A chamber group I play with wants to do some concerts in Europe. Has anyone taken their harp there or have any suggestions? It’s an independent group so there isn’t an organization funding the trip or anything like that.
You’d better check with the consulate of each country you’re going to be in to see what documentation you need to get the harp into that country. Maybe just checking with the EC rules will take care of it. Most countries and the EC are going to assume you’re bringing the harp into the country to sell it, and they want to be sure they get their taxes and tariffs up front. So you either have to buy a bond from an American company that proves that they will get paid if you sell the harp in the country, or you have to pay a huge percentage of the value of the harp when entering the country. And good luck getting any of it back if you don’t sell the harp. They make it as difficult as possible to get a refund. You’re much better off trying to arrange to use a harp already in Europe.
A paper from Customs is not enough. That simply means that the harp originated from the United States for example. The country you are trying to bring the harp into needs either a bond, which you buy from a broker before leaving your country, or you have to give customs of the country your are visiting all of the money that you would have to pay if you sold the instrument in that country. You then have to prove that the harp is leaving that country(at the time it leaves) and apply to get the money you paid back. And you will probably have to wait a year or more to get the money. Some countries require you give customs 100% of the value of the instrument to enter the country!
If you want to read more about the problems of traveling around the world with a harp, go to my company web site, http://www.swansonharp.com, click on the ‘articles’ page, and read the article, Traveling with the New York Harp Ensemble. That will give you an idea of what you’re in for.
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