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You need an ATA carnet if all of the following apply:

  • You are taking or sending outside the European Union goods which will be used or exhibited in non-EU countries, then returned in their entirety to the European Union.
  • The goods in question are in free circulation in the European Union. (This means that they originated in the EU, or have been imported on a duty-paid basis from elsewhere.)
  • The goods will be outside the European Union for less than one year.
  • At least one of the countries the goods will visit or transit is a member of the ATA carnet system. (Click HERE for list.)

You need a carnet for goods to transit a non-EU country, even if they will not be used in that country. For example, if you are touring with musical equipment, and your itinerary requires the equipment to be driven through Switzerland between engagements in Germany and Italy, you need a carnet to enable the equipment to transit Switzerland without the payment of duties.

Think of the carnet as being a passport for your goods, allowing them to travel freely between countries outside the EU before returning home.

You should NOT use a carnet if any of the following apply:

  • You intend to sell, exchange or otherwise dispose of the goods outside the European Union.
  • Neither your destination nor any of the countries to be transited are part of the ATA carnet scheme.
  • The goods are not in free circulation in the European Union.
  • The goods will be outside the European Union for more than one year.

If you are transporting both professional equipment and disposable items, such as marketing materials or items for sale, you should use an ATA carnet for the equipment which will be returning to the European Union. The disposable items must be declared separately as imports to the country in which they will be sold or otherwise disposed of.