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What is an ATA Carnet Claim?

Last updated on January 15th, 2020

Generally speaking, an ATA Carnet claim is when a foreign customs office submits notice to the National Guaranteeing Association that there is no record of the goods under said ATA Carnet of leaving the country on, or before the expiration date. An ATA Carnet is valid for a full 12-month period and can be moved in and out of participating Carnet countries as many times as needed. But when the expiration date hits, all goods must be out of the Carnet country and on their way back to the United States.

In the event that an ATA Carnet claim is made, the responsible party, or the Holder, is subject to any duties, taxes or penalties that may be issued by foreign customs. Unless the Holder can provide substantial evidence that the goods or merchandise did indeed leave in a timely manner, they could be subject to costly consequences.

Please be aware that every ATA Carnet country handles ATA Carnet claims differently. It is important to do your due diligence before ever traveling to a foreign country so you know the potential risks and violations you could be subject to for not adhering to their rules. To review a full list of countries where ATA Carnets can be used for temporary entry and additional important details, click here.

Typically, ATA Carnet claims are made under the following conditions:

  1. Goods are not re-exported from an ATA Carnet country within one year
  2. Carnet documents are not properly validated by customs inspectors when coming into or leaving the United States or another Carnet country
  3. Improper descriptions of the goods or merchandise listed on the General List of the ATA Carnet document

The original terms of an ATA Carnet are simple. When filing the original application, the applicant must clearly list all items being transported and include all the countries that the goods will be exported to and eventually re-imported from. There are more than 100 countries and territories that accept ATA Carnets, and each has its own set of specific rules and regulations that must be followed. With an ATA Carnet though, the goods are free to travel as many times as necessary within the 12-month period.

Once the expiration date hits on the original ATA Carnet (you can find this date clearly stated on the green cover) all goods are expected to be exported and in transit back to the United States. Failure to adhere to this expiration date could land you with an ATA Carnet claim that could potentially be a costly mistake.

Before ever applying for an ATA Carnet, your best line of defense is creating a carefully thought out plan for how you will be shipping or, in the case of “hand-carry”, traveling with your goods. This way, you can ensure you follow all guidelines and procedures to ensure your goods are properly re-exported from foreign customs before the expiration date on the original ATA Carnet.

If you find yourself in need of assistance with an ATA Carnet claim, please call the Roanoke ATA Carnet Resolution Desk at 1.800.Carnets (1.800.227.6387) or We will take great measures to help you in any way possible.


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