United Kingdom - Country Commercial Guide
Temporary Entry
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The Carnet is a system allowing the free movement of goods across frontiers and their temporary admission into a Customs territory with relief from duties and taxes. The goods are covered by a single document known as the ATA Carnet that is secured by an international guarantee system. The term “ATA” is a combination of the initial letters of the French words “Admission Temporaire” and the English words “Temporary Admission”.

Through this system, the international business community enjoys considerable simplification of Customs formalities. The ATA Carnet serves as a goods declaration at export, transit, and import for everything from the ordinary to the extraordinary, the usual and unusual; computers, repair tools, photographic and film equipment, musical instruments, industrial machinery, vehicles, medial appliances, and aircraft, etc.

No import duties or taxes are collected for the temporary importation of goods covered by the system since internationally valid security has been established by the national associations issuing the ATA Carnets. These national associations are approved by Customs and are affiliated to an international guaranteeing chain administered by the International Chamber of Commerce World Chambers Federation (ICC/WCF).

When showing commercial samples to customers or potential customers, demonstration of professional equipment for use at a trade fair or transporting equipment to provide a service, the ATA Carnet is now the document most widely used by the business community for international operations involving temporary admission of goods. Note that the ATA Carnet is not recommended for goods intended for sale.

For further information, including on the application process, consult the ITA’s page on Temporary Imports and ATA Carnet.