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What is a Carnet & why might I need one?

The Carnet is a temporary export document that eliminates the need for customs declaration at border points and the deposit of a guarantee, bond, or cash deposit in the country of temporary importation. It can be used for a trip covering more than one country and include numerous exits and re-entries in the country of origin during the period of validity of the document (i.e. one year).

To apply for a Carnet do I have to be a member of SACCI? (South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry)


Why must a security deposit be provided?

This is a requirement by the ATA Conventions. Equally important, security deposits provide financial stability to the ATA system. There is one designated Guaranteeing Association in each country where Carnets are accepted. The role of the Guaranteeing Association is to guarantee the payment of duties and taxes to customs authorities (both domestic and foreign) that present valid claims. In the case of South Africa, SACCI must pay all valid claims (resulting from claims originating in South Africa) to foreign authorities and to South African Customs on all foreign Carnets.

What information is required?

Apart from your company details the most important part of a Carnet is the list of goods, which should be comprehensive and contain as much information as possible to enable customs to readily identify the items. Marks and numbers, where they exist, are mandatory. An imprecise or incomplete description may cause a customs inspector to question the importation (or re-exportation) and possibly seize the goods.

Can I put consumable goods on a Carnet?

NO. Everything listed on a Carnet must be returned to SA.

Can I sell goods off a Carnet?

Carnets should be used for goods NOT intended for sale. However, it is possible to sell goods off a Carnet. In addition to the payment of duties and taxes, goods sold off a Carnet are subject to a penalty equal to 10% of the amount of the duties and taxes. A SACCI ‘handling fee’ may also apply. It is recommended that you contact a local Chamber office to determine the procedure best suited to your circumstances. Some countries, e.g. UK, tightly control the sale of goods off Carnet. Generally, local customs will request that the goods and Carnet be brought to the customs office prior to Carnet expiration so that the Carnet may be properly discharged, and duties, taxes and penalties paid.

Be sure to obtain an itemised customs receipt noting the items sold, amount paid, and Carnet number. Send the original Carnet and a copy of the customs receipt to SACCI. Be sure to retain a clear copy of the Carnet for your records.

Can I get extra vouchers?

YES. Additional vouchers can be obtained from SACCI with no repeat fee payable.

Can I extend the validity of a Carnet? (Replacement)

NO. But you can obtain a replacement Carnet for Professional Equipment only. This requires that you complete a new set of forms together with a new fee and security.

A replacement Carnet has a new Carnet number but contains the same General List as the original Carnet. The replacement is typically good for one year. The replacement and the original Carnet are presented to foreign customs at which time the original is ‘closed’ and the replacement is ‘opened’ thus allowing the goods to remain beyond the date of expiration on the original document. This request should be made at least 30 days before expiration.

Are there any customs prohibitions and restrictions?

The use of an ATA Carnet rather than customs documentation makes no difference to the need to meet customs requirements for restricted and prohibited goods, nor does it remove the requirements of licensing controls.

What happens if I lose my Carnet? (Substitute)

You can obtain a substitute Carnet that will have the same details as the original, where once again a repeat fee and security will apply. Alternatively, the goods covered by the lost or stolen Carnet may be entered for temporary importation.

What happens if my goods are lost or stolen?

If goods covered by a Carnet are lost or stolen, the matter should immediately be reported to the customs authorities in that country where the loss or theft occurred, together with a police report for insurance purposes.

Can my goods be destroyed under Customs Supervision?

Some countries that are party to the ATA Convention may allow goods to be destroyed under customs supervision. This means that goods not returning to South Africa can still incur regularisation fees.

Can I add extra items to the Carnet list?

NO. Once a Carnet has been issued NO extra items can be added to the list of goods.

Do I have to send the forms to SACCI for authorisation?

YES. SACCI must endorse and sign the Carnet which process takes 36 hours. An Express Service is offered at a fee of R600.00. Customs finally endorses the Carnet on departure.

What values do I quote?

The values shown should reflect the export price in South Africa.

Some items on my Carnet will travel to country A and others to country B a week later. Do I need multiple Carnets?

Not necessarily, split shipments are possible. Depending on the time lapse between the two shipments a second Carnet may be advisable. Call SACCI for details.

Glennalee Hayselden and Samuel Mothibeli
Tel: 011 446 3800
Fax: 011 446 3804
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it