What Is ATA Carnet Insurance

ATA Carnet insurance is absolutely essential for many different types of international travel and business, but many people are unfamiliar with this type of customs document. So what exactly is a carnet, and why is it so important?

Merchandise Passport

An ATA carnet, pronounced car-nay, is also called a merchandise passport. ATA stands for Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission, combining both French and English. A carnet allows you to avoid paying duties or taxes on items that will be within a country for less than one year. More than 90 countries around the world accept carnets in order to facilitate international trade; each nation has its own body to oversee the carnet system.


Many different people, groups, and businesses can take advantage of carnets, including manufacturers of virtually any product, shipping companies, and universities and hospitals. Those whose work requires them to carry special supplies or equipment with them, such as trade show exhibitors or photographers, can benefit, as well as entertainment industry groups like circuses, television networks, and musical groups.

Covered Goods

Carnets can cover just about any type of product, ranging from construction tools to exotic animals. Generally they are divided into three groups:

  • Commercial samples, involving items that will be used for demonstration purposes
  • Professional equipment
  • Exhibition and fair materials

It’s important to get your carnet from a company that is familiar with the system so that you can do your business without worrying. ATA Carnet insurance is incredibly useful for international business.