What is an ATA Carnet and do I need one to take goods into the EU?


An ATA Carnet acts as a 'passport for goods’, simplifying the customs process and replacing all the usual customs documents for temporarily exporting goods. By using an ATA Carnet you will get duty-free and tax-free transportation of professional equipment, commercial samples and other goods that need to be transported to a country temporarily and then imported again. This is an essential and useful document if you are temporarily moving goods for purposes such as trade shows, music tours, film and TV productions and so on.

ATA Carnets were not previously needed for UK businesses travelling into other EU countries, but since 1st January 2021 and the end of the Brexit transition period, firms can choose to use an ATA Carnet when transporting goods temporarily into EU countries or transferring them through the EU to non-EU or other countries. Using an ATA Carnet will enable your goods to move duty free and avoid delays and extra costs at the border. You can check which countries accept ATA Carnets here

Once produced, an ATA Carnet is valid for 12 months and can be used for multiple trips. Whilst it may be a new thing for some UK exporters, the procedure is well established in Europe and once within the single market, you can travel freely to all 27 EU countries on the same carnet, as well as to other Countries in the Carnet scheme.

You can find out more about how to use an ATA Carnet here and we’ve answered some FAQs:

What information is needed for an ATA Carnet?

Apart from your company details the most important part of a Carnet is the List of Goods, which should be as comprehensive as possible and contain such things as serial numbers for electrical items. This will enable Customs to readily identify the items and make everything more efficient. 

Can I sell goods declared on a Carnet?

No.  All goods on a Carnet will need to be brought back into the country and failure to do could result in a fine being imposed by the overseas authorities.

Can I extend the time a Carnet is valid?

You can’t extend the validity of a Carnet unless the Overseas Customs authorities give you prior approval to do so.  You would have to re-import the goods to the UK and apply for a new Carnet  which involves a new set of forms and a new fee.

What happens if I lose my Carnet?

You can obtain a substitute Carnet which will have the same details as the original, but a repeat fee and security will apply.  

Can I add extra items to the Carnet list?

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

What value do I quote on the form?

Value shown must reflect the current fair market value in the UK.

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

No, you don’t have to be a Chamber member, but fees are discounted if you are. 

What countries can a Carnet be used for?

Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Australia (includes Tasmania), Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Canary Islands, Chile, China, Cote d'Ivoire, Faroe Islands, French overseas territories (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane and Reunion, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna Islands, and French Polynesia (includes Tahiti), St Barthelemy, St Martin, Mayotte, Saint Pierre et Miquelon), Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Republic of, Lebanon, Macao, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malaysia (includes Kuala Lumpur, Sabah and Sarawak), Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa (includes Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho), Spanish overseas territories (Ceuta and Melilla), Sri Lanka, Switzerland (includes Liechtenstein), Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, USA (includes Puerto Rico and Saipan).

Carnets can now also be used for all EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden


At Business West, our International Trade team provide a bespoke service including simplification of customs procedures and completion of all Carnet vouchers. Find out more here.