Filming overseas with an ATA Carnet

By The Media Training Hub Team Posted at 21/10/2020 Travel

What is an ATA Carnet?

A carnet is an international shipping document that allows you to leave your home country, enter another for filming or other purposes and come home having temporarily imported and exported your equipment as often as you like without the need to pay import duty or tax.

Why do I need an ATA Carnet?

If you are travelling with professional equipment to a country which takes part in the ATA Carnet system, you must have a Carnet

Not having an ATA Carnet can cost you money 

Whilst you are free to travel without a Carnet, it's extremely inadvisable to do so. You may well be stopped by customs as you enter your destination country and you will probably be charged import duty at a set percentage of the equipment's value. Given that a shooting kit can run to in excess of GBP 100,000 paying a percentage of this to customs would be a serious set back to your budget or credit card. You would also have to fill in a number of forms which would in theory allow you to reclaim this money when you leave the country. The whole process would be time consuming, messy and potentially very costly.

How the ATA Carnet avoids you paying import duty 

Having a Carnet basically allows you to prove to customs that the equipment has not been sold in the country you are visiting and is therefore free from import duty. It lists all the equipment and shows that you have returned all the items to your home country and that nothing has been left in any of the countries you have visited on your trip.

Not all countries are signatories to the ATA Carnet Convention so check before you start to raise one – see  https://www.boomerangcarnets.co.uk

How long is an ATA Carnet valid for?

A Carnet is valid for 12 months from its issue date. Any equipment, goods or merchandise listed on the Carnet can be imported & exported from any participating countries and territories as many times as needed within the 12 month period.

WARNING: Some countries may override this and reduce the time that the goods are allowed to stay in their country by writing a specific date in the "Final date for re-exportation" box when they fill in the importation voucher.

Make time to gather all the information you need 

Give yourself enough time to get all the information you need for the equipment list.  The kit you are taking may be coming from a range of suppliers, e.g. camera hire company, lighting and grip company, freelancers, and climbing or underwater suppliers if you’re doing specialist filming.  Give them time to get everything to you – you can’t afford to get this wrong and mistype or miss out a serial number.

Name the "Carnet Holder" and the "Representatives"

The "Carnet Holder" will usually be the production company. "Representatives" are people travelling with the Carnet on your filming trip

List where you are going and what equipment you are taking 

Once you’ve decided that your trip includes a carnet country, you need to make a list of all the countries you will be visiting including those where you are just in transit. Then you need to draw up an equipment list. This is referred to as the "General List" and details all of the items you are exporting from your home country.  It should list the item’s name, its serial number, weight, value in your home currency and US Dollars, and it should state which box it is travelling in. By the time you have listed all items that you wish to take filming with you, it should look something like this:

A close up of text on a white background

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Raise an Insurance Bond

This is NOT an insurance document - the equipment values you declare on a carnet are not relevant to any insurance claim you may make on your production insurance in the event of loss or damage.  You will also need to raise an insurance bond or lodge a monetary security with the carnet issuer and this will be based on the total value of the goods listed in the carnet. Some production companies choose to use a lower but credible value for equipment listed on the carnet so that if items are lost, the duty payable is based on this lower value rather than the full replacement value. Whether or not you choose to down value your equipment is up to you and we cannot advise either way.

Why do I need an ATA Carnet Insurance Bond?

Countries you visit can claim import duty 

If for any reason, one of the countries you have visited claims that you did not re-export some or all of your equipment, they can make a claim for the import duty to be paid. Money to cover any possible claim has to be lodged with the carnet issuer in advance in the form of a bank guarantee or cash or they may have their own indemnity scheme. The amount of this security will be based on the values declared on the carnet, the type of the equipment, the length of your trip and the countries you are visiting. The carnet issuer will let you know how much this will be.

You might have to pay import duty

There are several reasons why you may find yourself subject to a claim for duty and tax:

  1. Incomplete Carnet: an importation voucher does not have a corresponding export voucher
  2. Some items are missing when you exit the country (even due to loss or theft)
  3. Lost Carnet

So you can begin to see how important it is to keep the Carnet safe and to make sure it is correctly filled in and stamped at every stage of your travel.

Send the equipment list and travel itinerary to your carnet provider.

You should tell them which countries you are travelling to and how many times you expect to go in and out of each country, e.g. crossing the border between USA and Canada means that with UK equipment you have to have your carnet authorised each time you leave USA and each time you enter Canada.  On a long filming trip snaking back and forth across their border, you’ll become very experienced in clearing a carnet and you'll also get through a lot of import / export vouchers.

Ask for extra vouchers in your ATA Carnet 

The carnet-raising authority needs to know how many carnet countries you are entering and leaving to give you sufficient vouchers in your carnet for each entry and exit.   On any carnet, you should have an even number of coupons – one for exit from home country, one for entry to country A and exit from country A, one for entry to country B and exit from B, then one for re-entry to your home country. Remember to tell the carnet agency if you are only in transit in a carnet country.  They will issue blue “transit vouchers” at the rear of the carnet for this purpose, but be clear with the agency.  If you stand any chance whatsoever of actually entering the transit country to film, then go for a set of entry and exit vouchers instead. It's also a good idea to have a few spare voucher pairs in case your schedule changes.  Don’t take risks in not having the correct paperwork.

Once you have detailed the countries you are visiting or travelling through, then the authority can issue your carnet.  They usually send them via secure post or courier, so remember to allow for this in your schedule when working out when to apply for a carnet in time to have it in your hand for travel. And you’ll have to pay for it up front too.

How long does it take to get an ATA Carnet?

Carnets can be raised in a hurry if you’re suddenly faced with a shoot that must go filming abroad tomorrow.  However, this is not for the faint-hearted and experienced PMs and PCs should be consulted if you’re asked to do this.

What does an ATA Carnet cost?

The cost of raising a carnet will depend on who you use as an issuing agent and can also vary depending on your home country so if you are preparing a budget, it's best to contact the issuer and ask for a quote. As a general idea, if you are issuing a carnet from the UK it will cost around GBP 150.00 + VAT (if you are a member of your local Chamber of Commerce) to around GBP 300.00 + VAT

Carefully check your ATA Carnet document

When you receive the carnet, carefully check that it has the correct number of vouchers for your trip and that the equipment list, serial numbers and values are also correct.

The following countries accept the Carnet system. Correct as at July 2020

 

 

 

 

 

Faroe Islands (Denmark)

 

 

Albania

Finland (EU)

Macao, China

Reunion Island (France)

Algeria

France (EU)

Macedonia

Romania (EU)

Andorra

French Guiana (France)

Madagascar

Russia

 

 

 

Saipan

Antarctica

French Polynesia - Tahiti (France)

Madeira (Portugal)

Senegal

Aruba

Germany (EU)

Malaysia

Serbia

Australia

Gibraltar

Malta (EU)

Singapore

Austria (EU)

Greece (EU)

Martinique (France)

Slovakia (EU)

Azores (Portugal)

Guadeloupe (France)

Mauritius

Slovenia (EU)

Bahrain

Guam

Mayotte (France)

South Africa

Balearic Islands (Spain)

Guernsey (UK)

Melilla (Spain)

Spain (EU)

Belarus

Hong Kong, China

Mexico

Sri Lanka

Belgium (EU)

Hungary

Miquelon (France)

St Barthelemy (France)

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Iceland

Moldova

St Martin (French side)

Botswana

India

Monaco (France)

St. Pierre (France)

Brazil

Indonesia

Mongolia

Swaziland (South Africa)

Bulgaria

Iran

Montenegro

Sweden (EU)

Canada

Ireland (EU)

Morocco

Switzerland

 

 

 

Tahiti (France)

Canary Islands (Spain)

Isle of Man (UK)

Namibia (South Africa)

Taiwan*

Ceuta (Spain)

Israel

Netherlands (EU)

Tasmania (Australia)

Chile

Italy (EU)

New Caledonia (France)

Thailand

China

Japan

New Zealand

Tunisia

Corsica (France)

Jersey (UK)

Norway

Turkey

 

Kazakhstan

 

 

Cote d'Ivoire| Ivory Coast

Korea South

Pakistan

Ukraine

Croatia (EU)

Latvia (EU)

Poland (EU)

United Arab Emirates

Curaçao

Lebanon

Portugal (EU)

United Kingdom (EU)

Cyprus (EU)

Lesotho (South Africa)

Puerto Rico (USA)

United States of America

Czech Republic (EU)

Liechtenstein

 

Wallis Futuna Islands (France)

 

 

 

 

Denmark (EU)

Lithuania (EU)

 Qatar

 

Estonia (EU)

Luxembourg (EU)

 

 

European Union

 

 

 

 

Next: How to use the ATA Carnet as you travel

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