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Taking Care of Business
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Old January 25th, 2008, 10:08 AM   #1
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Working Internationally

Sorry if this has been asked before but after a bit of searching I haven't been able to find the answer.

I'm in Vancouver, Canada and I've been asked to do a few jobs internationally (US, Zambia & England). Without having to travel as a 'tourist' and shipping my equipment over, what's the legal way to go about doing this? What type of special documentation do I need to be able to work on a job (for about a week) in the States or elsewhere?

Thanks a lot for any help you can give me!
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Old January 30th, 2008, 12:15 PM   #2
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Has no one ever come across this problem?
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Old January 30th, 2008, 12:25 PM   #3
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the question is so broad that it's not clear what you're asking. these issues can vary from nation to nation. and the issues that need to be addressed depend on what kind of work you're doing, and where, even within those nations.

if you're asking about travel to England, for example, you need to know that Heathrow is very strict about size and number (one only) of carry-on luggage. US allows two.

permits vary from nation to nation, too, if you're even asking about permits.

you need to add some specifics to this line of questioning...
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Old January 30th, 2008, 12:32 PM   #4
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Sure thing.
Well, to be as specific as I can be. I've been hired a few times to fly to california or hawaii to do some filming for websites ads. Most of it is scenic landscape shots with the occasional interview thrown in there too. I also fly direct from Vancouver to the other locations.
Right now I've only been shooting in Canada & the States but in May I'll be heading off to Zambia, Africa for a 3 week shoot as well.
And 'yes' I am asking about permits. What do I need to shoot in other countries (specifically the states) and do I need something else to enter the states (documents for customs)?

Thanks!
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Old January 30th, 2008, 12:48 PM   #5
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here's a good place to start these sorts of researches...

http://www.atacarnet.com/

i've never been to africa, but in the states, you need permits to shoot in some of the major parks (yellowstone springs to mind), but it's extremely variable about how the permitting is enforced.

there are many spots around the world that require permits if you're shooting with a tripod, true in yellowstone park, true in tulum, mexico. but not true here locally, in Colorado, where i shoot with tripods in relative peace in state- and federally-owned lands.

there are others who have traveled to africa who may be able to weigh in. there's been a bunch of people, do an "africa" search....

but my own sense with world traveling is that you need to research the specifics of your own locations before you go. either that or go guerrilla and hope for the best. i've done that. then again, i was thrown out of a park once for shooting with a discreet $35 plastic tripod....still have the footage, though. rules are rules, i guess.

p.s. i don't recommend getting tossed from a park in a language you don't speak, not much fun there....
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Old January 30th, 2008, 01:22 PM   #6
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Depending on the country you may also need a work permit or visa. In the States, AFAIK, if you're working for and being paid by an American company you would need a green card to be legal. OTOH, if you were working for and being paid by a Canadian company, you'd need one of the business visitor visas. But I might be wrong - the safest thing to do is contact the embassy or consulates of the countries you're traveling to, explain the nature of the gig and who is paying the bills, and ask about the regulations that you must comply with.
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Old January 30th, 2008, 02:31 PM   #7
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That's great. Thanks for the info Steve. I'll call the US embassy and find out what I would need to do.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 10:58 PM   #8
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I worked in South Africa for 6 weeks back in '05 on a tours. visa we had a carnet for the gear so we didn't hide what we were doing. We've only used Carnet's twice I'm finding a lot of countries don't know what to do with them (carnet) I was in Spain Oct '07 and the customs folks spent 20 mins looking at it trying to figure it out. Actually Canada is one of the more strict countries to work in. I shot an outdoor show up there and the production company filled out a bunch of paperwork for us to get in. Brazil we got in on a tours' visa, Costa Rica the same. Mexico you need to get a work visa if you go into the interior, at least we did. It took a trip to the consulate in San Antonio (of course I live in SA) for a work visa. Of course have crossed the border (stayed within the 30K check point) doing stories in Nuevo Larado and Matamoras -several times with nothing but our drivers lic. Brazil I had to send my passport to the consulates office in Houston to get a visa. Mozambique had to send my passport to their consulates office in Wash DC and they give you a Visa. Most of the time the production company will help you with the details. Of the prev mentioned countries had no problems getting in or out. I hear that the further North in Africa you go -traveling gets harder
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Old February 1st, 2008, 11:19 PM   #9
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As far as permits we never got one shooting around Cape Town and we were shooting Beta SP (Sony 600). In Mozambique I used a Cannon L2 the only time I had to stop shooting was near the border (we drove from South Africa) at a bank where we were exchanging money. I saw a woman and small child walking down the road (the woman had firewood on her head) I started shooting and a guy in uniform with a AK 47 started protesting I imme'ly backed off and put the camera away and moved away. Our South African guide told me the guard thought I was taking pictures of the Bank. Otherwise we've shot without any hassle. I find it helps to always have a local guide that speaks the lang. and knows the customs of the country to help you out. Most of all have an open mind leave our American 'tude at home. Also don't let anything surprise you be aware of your surroundings. You'll have a great time and shoot some cool stuff.
Good luck
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