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Is a Power of Attorney Needed to Present an ATA Carnet to Customs?

Last updated on May 20th, 2020

Yes, in the event that the Holder is not present and an authorized third party has not been listed on box B of the green cover, then an ATA Carnet Power of Attorney must be present at customs for clearance. The ATA Carnet Power of Attorney will become the responsible party for presenting the Carnet and ensuring that proof of authorization is available upon request by US Customs and Border Protection.


On a standard ATA Carnet application, it is necessary for the Holder (listed in box A and the individual responsible for the goods) to list any and all companies and/or persons that are authorized to present the ATA Carnet at customs for clearance. However, if no one is listed in box B of the application, then it is required that the Holder themselves or an ATA Carnet Power of Attorney be present at customs.


US Customs and Border protection considers an ATA Carnet shipment as Customs Business under Customs Directive No. 3530-002A section 5.12. This means that proof of authorization must be available if requested by a customs officer.


Proper completion of an ATA Carnet application is crucial to successfully moving goods to and from more than 100 different countries over the course of a 12-month span of time. For a full list of countries accepting ATA Carnets, click here.


It is important to note that on the initial application, the Holder has a few options for who can present an ATA Carnet on their behalf at customs for clearance. These companies/individuals include:

  1. A pre-authorized third party presenter (in box B on the green cover) – usually the freight forwarder or their customs broker
  2. An ATA Carnet Power of Attorney
  3. A Customs Power of Attorney

If the Holder neglects to identify an authorized third party presenter on the initial ATA Carnet, they have the option to provide a letter, on the Holder’s letterhead, stating that the companies and/or persons are authorized to handle the customs presentation of an ATA Carnet on their behalf.


An ATA Carnet is designed to be a simplified and cost-effective solution to moving duty-free imports and exports to multiple countries over the span of a year. By properly appointing an ATA Carnet Power of Attorney, the Holder can ensure things move efficiently to and from the countries in the initial agreement.


As a business, it is your decision to make as to whether or not to obtain an ATA Carnet for temporary exports, but it’s important to understand the necessary components of the initial application process.


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