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ATA Carnet

ATA Carnets

An ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet (pronounced car-nay) is an international customs document that permits duty-free temporary import of goods for up to one year. It is often referred to as a passport for goods.

Carnets are issued and guaranteed by national organisations around the world, generally business groups such as chambers of commerce. The terms and conditions of the ATA Carnet System are enforced through written agreements between guaranteeing associations of the ATA Carnet chain and the World Chambers Federation in Paris.

There are now more than 80 countries participating in the ATA Carnet system, including Brazil, although Brazil does not yet allow its use for commercial samples. Goods that qualify for the document include: 

  • Commercial samples (not for Brazil)
  • Jewellery, opals
  • Goods for international exhibitions, conference and lectures
  • Scientific equipment, musical instruments, theatrical costumes, professional sound and television equipment
  • Equipment for testing and maintaining machinery
  • Photography and advertising goods and equipment
  • Equipment for use by surgeons, zoologist, archaeologists
  • Personal computers (laptop) used for business purposes only
  • Equipment for sporting events
  • NOTHING CONSUMABLE (Goods that will remain in the country of import including brochures, food or beverage samples to be tasted, etc.)

A Carnet allows temporary duty free admission of goods into foreign countries. You don't need to put up security bonds at each Customs point, which avoids the worry of retrieving your funds from each foreign agency when the goods exit. You don't need to prepare importation forms for different countries - simply present your Carnet with the goods at each Customs point of entry. You will avoid the possibility of your goods being confiscated by Customs who may require payment for the release of the goods.


The issuing organisation will ask you to pay a deposit to cover the cost of import taxes in the country you are taking the goods to, in case you don’t return them. This deposit will be returned to you when the goods are returned to your home country.

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