ATA Carnets

What is an ATA Carnet?


An ATA Carnet is an international customs document that provides duty and tax free customs clearance for your temporary exports into foreign countries. ATA Carnets, often referred to as passports for goods, simplify the entry by eliminating the need to post some form of financial guarantee, for example a temporary import bond or bank guarantee. ATA Carnets are recognized in over 100 destinations for virtually all types of goods, whether hand-carried or cargo-shipped.

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The ATA Carnet doesn’t only reduce costs; it also facilitates customs clearance in both the U.S. and foreign countries and is valid on multiple trips for up to one year. It covers a broad range of merchandise including trade show booths, personal computers, satellites, industrial machinery, diagnostic equipment, jewelry, photographic and video equipment, repair tools, live animals, rare gems, vehicles and more. And there are no surprises! ATA Carnet fees are paid prior to your departure so you know the costs before you leave. An added bonus, the ATA Carnet can also be used in place of the U.S. CBP form 4455, Certificate of Registration, which allows you to register your goods with the U.S. CBP when traveling to non-ATA Carnet countries.

Obtaining an ATA Carnet is a quick and easy process; learn how to obtain an ATA Carnet and apply for your ATA Carnet today!

What are the Benefits of an ATA Carnet?

  • Reduces Costs to Exporters: ATA Carnets eliminate value-added taxes (VAT), duties and the posting of some form of security normally required at time of importation.
  • Simplifies Customs Procedures: ATA Carnet is an international harmonized customs document. This means that it is internationally recognized in 100 countries and standardized across all languages. It is one document for all customs transactions.*
  • No Surprises: Most importantly arrangements are made in advance of travel so no unexpected surprises when arriving in the foreign country.
  • U.S. Registration: ATA Carnet acts as a U.S. Customs registration form (CBP 4455), when traveling to non-ATA Carnet countries you can use your ATA Carnet in place of the CBP form 4455 to register your goods for duty free re-importation back into the United States.
  • Unlimited Entries and Departures: ATA Carnets are valid for up to one year and exporters can travel as often as you like to as many ATA Carnet member countries as necessary during that period.
  • Split and Partial Shipments are Possible: Since you don’t have to take all of the merchandise listed on your General List on each trip, one ATA Carnet can cover the needs of several trips for different purposes.

What can go on an ATA Carnet?
ATA Carnets cover virtually all types of merchandise for commercial use, whether it’s ordinary goods used in the course of business or whether it is something unique or exotic, such as a rare piece of art or live animals. Merchandise listed on an ATA Carnet typically fits into one or more of the three categories listed below.

  • Commercial Samples: Any and all items which are temporarily imported for the purpose of demonstration or for the solicitation of orders. Examples might include a heart monitoring system, jewelry, fashion garments, pipes and fittings or goods to be exhibited at a foreign trade show or conference.
  • Professional Equipment: Typically “tools of the trade” and include equipment or goods needed to work while in a foreign country. Examples include equipment for the press or for television; scientific, mining, engineering, electrical, surgical, entertainment and sporting equipment, such as race cars and boats; and exhibition booths used to display merchandise at trade shows.
  • Exhibitions, Fairs, and similar cultural events: Trade, industrial, agricultural or crafts exhibitions, as well as fairs, world events, exhibitions for a charitable purpose or to promote learning, crafts, scientific or cultural activity, or religious knowledge or worship.The ATA Carnet covers temporary exports only; it cannot be used for goods that will be consumed in another country such as handouts or pamphlets, food items, plants or other perishables. Personal cars intended to be driven on public roads cannot go on an ATA Carnet.

*Remember, however, that an ATA Carnet does NOT take the place of Participating Government Agency (PGA) requirements, licenses and permits. U.S. and foreign Government regulations specific to each respective country must be followed for both the export and imports. For full details on additional Participating Government Agency requirements read the ATA Carnet FAQs.

Your ATA Carnet Questions Answered:

What Countries Accept the ATA Carnet?

How to Apply for an ATA Carnet

Destinations Where an ATA Carnet is NOT Accepted

Why Choose to use an ATA Carnet Over the Other Options?

Who is Authorized to Present the ATA Carnet to Customs for Clearance?

Who Are the Parties to the ATA Carnet?

What Qualifies as an ATA Carnet Shipment?

How Long is an ATA Carnet Valid For?

How Does the ATA Carnet Work?

How Much Does an ATA Carnet Cost?

How to Use an ATA Carnet

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