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What is a Carnet?

Carnet Definition

A Carnet or ATA Carnet (pronounced kar-nay) is a temporary passport for goods.  It is used to clear customs in 86 countries without paying duty and import tax on goods that will be re-exported within 12 months*.

Types of Carnets

In the U.K. there are two types of carnets issued: ATA and EC/CPD/China-Taiwan carnets.  ATA Carnets are used for the 86 countries that are members of the carnet scheme. EC/CPD/China-Taiwan carnets are used for temporary exports to Taiwan which only accepts the EC/CPD/China-Taiwan carnet.

What do Carnets Allow you to do?

Carnets facilitate temporary exports to foreign countries and re-importation into the U.K. By presenting an ATA Carnet document to foreign customs, your goods travel duty free and import tax free into a carnet country for up to one year.

What Goods are Covered by Carnets?

Most goods can be listed on a Carnet.  Virtually all types of goods and equipment can be transported under the ATA Carnet:

  • Commercial Samples
  • Professional Equipment (Tools of the Trade)
  • Goods for Fairs & Exhibitions (limited to 6 months)

See the complete list of Goods categories covered by Carnets here.

What Goods are NOT Covered by Carnets?

Perishable and consumable items (such as food, seeds, fertiliser, pesticides), explosives, disposable items and goods sent by post cannot travel under an ATA Carnet.

What Countries Accept/Use Carnets?

There are 86 countries that accept carnets. See a complete list of Carnet countries here.

How Long is a Carnet Valid for?

A carnet is valid for up to 1 year from its date of issue except for Exhibitions and Fairs which is valid for 6 months from the date of issue.* Known exceptions to these validity periods are:

  • Korea

  • Malaysia

  • Mexico

  • Singapore

A U.K. or foreign customs officer always has the right to limit the validity period on a carnet upon inspection although to do so is highly unusual.

The carnet can be used multiple times and in multiple countries during the period of validity. Split shipments are allowed however items cannot be added to the General List once the carnet is issued.

*Note that China only belongs to the Exhibitions & Fairs convention and therefore all carnets into China are limited to 6 months.

Can a Carnet be Extended?

Technically, a carnet cannot be extended beyond the expiration date. However, in some instances foreign customs may allow a replacement carnet to be issued to extend the time the goods are in the carnet country. In all cases, the replacement carnet must be applied for prior to the expiration of the original carnet.

How Can I Obtain a Carnet?

A carnet can be issued and delivered to an applicant within 1 day, if the application is complete and approved by 16:00. Same day service is available for an additional charge. Obtaining a carnet takes 4, simple steps:

What Does a Carnet Document Look Like?

Please see a Sample Carnet Document here

How Can I Get More Information About Carnets?

To get more information about Carnets please call the Carnet HelpLine® at 0-808-189-3400, see the LinkedIn ATA Carnet User & Discussion Group, or email us.