We have received the following advisory from a leading touring agency:
We have been informed by the German customs that it is necessary to declare instruments brought into Germany for professional use even if travelling within the EU. The RED channel must be taken at all times.
We are also informed that this is actually a law that applies to the entire EU even if it hasn’t been enforced recently.
If the wrong exit is taken the instrument is subject to seizure.
Here is a useful translation of the German diktat, made by one of our readers:
The Commissioner of the Federal Government for Culture and Media
Re: Customs Procedures during the International Arrival and Departure with valuable Instruments
Information for legal behaviour with Instruments carried as Luggage
Concerning; Instrument confiscations by Customs in August 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In August 2012, as a result of random checks at a German Airport, Customs officials (temporarily) confiscated 2 historical musical instruments. Two professional musicians had, rather than walking through the red gate for wares to be declared, walked through the green gate for wares that needn’t be declared, with their instruments. With the choice of the wrong gate, they had violated Customs regulations.
The Federal Finance Ministry reminds, once again, that professional musicians should always declare the instruments in their luggage in the red channel. The green channel may, regardless of the value of the wares, only be used with objects that do not have a commercial use. This does not include objects that are used in the perusal of a profession, and is why these Musicians were obliged to have used the red exit. In both cases it was possible to achieve a belated registration of the instruments after documents had been presented later.
Since the question of instrument transportation plays a role in pursuit of your profession, I would beg to indicate with the following suggestions for your behaviour in Customs s and hope, with your support, to prevent the occurrence of similar cases.
Professionally used objects are, on arrival in the Federal Republic of Germany, always to be brought through the red exit for goods to declare, even when all (still necessary) documents proving the freedom from Customs and the legality of the bringing into the Federal Republic are carried with the instrument. To speed the process of bringing professionally used instruments, and avoid the necessity to prove the customs freedom and legality of use in the EU, musicians can apply for a so called “Carnet ATA” for their instrument. With this document, one can enter, exit or travel through with the item of cultural or scientific use, and document the customs status with simplicity. The “Carnet ATA” is valid in all countries that are signatories to the ATA-Treaty. In Germany it is issued by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. More exact information is to be found on the web site of the Customs (link) or by googleing “zoll carnet ata”.
As a further information, I would like to direct your attention to a Online-Handbook from the International Theatre Institute, together with the International Society of Visual Art. The Online Portal is programmed to be opened by Secretary of State for Culture, Neumann on 18th April 2013, and will contain further interesting information
With friendly Greetings