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Learn About / ATA Carnet – Processing

How is a U.S. issued ATA carnet processed by Customs?

When leaving the United States, the holder of a U.S.-issued ATA carnet presents the carnet and the covered goods to a Customs officer. The carnet is reviewed for completeness and accuracy and the goods are examined to ensure that they match the carnet list. The officer then validates the carnet document and certifies the appropriate exportation counterfoil and voucher. The carnet and the U.S. Customs-certified export voucher are returned to the carnet holder who retains the voucher as the permanent record of the Customs transaction. (Note: The carnet does not affect export control requirements such as the filing of a shipper’s export declaration or the requirement to obtain export licenses.) Upon return to the United States, the holder of a U.S.-issued carnet presents the carnet and covered goods to a Customs officer for examination. The officer certifies the appropriate reimportation counterfoil and voucher and returns the carnet to the holder for further use or surrender to the issuing association. (Note: On U.S.-issued carnets only, the vouchers of the yellow exportation/reimportation sheets will not be detached, but will remain with the document when departing or returning to the United States.)

It is the responsibility of the carnet holder to present the carnet to the Customs authorities when entering or leaving a country in order that the necessary verification and certification of the appropriate vouchers and counterfoils can take place. Failure to do so may result in a claim being made. A claim is a notice from a Customs authority of the country of import that a violation of the carnet system has occurred and payment of duties, taxes, and penalty are required.

How is a non-U.S.-issued ATA carnet processed?


When processing a foreign-issued carnet, Customs must create a record of the transaction in order to protect the revenue and domestic commerce. Therefore, the U.S. Customs officer responsible for clearing the temporary importation must ensure that the port of importation, dates of Customs activities, and any departure from the original list of articles, are clearly shown in the appropriate fields.

When the merchandise leaves the U.S. the Customs officer must ensure that the required exportation dates are complied with, that the original list of articles agrees with what is being exported, and that the appropriate voucher is detached and forwarded to the port of importation.