ATA Carnets FAQs

What is a Carnet and why might I need one?

A Carnet is the simplest duty-free and tax-free method of exporting goods on a temporary basis. 

Carnets are like passports for goods replacing normal Customs documentation enabling fast trouble free importation into countries belonging to the scheme (see the back cover of your Carnet for a full list of participating countries) without having to pay duty/tax. It can be used for multiple trips, is valid for one year and covers over 70 countries.

There are three main categories of Community status goods:

  • commercial samples (the Carnet is a commercial document, and as such values shown must reflect the current retail value in the UK) 

  • goods for presentation or use at trade fairs, shows, exhibitions or similar events  

  • professional equipment (which is solely for use by, or under the personal supervision of the holder or his nominated representative)  

Do I have to be a member of the Chamber to obtain a Carnet?

No.  But fees for members are heavily discounted.

Can I sell goods declared on a Carnet?

No.  You sign an Undertaking with us to undertake to bring the goods back to the EC and failure to do could result in a fine being imposed by the overseas authorities.

Can I put consumable goods on a Carnet?

No. Everything on a Carnet must be returned to the EU.

What information do you require?

Apart from your company details the most important part of a Carnet is the List of Goods, which should be comprehensive and contain as much information for Customs that will enable them to readily identify the items.  Marks and numbers, where they exist, are mandatory.  Serial numbers must be quoted on electrical goods.

Completion instructions

We recommend that you fax or email a copy of your list through to a member of the International Department team for checking before completing the forms. Fax: 01274 771587 or via email.

Click here to download completion instructions.

Are there any customs prohibitions and resrictions?

The use of an ATA Carnet rather than Customs documentation makes no difference to the need to meet Customs requirements for restricted and prohibited goods nor does it remove the requirements of licensing controls.  Information regarding prohibited and restricted goods can be found in the Tariff, Volume 1, Parts 3 and 4.  For information on export licensing please contact The DTI Licensing Unit on 020 7215 8070.

Can I get 'Extra Vouchers'?

Yes.  Additional vouchers can be obtained from the issuing office.  Extra fees will apply.

Can I extend the validity of a Carnet? (Replacements)

No.  But you can obtain a replacement Carnet which requires that you complete a new set of forms together with a new fee and security.  You are however advised to obtain written confirmation (at least a month before the expiry date of the Carnet) of the conditions under which foreign customs will accept a replacement Carnet.

What happens if I lose my Carnet? (Substitute)

You can obtain a substitute Carnet which will have the same details as the original, once again a repeat fee and security will apply.  Alternatively, the goods covered by the lost or stolen Carnet may be entered to temporary importation.

Can I add extra items to the Carnet list?

No.  Once a Carnet has been issued no extra items can be added to the list of goods.

What happens if my goods are lost or stolen?

If goods covered by a Carnet are lost or stolen, the matter should be immediately reported to the Customs authorities in the country where the loss occurred.  A police report should also be obtained for insurance purposes.

Can my goods be destroyed under Custom control?

Some countries that are party to the ATA Convention may allow goods to be destroyed under Customs control.  This means that goods not returning to the UK can still result in a regularised Carnet.

Can the forms be e-mailed or faxed to me?

No.  The forms must be submitted in hardcopy or completed by the International Department.

Do I have to send the forms to you for authorisation?

Yes.  We must endorse and sign the Carnet and this process takes 24 hours on the standard service and 2 hours on the express service.  Allow extra time for completions.  Customs will also endorse the Carnet on departure.

Why do I have to provide security?

The Carnet provides a guarantee to the Customs of a foreign country into which the goods are temporarily imported that all duties, taxes etc will be paid to them if the Carnet conditions are breached.

What value do I quote?

The Carnet is a commercial document and as such values shown must reflect the current fair market value in the UK.

Can I appoint somebody to present the Carnet to Customs on my behalf?

A Carnet may be issued in the name of an individual or a company who must be permanently resident in the United Kingdom.  However, it may be used by any person providing the user carries a letter from the named holder authorising such use.  The holder may also allow an Agent to present the Carnet to Customs on his behalf, again provided that the Agent holds a Letter of Authority. Box B (Name of accredited person(s) who will use the Carnet) on the Green Front cover and the coloured vouchers would then contain the statement: "Any authorised representative".

HM Revenue & Customs has introduced various inland sites to take the pressure away from the ports. These sites can process ATA Carnets, CITES, TIR and CTC documentation.

Click here for the up to date list of sites.

HGV traffic will have to use the following service.


For further details telephone one of our specialists on +44 (0)7827 318692 or via email.

Chamber International - ATA Carnet

   Telephone 0845 034 7200 or email