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ATA Carnet COVID-19 Updated Best Practices

Last updated on April 16th, 2020

**Last Updated 04/16/2020**

COVID-19 continues to impact international travel, cargo shipments, and public and private events of all kinds. As such, ATA Carnet shipments are more susceptible to disruptions as country’s take action to stop the spread of COVID-19. Even in relatively good conditions right now, you may encounter unexpected difficulties booking timely re-exportations to meet ATA Carnet expiration deadlines. We understand the concerns of our clients and partners and will continue to work to keep you informed as this situation progresses.

We have received new information relating to how specific ATA Carnet countries are handling the continued impact of COVID-19 on ATA Carnets. While our general recommendations on best practices for using the ATA Carnet in the time of this pandemic are unchanged and remain available below, we have received an updated release from  the U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB) and wanted to outline the most critical information for you.

Important country-specific ATA Carnet updates:

1. Italy is allowing for a one month grace period after expiration date that does require approval from the Italian Guarantee Association. For longer than one month extensions Italian customs is recommending that a replacement ATA Carnet be obtained. For ATA Carnet shipments in Italy seeking to take advantage of the grace period being offered, you need to send an email to the Italian NGA at estero@legalmail.it, as well as include USCIB in the CC at replacements@uscib.orggsung@uscib.org, and tsample@uscib.org. The email should include: a statement explaining that the reason for the delay in re-exportation is due to COVID-19 related complications, the ATA Carnet number, the expiration date and the name of the Customs office where the ATA Carnet is intended to be presented for re-exportation.

2. The Czech Republic is allowing all ATA Carnets including expired ones to be treated as valid. This means that any ATA Carnet, even if expired, should be presented to Czech Customs for exportation as soon as possible. They will honor this during government mandated lockdowns and for a short period after the mandate is lifted.

3. United Kingdom is offering a grace period but this has to be requested and approved by the UK Guarantee Association. In order to request the grace period for on your ATA Carnet, please email us the following information: Carnet Number, Expiration Date, Holder Name, Total Value on the General List, Port of Entry, Current Location UK and Reason for extension: due to COVID-19 closure. Customer is ready to re-export as soon as it is re-open.

4. Poland is allowing the customs port of entry to extend the expiration date or restricted date on the ATA Carnet. This extension will NOT happen automatically and  has to be arranged at the port of entry in Poland.

5. Israel is automatically extending the validity period of all ATA Carnets in their territory until July 1, 2020. There is no need to issue a replacement ATA Carnet or apply for the extension.

For detailed information on country-specific ATA Carnet requirements, visit our ATA Carnet Countries page.

We continue to work closely with the U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), seeking leniency around potential ATA Carnet claims in these unusual times. The USCIB is the National Guarantee Association (NGA) in the United States, and they interface directly with foreign customs to handle ATA Carnet claims. We partner with  UCSIB and ICC, advocating on behalf of ATA Carnet users. We have received their official statement and recommendations on how our clients can best prepare for and handle possible claims situations.

1. In bringing together the advice of the USCIB and ICC, we recommend the following best practices to help our clients during these unprecedented times:Be proactive around approaching ATA Carnet expiration dates. If your established re-exportation plans are disrupted, you don’t want to get stuck with an ATA Carnet claim fee for late re-exportation in addition to the hassle of cargo rebooking. Reach out to our ATA Carnet Helpdesk. We can assist with requesting an extension or providing a Replacement ATA Carnet which will allow an additional 12 months in most member countries.

2. Keep all documentation related to your trip. Airline tickets, cancellations, and rebooking confirmations, bills of lading or airway bills, hotel reservation extensions, and anything related to travel delays can help us as we work with the U.S. Council for International Business(USCIB) to mitigate any ATA Carnet claim issued against you that is the unforeseen and unavoidable result of this virus.

3. If you decide to obtain a Replacement(aka an extension ATA Carnet) please ensure to retain a copy of US Customs and Border Protection’s validation of the green cover before sending it overseas. We want to ensure we have all supporting evidence that you did everything in a timely manner to comply with the ATA Carnet requirements even during the impacts of the global pandemic.

4. Reach out as early as possible if your trip is disrupted. We have been working closely with the USCIB regarding the COVID-19 impact on ATA Carnets, and we are here to advocate for you. The USCIB has a direct line to foreign guarantee associations and foreign customs, and together we can help. The sooner we start the process though, the better for you.

5. When returning ATA Carnets to Roanoke for cancellation please retain a copy in the event our courier deliveries are interrupted due to Safer At Home orders.

The following is the ICC’s statement regarding the impact of COVID-19 to ATA Carnet Shipments:

“ICC has been closely following developments related to the very challenging COVID-19 pandemic and its potential impact on ATA Carnet holders, SMEs, and the business community more broadly.

We noticed that many countries have issued travel bans and suspended flights to and from infected countries, regions and cities. Some countries and cities are under strict quarantine. Carnet holders and representatives in these affected areas are required to stay at home, rendering them unable to complete customs clearance and leave the border on time. The delivery of replacement carnets is also challenging given the potential suspension or delay in postal services in affected countries and regions. More importantly, not all customs authorities accept replacement ATA Carnets. All these facts made the use of ATA Carnets difficult, especially re-exportation of goods under Carnets expiring.

A letter from ICC Secretary General John Denton had been sent to Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretariat General, describing issues encountered and appealing that short delays in re-exportation attributable to the COVID-19 outbreak do not impact negatively NGAs and Carnet holders.

We are now waiting for WCO’s response. However, please note that even if a general recommendation can be given by WCO, decisions related to ATA Carnet claims are eventually made at the national Customs’ level. All National Guaranteeing Associations are advised to contact your Customs authorities immediately to see how your customs would like to deal with these problems. Please take active actions, no NGA can rest aside since NGAs are working as a chain.

In case your holder failed to re-export goods on time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these incidents must be analyzed case by case, and the final decision of regularization can only be made by Customs authorities where temporary admissions were granted. For your interest, please collect as much documentation (e.g. alternative proofs of re-exportation, government notice of lockdown, airline ticket cancellations/rebookings, hotel reservation extension, etc..) as possible to support future claim cases.

The only country we have received instructions on how to handle the delay is Italy.”

We recognize that this is an evolving situation, and encourage you to reach out to our team with any questions or concerns. Please let our experienced team of ATA Carnet professionals use their expertise to help.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact your ATA Carnet Team at 1.800.ROANOKE (800.762.6653) or carnet@roanokegroup.com.

Disclaimer: While we strive to provide the most up-to-date information on our website and other digital platforms, all COVID-19 related guidelines are subject to change, and we cannot warrantee the accuracy of the information.