The ATA Carnet is an international customs document that permits duty-free temporary import/entry of goods into other countries for up to one year. The only exceptions are consumable and perishable goods.

“ATA” is an acronym of the French and English words “Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission”, which is basically a process of bringing professional equipment – including musical instruments and equipment – in-and-out of a country to be exempted from import/export taxes and ease the customs process.

ATA carnets can be obtained for a fee from Chambers of Commerce that are members of the World Chambers Federation in around 80 countries – in Australia this is the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry(phone +61 3 8662 5380).

Why is ATA Carnet necessary?

An ATA Carnet is an international customs document for almost all goods and covers 78 countries and territories. It removes the need to post bonds or pay duty on entry and the need to drawback on re-export for goods you plan to bring back to Australia. This passport for goods prevents the possibility of your goods being confiscated, simplifies customs formalities and reduces clearance times, allowing you to expand your business overseas with ease.

Although it is not necessary to apply for ATA Carnet, you must bear the risk of being fined and retained at the customs office at border control without one.

The ATA Carnet covers most goods such as commercial samples, professional equipment and goods for presentation or use at trade fairs, shows and exhibitions. Eligible goods include musical instruments, professional sound and television equipment and personal computers (laptops) used for business purposes only.

ATA carnets are not intended for goods that will not be returning to Australia, such as food products which will be consumed as samples at a trade show. In the case that goods registered under an ATA Carnet are not returned to Australia, the company responsible for those goods will have to pay duty.

How does an ATA Carnet work?

The ATA Carnet is a simple international customs document with two sheets for presentation for each foreign country you wish to visit (importation – re-exportation), and two sheets for presentation to customs when leaving and returning to Australia (exportation – re-importation).

You give importation sheet to the foreign customs officials when you enter their country and the re exportation sheet when you leave it.

ATA Carnet non-refundable Fees

  • Basic fee for goods over $2000 (allows entry to up to 3 countries): $451
  • Additional country (in addition to basic fee) or transit voucher (i.e. entry and exit): $55
  • Additional Trip (i.e. entry and exit from Australia within 12 months): $220
  • Urgent Fee (two business days): $286
  • Urgent Fee (one business days): $341
  • Cancellation Fee: $143

In addition to the fees listed above, a touring act must pay a security deposit of 50% of the total commercial value of their goods. This represents a security on behalf of the country/ies you visit. If your goods are not repatriated for any reason (for example, if goods are left behind, sold, stolen or broken and disposed of) the deposit can be used to pay duty/sales tax and/or penalty fees. The deposit is refunded once all the goods covered under the ATA Carnet are returned to Australia.


Baggage Limits (Within Australia)


Platinum – 3 x 23kg economy, 3 x 32kg business
Gold – 2 x 23kg economy, 2 x 32kg business
Silver – 2 x 23kg economy, 2 x 32kg business
No Status – 1 x 23kg economy, 2 x 32kg business
3 x 23kg in total (not additional to status allowance). 
Over 23kg charged at $45. Paid at Airport.
2 x 32kg (cannot be combined with musicians allowance or status perks, etc. It is group rate OR status)
Platinum – 2 x 32kg economy, 3 x 32kg business
Gold  – 2 x 32kg economy, 2 x 32kg business
Silver  – 1 x 32kg economy, 2 x 32kg business
No Status – 1 x 23kg economy, 2 x 32kg business
3 x 23kg in total – Note: If you are a Silver, Gold or a Plats frequent flyer with Qantas, you are entitled to 3 x 32kgs pieces
Over 23kg charged at $50. Paid at Airport. 
Recommended Contact
Mel Kennedy