ATA Carnet FAQ

ATA Carnet will Take Your Show on the Road


If you are in the entertainment industry, in advertising, or doing product sales where occasionally you have to “take your show on the road”, go on location to another country, it can be quite expensive taking the very necessary tools of your trade with you, and then equally expensive to bring them back. Let us simplify this process for you! You can have a “passport” for products, equipment or goods that will go on location with you, as long as every item listed goes out and returns in the same condition. Example: film cannot go on a carnet, as it is raw film stock when it leaves the country, and exposed film upon its return. This passport is called a duty-free ATA carnet.

What is an ATA carnet?
According to the United States Council for International Business, “The ATA Carnet is an international Customs document that a traveler may use temporarily to import certain goods into a country without having to engage in the Customs formalities usually required for the importation of goods, and without having to pay duty or value-added taxes on the goods.” It is commonly used for the temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment and even certain advertising materials by a nonresident individual.

“ATA” stands for the combined French and English words “Admission Temporaire-Temporary Admission.” Carnets offer assurance to participating countries to accept as a guarantee of payment for any Customs duties that may become due on goods temporarily imported under a carnet and not exported as required.

What can be moved on an ATA carnet?

“Commercial samples, professional equipment and advertising material can be imported into the United States by a nonresident.” This can include things like computers, tools, cameras and video equipment, industrial machinery, automobiles, gems and jewelry, and wearing apparel, that is not for sale or resale, but for temporary display or demonstration, and will only be in that country for a limited time.

There are other items that may be covered by an ATA carnet. Extraordinary items, like, treasures from King Tut’s tomb, animal actors, great works of art, musical instruments for the London Symphony Orchestra, or the equipment required for Rihanna when she goes on a world tour.

How long is an ATA carnet valid?

An ATA carnet is valid for one year from the date it is issued. Merchandise listed on an ATA carnet can be imported to and exported from any of the member countries as many times as needed during the one-year life of the carnet.

What would not be covered by an ATA carnet?

Items intended for sale or sale on approval cannot be entered on a carnet. Neither can, as sited before, film, which will return in a condition other than that in which it departed the country.

Where can I find out more about the ATA carnet?

Well, you can contact the U.S. Customs Service, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20229. Attn: Office of Trade Programs, (202) 927-0300, or, make it easy on yourself! Contact the experts at Paciair Airfreight Inc.!

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