An explanation of the ATA Carnet process and how it can be used to obtain duty-free temporary admission of certain goods. This article is part of "A Basic Guide to Exporting", provided by the U.S. Commercial Service, to assist companies in exporting.
Last Published: 10/20/2016
The ATA carnet is a standardized international customs document used to obtain duty-free temporary admission of certain goods. The abbreviation ATA is derived from the French words admission temporaire and the English words temporary admission. Countries that are signatories to the ATA Convention require the carnet. Under the ATA Convention, commercial and professional travelers may temporarily take commercial samples, tools of the trade, advertising material, and cinematographic, audiovisual, medical, scientific, or other professional equipment into member countries without paying customs duties and taxes or posting a bond at the border of each country to be visited.

You should contact the U.S. Council for International Business to determine whether the country you are visiting is a member of the ATA Convention. Carnets are generally valid for 12 months. To receive an application or to ask questions, contact the U.S. Council for International Business at (866) 786-5625 or visit

ATA Carnet