ATA and CPD carnets

Using ATA carnets when exporting from the UK

The following definitions apply when using ATA carnets in the UK or European Union (EU):

  • export - used when the goods leave the country where the carnet is issued
  • import - used when goods arrive in the country where temporary admission will be claimed
  • re-importation - describes the return of goods to the country where the carnet was issued
  • re-exportation - describes the movement of goods out of a country into which they had previously been temporarily imported under the carnet

Geographical applicability

Seventy six countries recognise ATA carnets. You can only use an ATA carnet if it is recognised in the destination countries, as well as any country through which the goods will transit where the carnet is used for transit purposes. If goods are in transit or are temporarily brought into a non-ATA signatories country, then normal import, re-export or transit procedures apply. Taiwan is covered by bilateral agreements between Taiwan and certain countries (including EU countries) that are contracting parties to the ATA Carnet or Istanbul Conventions. A CPD/China-Taiwan carnet is used, this has a different coloured front cover and vouchers to those on an ATA carnet but the conditions for its use are exactly the same.  Read a list of countries in which ATA carnets are valid in Notice 104.

Temporary exports from the EU

Goods which are covered by a UK issued ATA carnet and leave the UK for a non-EU country, must have the carnet and the goods presented when the goods leave the UK. Customs officers will:

  • check and certify the green cover
  • check, endorse and remove the yellow exportation voucher
  • complete and stamp the yellow counterfoil if you are leaving the EU from the UK (ie travelling directly to a third country)
  • return the carnet to you

If the ATA carnet is issued in another EU country it should be presented to customs in that country before the goods first leave that country.

For an explanation of the different colour vouchers, see what are ATA carnets.

Because there may be no officers in attendance at your port or airport of departure at the time you leave the UK, you must contact the HMRC Excise & Customs Helpline on Tel 0300 200 3700 before leaving the UK to check the availability of officers at your point of departure.

Re-importations to the EU

When you return with the goods to the EU, you present the carnet and goods to customs at the port or airport of arrival. Customs will check and endorse the yellow re-importation voucher and stamp the matching counterfoil. The yellow voucher will be removed and the Carnet returned to you.

If you re-import direct to the UK from a non-EU country and the goods are included in a passenger's baggage, the carnet must be presented at the red point or red channel. If the goods are travelling as freight, they may need to be included on a Customs Clearance Request (form C21) quoting CPC 00 09 020. The carnet must still be presented to a customs official at the place of arrival.

Goods permitted under an ATA carnet

The goods you are allowed to export from the EU to a country under an ATA carnet are those permitted by the destination country. This varies from country to country. Read more about goods admissible into the UK on an ATA carnet.