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Customs in the US

Am flying back from rome to San Francisco via charlotte. Assume since charlotte is my first US stop I will do customs there. My question is if I check a bag in Rome, will I have to retrieve it in charlotte and check it again or will it just go all the way through to San Francisco without me having to deal with it?

Posted by
1343 posts

Immigration and customs is generally handled at your first point of entry into the US. In your case Charlotte. You will need to get your checked bag. Some airports have a baggage recheck facility just after you clear customs.

The exception to this rule is that there are some foreign airports where you can preclear. Vancouver Canada, Bermuda and others.

Edit. Perhaps recheck was a poor description. Baggage drop might be more appropriate

Posted by
1286 posts

You normally retrieve your luggage in the airport where you first land and then re-check it.

Posted by
4690 posts

It’s not even really like you recheck it. After finishing immigration, you collect your bag from the carousel, walk through customs and then put your bag back on the carousel. You don’t interact with airline staff at all when putting your bag back on the carousel.

Posted by
2713 posts

It’s been a couple years since I’ve done this (I’ve been lucky with direct flights or connections in my destination country) but this type of rechecking isn’t like going back to the counter and standing in line with people getting on their first flight etc. After passport control you retrieve your bag and then just hand it back over quickly, no lines and the bag is already tagged. At least in my experience, including once at CLT.
Then you go back through security to get to your domestic flight.

Posted by
7696 posts

Unless you buy a lot of expensive goods abroad, customs is a non factor when returning to the US. It will be after Immigration, passport control.

Posted by
92 posts

Luckily, when you land in SFO, it's just a domestic flight and you can head out quickly.

Posted by
72 posts

Went thru customs at Charlotte a few weeks ago coming out of Rome with a final destination of Chicago. Customs, no problem out the door and right there were few good men who took the two bags an off we went to the next flight. Charlotte is an easy airport compared to O'Hare.

Posted by
18302 posts

TravelLady, but you still had to go through security after having access to you checked bags, right?