ATA Carnets

What is an ATA Carnet?

An ATA Carnet, often referred to simply as a Carnet (pronounced “Car-Nay”), is an international customs document used for the temporary importation of goods into a foreign country without having to pay duties or taxes. The term “ATA” stands for “Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission” in French. It is often easier to think of it as a “Passport for Goods”

Here’s how it works:

  1. Purpose: ATA Carnets are primarily used by businesses and individuals who frequently travel internationally for trade shows, exhibitions, or other temporary business purposes. They facilitate the temporary importation of goods into a foreign country for display, demonstration, or use without the need to pay customs duties or taxes.
  2. Coverage: ATA Carnets cover various types of goods, including commercial samples, professional equipment, and goods for exhibitions or fairs. However, certain types of goods, such as perishable items or consumables, may not be eligible for coverage under the Carnet.
  3. Validity: ATA Carnets are typically valid for one year from the date of issue, and they allow multiple entries into different countries during that period. Each entry is typically limited to a specified duration, often up to one year, but this can vary depending on the regulations of the destination country.
  4. Issuance: ATA Carnets are issued by national chambers of commerce or other authorized organizations in participating countries. To obtain a Carnet, the holder must provide detailed information about the goods to be temporarily exported, including their value and description.
  5. Customs Procedures: When traveling with goods covered by an ATA Carnet, the holder presents the Carnet to customs authorities upon entry into each country. The goods are then temporarily admitted into the country without the need to pay duties or taxes. The holder must comply with the conditions outlined in the Carnet and ensure that the goods are re-exported within the specified timeframe.
  6. Guarantee: The holder of an ATA Carnet may be required to provide a security deposit or a guarantee from a bank or insurance company to cover potential customs duties or taxes in case the goods are not re-exported as required.
  7. Benefits: ATA Carnets offer several benefits, including simplifying customs procedures, reducing administrative burdens, and facilitating international trade by providing a cost-effective and efficient way to temporarily import goods for business purposes.

Overall, ATA Carnets serve as valuable tools for businesses and individuals engaged in international trade by streamlining the process of temporarily importing goods across borders for various business purposes.

What can be covered under a Carnet?

Almost any type of goods can be covered by an ATA Carnet, including:

  • Commercial Samples
  • Professional Equipment
  • Items for Trade Shows / Exhibitions
  • Cars (these require a different type of Carnet)
  • Horses (yes, really!)

What CAN’T be covered under a Carnet?

  • Consumables (toner, paper, etc.)
  • Disposable Goods (wipes, masks, etc.)
  • Single Use “Tools” (tape, cable-ties, etc.)
  • Giveaways (plushies, USB keys, etc.)

How long does it take?

The short answer is, “it depends!”

There are a variety of factors to take into account:

  • The number of items on the “General List”
  • The complexity of the list (items in flightcases, multiple serial numbers, etc.)
  • Mistakes on the list (incorrect number of serial numbers, inaccurate descriptions, etc.)
  • How busy the Chamber of Commerce are at the time

Generally speaking, the more information you provide us with, and the better-formatted it is, the quicker we can turn your Carnet around. We have been able to turn Carnets around in under 2 days, but generally speaking you should allow a week or two before the goods need to leave the UK.

Why should you use Handdels to obtain your Carnet?

  • We have over 50 years combined experience of collating and formatting Carnet gerneral lists.
  • We offer a friendly, personal service (where you can actually talk to someone!)
  • Our staff have background training in a variety of industries, including events and IT, which positions us ideally to assist with complex queries
  • Whilst we have no control over the Carnet “bond” amount (which is linked to the value of the goods and the destination country), our fees for assisting and completing the Carnet general list are fixed, which allows you to estimate your costs with reasonable accuracy.