UKBA Customs Controls in France/Belgium that don't legally exist.

It's surprising how many people think that the UKBA Border Controls in France such as Calais, Dunkirk are Customs Controls, lndeed many a UKBA Ofiicer seemingly does too when they 'innocently' ask questions such as "What have you purchased" blah blah.

The fact of the matter is that UKBA have no authority or jurisdiction to ask such questions. Many a cross-border shopper think they do but it is in reality nothing more than a bluff by UKBA.

The Channel Tunnel (Coquelles) is the ONLY place in France where UKBA can operate Customs Controls. Quote from UKBA :-

" The UK Border Agency controls at Coquelles (Channel Tunnel site) are the
only juxtaposed controls in France that has the jurisdiction and legislation to
operate Customs Controls under CEMA 1979.  This is outlined in the 1993
Channel Tunnel order. These powers are exercised in a defined control zone
and where necessary they have been modified to provide for the particular
circumstances of the tunnel."

UKBA can only look for illegal  immigrants and check passports at all the other border controls in France/Belgium. That means they cannot look in small bags/holdalls etc or anywhere incl your vehicle (if you take one) that is not big enough for a person to fit in and hide. They cannot legally ask any questions or conduct any searches for Excise Goods such as tobacco/cigarettes/alcohol. CEMA 1979 (Customs Controls) cannot be applied at these borders ... period!

As Michael Caine never said " 'not a lot of people know that " So next time any UKBA Officer at one of these border controls starts asking questions about your purchases, feel free to inform them that they have no legal power to do so .... make sure you are not doing this though :-     :)

Stay safe now! :)


  1. They wanted to know everything from me at Calais. They wont do it again. Thx Smokey

  2. Ferries look a far better option than tunnel. l'd rather be delayed in UK than bloody France where they can apply a lot of pressure.

  3. When SH told me about this yesterday, I was really surprised. Going on either the Calais or Dunkerque ferries from the French side always means running the gauntlet of the UKBA Booth and I had always assumed that they had 'customs powers'...certainly they do everything to give that impression...although I had wondered why they don't come out of the booth and walk round looking in the car.

    Next time I come back with a car ferry then I shall be video recording going into the port as well I think..

    Who knows, a video of a Sked sitting in France demanding to know WHAT I've purchased might even interest the MSM..."HARD WORKING BRIT SHOPPERS WAYLAIDED AT FRENCH PORTS! ILLEGAL QUESTIONING BY UK CUSTOMS"....the super soakaway Sun has fought in our corner in the past....albeit it in their own inimitable style ie "YOU WOULDN'T GET STOPPED AT CUSTOMS IF YOU HAD TITS LIKE VANESSA'S".

  4. When l was in Zeebrugge there was someone going round asking to see what was in the cars and asked about what had been bought. l can't say wether it was UKBA or not but he spoke very good english if he wasn't a Brit. There were 2 civilians sat in a car away from the rest of us with Brit plates.

  5. Doc, it's an open secret that UKBA sit in unmarked cars noting number plates at the exit off the autosnelweg for Adinkerke-Veurne/Panne.

  6. The UKBA post at the tunnel, Calais end, has recently been changed. You used to book into the terminal then could go to the services/shop area and passed UKBA on the way to the train loading area.
    UKBA are frustratingly (deliberately?) slow and it was quite common to be held up so long you missed the loading (Eurotunnel then put you on the next train, they seem to do their best).
    Now the UKBA booths, bristling with cameras, hardware and barriers, are before you get to the shop. So you can buy whatever quantity you like at the shop. The catch is that it's vastly overpriced.

  7. I wondered what all that hardware was they were putting up last time I went through.
    Maybe it is getting too expensive to pay overseas allowance to the humanoid droids and they are going to replace them with technology.
    Could be interesting if a robot falls in love with your car though ;-)

  8. From what l remember at the Calais ferry border control, we went past the booths and got our passports checked. To the right was a building where certain vehicles were being directed. I don't know if this was the UKBA or not.

  9. Running a bluff like that comes easy to Customs. Most of their routine is based on bluff, and they find that it usually works.

  10. "expensive to pay overseas allowance to the humanoid droids and they are going to replace them with technology."
    But they know who you are anyhow Regular Tripper. Having paid by credit card then as you arrive at the Eurotunnel check-in booth (automatic, uses credit card for ID check) the screen lights up with a welcome message giving your name and vehicle registration number.

  11. SH, A credit card is a bit of plastic that helpfully allows the authorities to know where you are and what you spend, so I use one. I figure it's easier and looks more ordinary to leave a bland unremarkable trail than try to avoid one.

  12. l don't use them Woodsy, don't even have a bank card. :)

  13. "don't even have a bank card. :)"

    Isn't that an offence these days? Like downloading Kiddy porn?

  14. SBC ... you never cease to amaze me with the workings of your mind. :)

  15. XX SBC said...

    "don't even have a bank card. :)"

    Isn't that an offence these days? Like downloading Kiddy porn? XX

    You won't get a Visa for the States if you are guilty of either. So you are probably correct.

  16. Don't know about that Furor. l was in States 2 years ago and had no problem. However l did go into States from Canadian land border and had not flown directly into States.

  17. "SBC ... you never cease to amaze me with the workings of your mind. :)"

    Says the man with a picture of a girl hog tide in a suitcase....

    ...i know people go to great lengths to beat the Ryan Air baggage surcharges but...

  18. *edit 'tied' not 'tide'



    Aha. The witch from Prauge.

    Dyslexic. Turns all her victims into Grofs.

  20. XX Smoking Hot said...

    Don't know about that Furor. l was in States 2 years ago and had no problem. XX

    But I presume you HAVE a credit card.

    The U.S Embassy in Germany, and Berlin, are DEFFINATELY using the rule "No credit card, no visa".

    Not actually phrased as that. Typically for "Government" organs, they use another excuse which has the same effect, and that is "Visa refused. Form not fully completed".

    When the only field with N/A, or similar, is the credit card details. (My office have been informed, through our contacts with the Embassy security, that the lack of card details is indeed the reason, but that is entirely unofficial).

    The same also happens when, as with my own experience, you do not fill in a phone number. They find it impossible to believe that there are people in this world that REFUSE to have a telephone.

  21. No, l actually don't have a credit card or bank card. There is no visa required to visit Canada as a UK Citizen. From there l borrowed a friends car and drove across the US/Canada border via Vermont/Maine crossing on the 201.

    At the border they checked my passport, took an iris scan, issued me with an I-95 and charged me $6. l paid in cash and was on my way.

  22. Didn't need a visa or credit card to get into Koh Kong Cambodia from Thailand either ... just US $ :)


"In the eyes of the Tribunal the review letter contained several preconceptions, prejudgments and non-sequiturs"

"the absurdity of this reason is demonstrated by simply stating it"

"We therefore find that Mr Sked misdirected himself as to the Policy in carrying out the review and his decision is therefore one that no reasonable review officer could have arrived at."

... commonly known here at N2D as 'Skeds' ... that is to say these are Judges comments regarding UKBA Review Officer Ian Sked's reasons for rejecting peoples appeals against seizures.

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