User Login

What is an ATA Carnet For?

What is a Carnet For?
The Purpose of a Carnet: Temporary Importation for boomerang freight®

A Carnet or ATA Carnet is an international customs document issued by 87 countries and territories. It is presented when entering a Carnet country with merchandise or equipment that will be re-exported within 12 months. It is sometimes called The Merchandise Passport for Boomerang Freight®. (Information about using carnets in non-carnet countries.)

Upon presentation, the Carnet permits the equipment or merchandise to clear customs without the payment of import duties and import taxes* such as VAT or GST. Payment is not necessary because the Carnet guarantees that the merchandise or equipment will be re-exported within a year. Thus the use of a Carnet is a way of temporarily importing into foreign countries without payment of import duties and taxes. Carnets also serve as the U.S. registration of goods so that the goods can re-enter the U.S. without payment of duties and taxes.


*A few countries and municipalities levy taxes in addition to import taxes. These can be called usage taxes, for instance. Carnet holders have infrequently had to pay these taxes in countries such as India or China. Since they are not import taxes the ATA Carnet will not apply to these taxes. If you have more questions about taxes in carnet countries please contact Curt E.H. Wilson to discuss.