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Information for private individuals - Temporary Importation with the ATA Carnet

Publié le February 22, 2008

What is an ATA Carnet ?

An international customs document, the Merchandise Passport that facilitates temporary imports into foreign countries. (The ATA Carnet only covers goods returning to the U.S. or Canada within 12 months)

What are the benefits ?

Reduces costs to the exporter. Eliminates value-added taxes (VAT), duties, and the posting of security normally required at the time of importation.

Simplifies customs procedures. Allows exporters to use a single document for all customs transactions, make arrangements for many countries in advance, and do so at a predetermined cost.

Facilitates reentry to the US. Eliminates the need to register goods with U.S. Customs at the time of departure.

What merchandise is covered by the ATA Carnet ?

Virtually all goods, including commercial samples, professional equipment and items for tradeshows and exhibitions, including display booths.

Ordinary goods such as computers, repair tools, photography and sound equipment, industrial machinery, vehicles, jewelry, wearing apparel and diagnostic equipment.

Extraordinary items, e.g., human skulls, Olympic horses, rare gems and jewels, philarmonic orchestra and vintage race cars.

Carnets do not cover : consumable goods, disposable items or postal traffic.

For how long is a Carnet valid ?

Typically up to one year. It may be used for unlimited exits from the U.S. and entries into foreign countries.

Where may an ATA Carnet be used ?

In over 50 nations. Among those nations : Algeria, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China (expected to accept Carnets in 1998), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

What about the security deposit ?

As the Guaranteeing Association, the Council is required to take security, usually 40% of shipment value, to cover any customs claim that might result from a misused Carnet.

Acceptable forms of security are certified check or surety bond.

Cash deposit are returned in full and surety bonds are terminated upon Carnet cancellation.

What are the origins of the ATA Carnet ?

- To encourage world trade by reducing the obstacles caused by varying national customs regulations, the Customs Co-operation Council, now the World Customs Organization (MCO), adopted in December, 1961, the "Customs Convention on the ATA Carnet for the Temporary Admission of Goods" .

- The initials "ATA" are an acronym of the French and English words "Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission".

- Carnet are issued and guaranteed by national groups, which manage the ATA system under a set of conditions established by the International Bureau of chambers of Commerce (IBCC), a division of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris.

- The U.S. Council for International Business was appointed by the Treasury Department in 1968 to operate the ATA Carnet system in the United States. The Council issues over 13,000 Carnet a year covering goods valued at over one and one-half billion dollars.

How long does it take to get a Carnet ?

Normal processing is five working days.

Expedited service is available for an extra charge.

How do I apply for an ATA Carnet ?

You do have to reach :

For the U.S. : Carnet Headquarters
U.S. Council for International Business
1212 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10036
Phone : (1) 212-354-4480
Fax : (1) 212.944.0012
Website :
E-mail :
Carnet Application Hotline : 1-800.5.DUTYFREE

For Canada : Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Phone : (1) 514.866.4334
Fax : (1) 514.866.7296

For further information you may visit the ATA Carnet website : ATA CARNET

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