eat on the journey.

Posted by
3661 posts

Schiphol, like many major airports, provides plenty of useful information on its website When maps are available, I print them out to help navigate the airport's direction signs

Posted by
16883 posts

Do plan a good cushion of time before your international train and be sure you know the restrictions of the Thalys ticket that you buy. Discounted rates may not be refundable or changeable at all, and especially not after the departure of the scheduled train. If you have to buy a full-fare ticket on the spot, it costs about $170 (€132) per person in 2nd class.

When you have the option, booking a flight connection to Paris on the same ticket with your trans-Atlantic air line is usually a good option for both convenience and price.