A Carnet is an official document that is issued by an association recognized by the International Chamber of Commerce. Carnets, also referred to as “merchandise passports,” are international customs documents that simplify customs procedures for the temporary importation of various types of goods. In the U.S., two types of carnets are issued: ATA Carnets and TECRO/AIT Carnets.
ATA Carnets allow for the temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment, and goods for exhibitions and fairs.
TECRO/AIT Carnets are used only between the U.S. and Taiwan as a result of a bilateral agreement between the two countries. TECRO/AIT Carnets allow for the temporary importation of commercial samples and professional equipment only.
What does a Carnet cover?
Carnets can cover virtually all types of merchandise so long as it is being imported in connection with one of the allowable reasons. However, Carnets cannot cover consumable or disposable goods, giveaways, or goods subject to repair. Additionally, motor vehicles may travel on an ATA Carnet only if the vehicles are commercial samples, professional equipment (e.g. for races) or to be displayed at an exhibition or fair. Personal use road vehicles for touring, vacation, and non-business travel need to obtain a Carnet de Passages en Douanes (CPD).
How does a Carnet work?
The Carnet itself has two main sections; the front cover and the counterfoils and vouchers.
The front cover holds general information, such as the carnet number, the carnet holder, and the duration. The rear of the front cover is referred to as the General List and specifically lists the items covered by the carnet and their respective quantities, values, and weights.
The counterfoils and vouchers serve as evidence of the merchandise’s transit and must be properly executed by local Customs agencies. Yellow counterfoils are used for exiting and returning to the country of origin. White counterfoils and vouches are used for entry into and departure from foreign countries. Blue counterfoils and vouchers are used for transits. Transits are typically used when merchandise is conveyed by land and must pass through or stop in a country that lies between the country of departure and the next country of entry.
How long is a Carnet valid?
A Carnet is valid for one year from the date of issuance however, in some cases, a replacement Carnet can be issued to extend the duration for an additional year. Please note that, according to U.S. Customs regulations, foreign-issued Carnets may not be extended beyond expiration.
What if my goods need to say in the U.S. beyond the Carnet expiration?
In the U.S. consumption entries are not allowed to discharge a Carnet entry. Rather, the Carnet holder as two options:
File a Temporary Importation under Bond (TIB) before the expiration of the Carnet. This will allow the merchandise to remain in the country for an additional year. The Carnet number must appear on the TIB paperwork and the merchandise description, weight, and value must be the same as those on the Carnet General List. The Carnet’s re-exportation voucher should be presented and validated by U.S. Customs referencing the TIB number and date. Copies of both bond and Carnet should be kept so that upon final re-exportation and re-importation into the country of issue, customs may clear the goods without unnecessary assessment of duties.
Mitigation of duties may be afforded if the merchandise is re-exported after Carnet expiration:
- Re-exportation validated in the Carnet up to 90 days after Carnet expiration will result in the collection of 25% of the duty and 10% penalty within the case of a claim made on the Carnet, with a minimum of $50; or
- Re-exportation validated in the Carnet between 90 and 180 days after Carnet expiration will result in the collection of 50% of the duty and 10% penalty, with a minimum of $100.
Goods re-exported 181 days after Carnet expiration are subject to the collection of the full amount of duty and 10% penalty.
How do I get a Carnet?
For merchandise departing from the U.S., please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for pricing. Please be sure to include the reason for exportation, description of the merchandise, value of the merchandise, duration of the export, and foreign countries to be visited. For merchandise departing a foreign country and bound for the U.S., please contact your local chamber of commerce for more information.
Can INLT assist with the import and export of a foreign Carnet?
Yes, we typically charge $150, plus the cost of any courier fees incurred during the process.