An ATA Carnet is a temporary customs passport. It must be stamped every time you cross into a new country or customs area (the EU is a single customs area).

Here follows a brief description of the Carnet and how it is used when travelling.

The Carnet’s component parts

The Carnet consists of a front cover, counterfoils, vouchers and a back cover.

Counterfoils are the pages that are placed at the front of the Carnet. They act as proof of which goods have been stamped and where they have been stamped.

Vouchers are the pages that the customs officer tears out. They are the customs station’s proof that the goods have crossed the border and act as a customs declaration.

The pages have different colours. The yellow pages are stamped by the Norwegian customs authorities on export from and re-import into Norway. The white pages are stamped by the customs authorities in the import country on import and re-export. The blue pages are stamped on entry and exit of a transit area when the goods are simply passing through (see the example below).

Opening the Carnet

When the Carnet is to be opened, the holder must sign at the bottom right-hand corner of the front cover (green).

To be valid, the Carnet must be stamped by Norwegian customs in connection with the first departure.  This is done in the grey field at the bottom left-hand corner of the Carnet’s front cover.

Use of the Carnet when travelling

Every time you cross into and out of a new country or customs area, the Carnet must be stamped by a customs officer. This is how it works:

  1. You stop in the red zone at customs.
  2. The customs officer stamps a counterfoil and a voucher, registers the goods and signs the papers. It is important that the information entered in both the counterfoil and the voucher is identical.
  3. You sign in the bottom right-hand corner of the voucher and enter the date of the border crossing.
  4. The customs officer takes the voucher out of the Carnet and keeps it, and you can continue on your journey.

Remember that the EU is a single customs area. You only need to get one stamp on entry and one on exit from the EU for the same trip.

If the ATA Carnet is to be sent with a shipper or transporter, we recommend that the person concerned be issued with an authorising document written in English.

Example of the Carnet stamping process on a journey from Norway to Switzerland, via various EU countries

  1. Before leaving Norway, the green front cover of the Carnet is opened by the Norwegian customs authorities.
  2. When exiting Norway, the yellow export page is stamped on the Norwegian side.
  3. When travelling through the EU, the blue transit page must be stamped on the way into the EU.
  4. On the way out of the EU, the blue transit page is stamped. For example, on the border between Germany and Switzerland.
  5. On the Swiss side, the white import page must be stamped.
  6. On the way out of Switzerland, the white re-export page must be stamped, for example at the airport.
  7. On arriving in Norway, for example at the airport, the yellow re-import page must be stamped.
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