How to Use a Carnet

Improper use of a Carnet may result in an assessment of duties, taxes, and penalties.  To avoid such assessments, follow the rules governing the use of a Carnet before your departure or ensure your authorized representatives, customs brokers or freight forwarders handle your shipments within these prescribed guidelines. Before your departure or shipment of your goods, review Know Before You Go for known restrictions or recommendations pertaining to the country your goods are entering.

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

Front green cover: Foreign customs may deny entry of goods under a Carnet if the green cover is neither signed by a Holder/authorized representative nor validated by U.S. Customs for initial departure.   Back green cover contains “Notes on the Use of the Carnet.”

Counterfoils and vouchers are control documents. Counterfoils should remain in the Carnet for use by the holder. Vouchers are removed and kept by customs. Counterfoils and vouchers are always issued in sets of two and are color-coded.

    • Yellow counterfoils are used for exiting from and returning to the U.S.(There are no yellow vouchers);
    • White counterfoils and vouchers are used for entry into and departure from foreign countries; and
  • Blue counterfoils and vouchers are used for transits. Transits are most often used when merchandise is conveyed by land and must pass through or stop in a country that lies between the country of departure and the next country of entry (e.g., leaving Germany to go to Italy, but passing through or stopping in Switzerland).


It is important to use all sets in numerical sequence.  For example, for entering and exiting a foreign country, each set is comprised of a white importation and re-exportation,”No.1.” The second set would be numbered “ No.2” and so on.

For complete details, please refer to the Carnet folder provided with all ATA Carnets.

To see a PDF of those instructions, click here.

Staff Contact:   Andrew Shiles

Senior VP, ATA Carnet and Trade Services
Tel: 212.703.5079

Former FedEx executive and cargo industry veteran Andrew Shiles leads USCIB’s portfolio of trade services, including the “merchandise passports” used by thousands of exporters around the world to get goods through customs quickly and easily. Shiles works to expand U.S. trade interests through promotion of the ATA Carnet program. Shiles comes to USCIB following more than 30 years at FedEx Express, the world’s largest air express cargo company, most recently as global regulatory compliance manager, where he served on USCIB’s Customs and Trade Facilitation Committee. His leadership experience in global supply-chain management includes participation in U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Simplified Entry Working Group, which redesigned and implemented the current entry-clearance process into the United States.
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