ATA and CPD carnets

What are ATA carnets

The ATA carnet is an international customs document provided for under the ATA Carnet Convention and the Istanbul Convention. It simplifies customs procedures where the goods to be used are temporarily imported or exported between countries that are contracting parties to either convention. An international chain for the issue and guaranteeing of carnets means that you do not need to lodge securities in each and every country through which goods pass. ATA carnets also help to ensure that you don't have to pay duties on your goods when you bring your goods back home.

ATA carnets:

  • may be used for goods being temporarily imported for use in countries which are signatories of the ATA Carnet Convention or the Istanbul Convention
  • may be used for goods accompanied by the holder named on the carnet - or a representative of the holder who is named on the carnet
  • are a physical multi-part document, not an electronic declaration
  • need to be presented every time goods are exported/re-exported, imported/reimported or transited through a country

Find out how to apply for an ATA carnet.

What goods are covered by an ATA carnet?

In general, ATA carnets cover:

  • samples
  • publicity materials
  • goods temporarily imported for display or use at trade shows, exhibitions, fairs or meetings
  • recorded film and media
  • professional equipment that you might need for your work, eg cameras, laptops and sound equipment
  • goods imported in connection with a manufacturing operation
  • instruments, apparatus or machines made available by a supplier pending delivery or repair of similar equipment
  • goods for educational, scientific or cultural purposes
  • personal effects and sports goods

Carnets do not cover consumable goods (such as food and agricultural products), disposable items, explosives or fireworks, or postal traffic.

However, the types of goods that may be covered by ATA carnets varies between contracting countries, so the carnet issuer should always be consulted before applying.

Read more about goods admissible into the UK on an ATA carnet.

ATA carnet format

The ATA carnet consists of a cover and vouchers. You need to ensure you obtain enough vouchers for the intended journey when you request the carnet. The cover and vouchers are divided using the following colours:

  • green - the cover sheet identifies the holder, any representative of the holder, the intended use of the goods and descriptions of the goods covered
  • yellow - used to export and re-import the goods
  • white - used to import and subsequently re-export the goods
  • blue - optional blue vouchers are used when the goods transit through a country en route to a final destination

How long is a carnet valid?

A carnet is normally valid for one year and its period of validity cannot be changed. If you need to extend the length of time you can use the goods, you will need to apply for a replacement carnet before the original carnet expires.

However, not all issuing associations will issue replacement carnets, and not all countries accept them. Before requesting a replacement ATA Carnet please check with the relevant Customs authorities that this will be allowed. For the UK this is the National ATA Carnet Unit:

Tel 0300 322 7064

If you cannot obtain a replacement carnet, the goods must be re-exported or, where permitted, declared to another customs procedure before the carnet expires. For detailed advice, contact the carnet-issuing association.