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Don't try to sneak an Apple Vision Pro into Germany, the import cops will nab you

Be careful travelling with an Apple Vision Pro

Last updated

Germans trying to bring Apple Vision Pro into their country without realizing they have to pay import tax are facing fees, fines, and even the confiscation of their devices.

Apple may be launching the Apple Vision Pro internationally soon — and perhaps China very shortly — but for now it is solely available in the US, and that's proving to be a problem.

Some international users have decided not to wait and instead have flown to the States to be one of the first to own an Apple Vision Pro. Unfortunately, some who then returned home to Germany have subsequently been stopped by customs authorities.

According to local publication Heise Online, Berlin airport customs officials say that around eight people have been stopped in the last few days. Businesses who try to manually import the headset this way are required to register in advance, while individuals can declare it on arrival.

They have to declare it, though, by going through the airport's red zone, the "something to declare" route. They must then present both the device and the invoice for it.

What happens then is complex because according to Heise Online, these travellers easily exceeded the regular customs duty exemption of 430 Euros ($463) — yet the publication also says that Germany does not impose custom duties for computers.

Nonetheless, the device has to be declared because failure to do means risking criminal tax proceedings. What's reportedly happened to at least some of the travellers stopped at Berlin Airport is that their device has been confiscated.

The confiscated Apple Vision Pro, and potentially any accessories, should ultimately be returned. But reportedly, based on the current speed of processing such issues in Germany, the users who wanted to be early adopters may find themselves having to wait an entire year before their Apple Vision Pro is returned to them.

International import duties are always complex, but they are not helped by how different countries enforce their laws. The UK's Post Office, for instance, has been known to impose duty on goods that are exempt, and refusing to even discuss it.

Consequently, buyers should be wary of any method of importing a costly item like the Apple Vision Pro — whether that's in person, or through online orders, with eBay.