User Login

Creative Screen Industries and Media Outlets use ATA Carnets: Essentials, Tips, and Trends, Part 1

Monday, November 30, 2020

Television, film, and media industries regularly utilize ATA Carnets for cameras, equipment, goods, and gear as a standard and necessary tool for filming / recording in another country.  The ATA Carnet is an internationally accepted customs document used for temporarily exported merchandise, goods, or equipment and allows you to pass through Customs import-duty and -tax free into any of the 87+ carnet countries and territories for up to a year.  Given the value of equipment moving into and out of countries for shoots, ATA Carnets offer considerable savings and serve as a temporary export declaration for goods allowing for re-entry into the U.S. duty and tax free.  In a recent webinar hosted by Eric Huyton of the Media Training Hub, Curt E.H. Wilson-Managing Director and Kiel Ursin-Carnet Specialist, both representing boomerang carnets® presented information about ATA Carnet use for industry professionals.

ATA Carnets can be used for camera bodies, lenses, tripods, lighting equipment, drones/UAVs, monitors, hard drives/storage, computers, batteries, set pieces/props, apparel/costumes, and more.  Exceptions are consumable items, disposable items, and postal traffic.  An ATA Carnet can be valid for up to 12 months with no high import-duty or -taxes due.  They can and are often secured for multiple countries to accommodate production schedules.  An ATA Carnet also serves as registration of your equipment, gear, and goods and proof they originated in the U.S. without having to fill out additional customs registrations.  The ease they provide clearing Customs is considerable.  They are used in all modes of production:  documentaries, features, news coverage, sporting event broadcasts, interviews, web series, podcasts, and conferences that require crossing international borders.

Carnets for Cargo

Camera crews for news networks as well as individuals and production companies must often leave at moment’s notice and utilize “hand-carry” of all equipment and goods on an aircraft to cover breaking world news or get footage or participate in a current event, meeting, or document natural phenomenon.  There is a trend now, however, for sending equipment and goods via cargo when time constraints are a bit less strict.  It is an adaptation around varying Covid-19 restrictions to continue international shoots and increasingly used by production companies.  When the “carnet-ed” goods and equipment arrive at their destination, a hired crew then picks up the goods and equipment for the job.  This strategy can and has been used by fashion photography, commercials, PSAs, ad campaigns, and short narrative films.  For now, it is another way to make things work so that you can continue your production output.  It is essential beforehand to check the Covid protocols for any country you are thinking of filming in to assure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.  As a start, European Film Commissions Network (EUFCN) has compiled guidelines for production during Covid-19 for Europe

Boomerang carnets®  is happy to assist and if you have any questions, call the Carnet Helpline® 1-800-282-2900.  This is a three-part series on ATA Carnets and the benefits they provide to the creative screen industries.  Check back in the coming few weeks for more on this topic.