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Learn About / ATA Carnet – What & Why?

What is an ATA Carnet?

     The ATA Carnet is an international Customs document that a traveler may use temporarily to import certain goods into a country without having to engage in the Customs formalities usually required for the importation of goods, and without having to pay duty or value-added taxes on the goods.
     The United States and other participating countries allow for the temporary importation/exportation of commercial samples, professional equipment and certain advertising materials by resident and non-resident individuals/entities.
     Carnets are a security that participating countries accept as a guarantee against the payment of Customs duties and other governmental fees that may become due on goods temporarily imported under a carnet and not exported as required. “ATA” stands for the combined French and English words “Admission Temporaire-Temporary Admission.”

Why use an ATA carnet?

     The ATA carnet simplifies the Customs formalities involved in temporarily importing goods into the U.S. and other countries. Without a carnet it would be necessary to go through the Customs procedures established in each country for the temporary admission of goods. The carnet allows the business traveler to use a single document for clearing certain categories of goods through Customs in several different countries. It may be used for unlimited exits from and entries into the U.S. and participating foreign countries during the one-year period of validity. They are accepted as the entry document and satisfy the importer’s obligation to post a security in more than 87 countries.

Why not use Temporary Importation under Bond?

Foreign importers who choose to use a TIB to temporarily enter goods into the United States must file either Customs Form (CF) 3461, “Entry/Immediate Delivery,” or 7501, “Entry Summary” to clear their shipment. This usually necessitates leaving the passenger terminal and going to the Cargo Entry Branch office, or having a Customs broker do your legwork for you. The importer will also need to secure a bond from a licensed surety. No forms, other than the carnet, need to be filed for goods entered under an ATA carnet.