Unsure about customs laws? There's an app for that

Tue May 18, 2010 2:25pm EDT
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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch authorities have embraced smartphone technology in a bid to make going through customs easier by releasing an application that tells travelers what they are not allowed to take with them.

Branded the "OK app," the software for smart mobile phone devices allows travelers to check the rules on what they cannot bring through customs, including counterfeit goods and endangered plants and animals.

The smartphone application, said to be the first released by a Dutch government body, also offers other travel information that may come in handy such as currency conversion and shoe sizes.

Seizing on the popularity of smart gadgets, more and more organizations, from travel companies to drug firms, are releasing apps as they seek to promote their services.

A spokeswoman for the Dutch customs office said travelers can select the country they are traveling to and the application will detail what items may or may not be taken with them, allowing passengers to "self-scan" their luggage.

She said the currency conversion feature helps travelers work out what value of purchased goods they can take back to the Netherlands before having to pay sales tax and import duties.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis and Aaron Gray-Block; editing by Tim Pearce)

<p>A customs officer checks passports at the Horgos crossing at the Serbia-Hungary border, some 180km (111miles) north of Belgrade December 19, 2009. REUTERS/Djordje Kojadinovic</p>