What is an ATA Carnet?

ATA Carnet, commonly referred to as the “Merchandise Passport” or “Passport for Goods”, is a unified customs document used by 80+ countries. The initials, ATA, are an acronym of the French and English words Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission. The ATA Carnet helps U.S. exporters of all sizes, in particular micro, small and medium size businesses (MSMEs), to explore new markets, promote their goods and services, and attend trade shows as well as conferences, and saves time and money in the process.

It simplifies customs procedures for the temporary movement of goods and allows goods to enter Customs territories of the ATA Carnet system free of customs duties and taxes for up to one year. Read more…

Benefits of ATA Carnet:

  • Saves Time & Money (Helps Cash Flow!)
  • Is Issued Prior to Departure
  • Can be Processed in 24 Hours
  • Streamlines the Process for Exports & Imports
  • Simplifies the Customs Process with a Single Document
  • Eliminates Duties, Taxes & Temporary Importation Bonds
  • Provides Unlimited Use in Multiple Countries for One Year
  • Easier & Less Costly than a Temporary Import Bond (TIB)

Examples of Goods:

  • Jewelry
  • Broadcast Equipment
  • Diagnostic devices
  • Musical/Audio Equipment
  • Trade Show Booths
  • Artwork/Antiques
  • Film & Video Equipment
  • Security Equipment

  • Computer Equipment
  • Apparel for Shoots and Shows
  • Horse for Training/Show
  • Construction Equipment
  • Industrial Machinery
  • Sports Gear
  • Testing Devices
  • Orchestra Instruments

Origin of the ATA Carnet System

In 1961, The ATA Carnet Convention on temporary imports was adopted by the World Customs Organization to encourage world trade by reducing the barriers caused by varying national customs regulations. USCIB was appointed by the Treasury Department in 1969 to operate and manage the ATA Carnet system in the United States.

U.S. National Guaranteeing Association

USCIB is the national guaranteeing association of ATA Carnets under a set of conditions established by the World Chambers Federation, a division of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris. ATA Carnets allow temporary, duty-free imports overseas for goods generally qualified for use in trade shows or as commercial samples and professional equipment.

Using an ATA Carnet

An ATA Carnet consists of green front and back covers and counterfoils and vouchers within.

The front green cover tells US and foreign Customs agents who are the Holder and authorized representatives for the Carnet. Have an authorized representative of the Holder sign the cover and bring the Carnet to US Customs for authorization prior to departure and you’re set!

The counterfoils and vouchers are control documents used by customs. They are always issued in sets of two and are color-coded.  Both are filled in by customs agents when clearing US and foreign customs, and tracks what goods entered or left the country. The counterfoils should remain in the Carnet as a receipt of Carnet activity through US and foreign customs. Vouchers are only used by used by foreign customs and are removed and kept for their records. Read more…

Register and Apply

The price of an ATA Carnet ranges from $235 to $475 depending on the value of the goods traveling on the ATA Carnet. A standard security deposit equal to 40 percent of the value of the goods is required to guarantee the terms of the Carnet. This ATA Carnet deposit can be secured with a surety bond which can be provided along with the ATA Carnet.

Be sure to check our list of USCIB Policies, Government Agency Requirements, and Additional Considerations to ensure that you have everything you need for your trip. Read more…