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Ata carnets temporary imports and exports There are some goods which are exported outside the eu

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Temporary imports and exports

There are some goods which are exported outside the EU with the express intention of bringing them back to the UK, perhaps following an exhibition, lecture tour or theatrical performance.

ATA carnets could be used to temporarily export such goods. The ATA carnet replaces normal Customs documents required at export and subsequent re-import. Goods being temporarily moved within the EU for these purposes require no additional documentation.

Note that ATA carnets may not be used to cover perishable or consumable items or goods for processing or repair.

The ATA carnet - for goods

The initials 'ATA' are an acronym of the French and English words Admission Temporaire (Temporary Admission). The carnet replaces normal import and export procedures for qualifying goods moving between countries which are parties to the ATA scheme. The document is issued by certain chambers of commerce in the UK as agents for the International Chamber of Commerce based in Paris (see ). Information on the nearest carnet issuing office can be obtained from the local chamber or by telephoning the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), on 020 7248 4444 or 020 7203 1843 and asking for the carnet department (see ). Carnets may also be ordered online. The carnet requires a security to be lodged by means of a cash deposit, a bank guarantee or indemnity scheme. The issuing chamber also makes a charge for the issue of the document based on a two level tariff depending on whether or not the user is a chamber member. A guide price is around £230+VAT for non-chamber members.

In addition to member states of the EU, the following countries are parties to the ATA carnet scheme.
Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Canary Islands (Spain), Chile, China (E), Croatia, Cote D’Ivoire, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Korea, Lebanon (E & P), Lichtenstein, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco (E), New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan (E & P), Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia (E & P), Turkey, Ukraine, USA.
(E) = Exhibitions only - (P) = Professional equipment only
Goods that may be covered under an ATA carnet when temporarily imported into or transiting the UK, are summarised in Customs Notice 104 and include such items as commercial samples, goods for international exhibition, and articles to be used in connection with meetings involving learning, art, craft, sport and religion.

Also included is equipment for the press, sound and television broadcasting, musical instruments, costumes, scenery and other stage properties as well as cinematographic equipment, professional equipment for testing, maintaining or repairing machinery.

The list of qualifying goods varies from country to country. An application form must be completed for each carnet applied for and returned to the chamber with the necessary fee. The list of goods to be covered by the carnet must be typed in the space provided on the General List and repeated on the backs of the coloured vouchers, with a spare copy for the records of the issuing chamber, If the list is too long it must be typed separately on plain paper, but it must be prepared in the same format as the General List on the carnet. The carnet is in loose leaf form and will consist of:

  • green – cover

  • white - import and re-export vouchers for each country in which the goods are to be used

  • blue - transit vouchers - two for each country transited which the goods will travel without

being used
Where an ATA carnet is used to transit Community territory, the whole of the Community is regarded as a single country for the purpose of removing vouchers from the document. The carnet is valid for 12 months although the guarantee has a total life of 31 months.

The guarantee will be returned once the carnet has been satisfactorily discharged. If further journeys are to be carried out with the same goods before the carnet expires, it is possible to have additional pages added to the document at a later date.

The amount of the guarantee required is dependent on the countries to which the goods are travelling as well as the nature of the goods themselves.

More details about ATA carnets may be found in Customs Notice 104 or from:

HM Revenue and Customs

National ATA Carnet Unit




Tel: 0161261 7219

Fax: 01612615408


The carnet de passage - for vehicles

Most countries allow non-resident vehicle operators to temporarily import their vehicles without special documentation. The usual requirement is that the vehicle should be under the control of the foreign operator and that it should be engaged on an international journey.

Certain countries, however, require the vehicle, being temporarily imported, to carry a 'carnet de passage en douanes'. This document incorporates a guarantee to ensure the payment of any charges which may become due if the vehicle is disposed of whilst on the territory of the country concerned. The document comprises a book of 'tickets' which are collected both at entry and exit to each country similar to TIR and ATA carnets. Each country reconciles the two tickets it has received and thus can be sure that the vehicle has been properly re-exported.

Within the UK, carnets de passages are issued by the RAC. The RAC requires a minimum of one month's notice to allow for processing/issue of a carnet. For further information on carnets de passage see the RAC website ( ) or phone 01454 208000, fax 01454 208863 or email

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