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Answers To Your ATA Carnet Questions!ATA Carnet Frequently Asked Questions

Whether this is the first time you need to obtain an ATA carnet,
or you are experienced with the process, we know how
confusing it can be…

Below we have compiled a list of our most frequently asked
questions regarding ATA carnets – if you can’t find the answer
you are looking for then contact us – we will we happy to help!


1) What is an ATA carnet and why would I need one?

An ATA carnet is also referred to as a carnet, and the terms are often used interchangeably.  The ATA carnet is an international Customs document which allows the temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment, or goods to be shown at an international trade fair/exhibition, into countries which belong to the ATA carnet scheme. For a list of countries, click here. Using an ATA carnet means that you will be able to get your goods out of, and back into the UK with no problems, and into and out of the countries that you are visiting without putting up a temporary import bond.

3) For how long is an ATA carnet valid?

The ATA carnet is valid for one year. However, a foreign Customs authority may set a time limit for the re-export of your items, and it is vital that you adhere to this time limit. In all cases, the goods must be stamped back into the EU by the carnet’s expiry date.

4) Can I have an ata carnet issued for a year with multiple visits, even if I am not sure what ata carnet countries I might be going to?

Yes, you can have a carnet issued with enough vouchers for 12 visits. We can discuss with you the most cost effective way for you to apply for your yearly ‘worldwide’ carnet.

5) How long does it take you to prepare a carnet for me?

The London Chamber offers a standard (24 hour turnaround) issuing service, or an express service (which incurs extra charges). To have your carnet issued on the standard 24 hour service, we will require your kit list by 1pm. However, always call us if you are having difficulties getting your information together in time as we will do all we can to have your carnet issued on the standard service, so that you do not incur the additional fees for the fast service. Please note that very long carnet lists may need extra time to prepare.

6) How much will my carnet cost?

Please Click Here and complete the form to request a quote. The Chamber’s fees are fixed but we will match any written quote for ATA carnet preparation or guarantee premiums.

7) What information do you require from me in order to prepare my carnet?

Other than your company details and itinerary, the most important part of a carnet is the list of goods. Click Here to see exactly what information we need, depending on the type of goods you are taking, there are a number of different ATA carnet categories.

9) Can I add items to, or remove items from a carnet once it has been issued?

The London Chamber will not allow items to be added to a carnet once it has been issued. However you do not have to take every item that is listed. You just have to make Customs aware as you go through that you do not have every item with you.

10) Can I sell items off a carnet?

A carnet is strictly for temporary import into a foreign country. However in some circumstances foreign Customs may grant permission for items to be sold. Any duty or taxes that are applicable must be paid to Customs, and you must obtain a duty paid receipt that refers to the carnet number. The re-export counterfoil must be endorsed by Customs with the duty paid receipt number, and a with a note that the items have been sold. When you return the carnet to us we will also require the original duty paid receipt.

11) What happens if goods remain in a country because they were lost or stolen?

Customs are entitled to levy duty if goods remain in their country, no matter what the reason. If your goods are stolen, please obtain a police report and send it to us when you return the carnet to us.

12) Can I bring goods back at different times (split between different trips)?

This is referred to as a split re-export, in other words you return some good to the EU, and leave some behind in the foreign country to be returned at a later date.  And the answer is Yes, but you must advise us when you first apply for the carnet that this is what you wish to do, so that we can ensure you have enough vouchers in the carnet. The goods which are coming back first will be re-exported from the foreign country and re-imported into the EU on the carnet, and then you must send the carnet back out to the foreign country so that it can be used to bring back the remaining goods.

14) Does it matter if I do not make all the trips that I originally applied for?

No – a carnet can be returned with unused vouchers in it.

15) Can I start my trip from an EU country other than the UK?

If your goods belong in the UK, but just happen to be in another EU country at the time that you want the carnet to start, we can still issue a carnet for you. However you must check first with Customs in the EU country that they will be prepared to certify the front cover of the carnet.

16) Can I put consumable goods on a carnet?

No – everything that is listed must be returned to the UK in its entirety, in the same state in which it went out.

17) Why does a carnet have to have a guarantee put up against it?

If any of your items remain in a foreign country, or overstay a time limit set down by Customs, or overstay the expiry date of the carnet, foreign Customs are entitled to levy import duties / taxes, and you are liable for these. The carnet provides a guarantee to the foreign Customs that these charges will be paid. So the London Chamber needs to have a security against each carnet which they can use in the event of the holder of the carnet refusing to pay. Our clients can use the continuing guarantee that we have already set up with the Chamber, at a very competitively priced premium. Click Here to find out more about the guarantee, and how we can help you to arrange your own guarantee on the rare occasions that a carnet cannot be put in our company name.

18) What happens if I lose my carnet?

You can have a substitute carnet issued. Click Here to find out how to apply for a substitute carnet.

19) Can the year’s validity be extended?

No, but sometimes a foreign Customs authority will agree to a replacement carnet being issued, which will allow you to leave the goods in the foreign country after the expiry date of the original carnet. Click Here to find out how a replacement carnet works.

Click Here to Apply for an ATA carnet or Request a Quote