Temporary exportation and re-importation
- HM Revenue & Customs
- Part of:
- Import and export procedures and International freight industry and businesses making customs declarations
- First published:
- 2 August 2012
- Last updated:
- 22 April 2014, see all updates
To export and re-import goods such as technical or exhibition equipment or commercial samples, you may need the Duplicate List or an Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission Carnet.
You may want to export goods temporarily from the UK to countries outside the EU. These could be commercial samples, goods that you want to exhibit or tools that you use in your trade.
There are two simplified procedures that you may be able to use to export goods temporarily from the UK, these are the ATA Carnet and the Duplicate List. You have to pay for the Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission (ATA) carnet, but it lets you export a fairly broad range of goods and cuts the amount of customs red tape in the UK and abroad. The Duplicate List is free to use, but only allows you to export a limited range of goods, and does not reduce your customs formalities abroad.
This guide explains how both procedures work and gives details of the goods that you can temporarily export.
Temporary exportation simplified procedures
You can temporarily export goods from the UK using two simplified procedures - the ATA Carnet and the Duplicate List. These let you temporarily export goods from the UK to countries outside the EU with a reduced amount of customs red tape.
However, any prohibitions, restrictions or licensing rules - either when goods are exported from the UK or when they’re imported into another country - still apply.
What sort of goods are covered?
The type of goods that you can temporarily export depends on:
- whether you use the ATA Carnet or the Duplicate List - you can export a much broader range of goods using the ATA Carnet
- the country you are exporting the goods to - each country has its own list of goods that it allows to be temporarily imported
The main examples of goods that are often temporarily exported are:
- professional equipment, like portable computers you use when you’re working abroad
- tools of your trade like technical instruments, measuring and testing equipment and specialist tools
- exhibition or display goods
- commercial samples
Moving goods within the EU
You don’t need to use temporary export procedures if you’re moving goods to another EU country. But it’s recommended that you carry enough documentation with you to show that you either:
- acquired the goods in the EU
- have already paid any import charges if you imported them from outside the EU
The ATA Carnet
The ATA Carnet is an international customs document. It acts as a financial guarantee that the person who holds it will meet all the required customs conditions and procedures.
The carnet is essentially a passport that lists the temporarily exported goods on a series of vouchers for:
- export from the UK
- transit, if required
- import into the destination country
- re-export from the destination country
- re-import into the UK
How does the carnet work?
The carnet replaces the customs forms or electronic declarations that are usually needed. So it makes clearance procedures much simpler when you temporarily export goods from the UK and then re-import them.
In the destination country you can import and re-export your goods without paying customs duties and tax. This means you won’t have to:
- raise bonds
- deposit cash
- fill in customs forms
You can use your carnet as often as you like, once it has been issued. Therefore, you can use it once for a single trip or several times for trips to several destinations. However, each carnet is only valid for 12 months.
You must present the carnet to customs each time your goods are imported, exported or in transit through a country.
Which countries is the carnet valid in?
You can use the carnet in many countries throughout the world, although some restrict the type of goods that can be imported into their country. Read a list of countries that the carnet is valid on in Notice 104.
For more information on the countries that recognise the ATA carnets see the guide on the ATA and CPD carnets: export procedures.
What goods are covered by the carnet?
The goods that you can export using a carnet are those specified by the destination country. Each country has its own rules so you’ll need to check beforehand. The carnet is issued by your local Chamber of Commerce and they’ll be able to tell you if you can use it to temporarily export your goods to the destination country. They can also tell you how much the carnet will cost. Find Chambers of Commerce in your area on the Chamber Network website.
For a list of the goods that can be brought into the UK see the guide on the ATA and CPD carnets: export procedures.
The Duplicate List
There is no charge for using the Duplicate List procedure, unlike the ATA Carnet.
What goods are covered?
You can only use the Duplicate List to temporarily export the following limited range of goods:
- professional effects
- works of art and other items only for exhibition, display or demonstration purposes
- trade samples
- trophies belonging to a recognised sporting association or organising body permanently established in the UK
How does it work?
The goods must travel with you as accompanied baggage. They must not be altered, processed or repaired when they are in a non-EU country. However, you can carry out running repairs to return the goods to their original condition.
Unlike the ATA Carnet, using the Duplicate List doesn’t simplify customs procedures in the destination country. So you’ll need to:
- fill in the foreign customs import and re-export documentation
- give any financial security that’s normally required
Export and re-import procedures when using the Duplicate List
When you use the Duplicate List to export goods temporarily from the UK, you have to follow certain export and re-import procedures.
Export procedure from the UK
Before you leave the UK you’ll need two copies of a list detailing all the goods you’re temporarily exporting. The lists should be on your business stationary. For each of the goods you should give:
- a description
- the quantity, including serial numbers if applicable
- its value
At the end of each copy you should give a description of the type of goods - for example commercial samples - and the reason why you’re exporting them. If you know your expected return date, include this on the forms too.
You also have to fill in form C&E 1246 which you can get from HMRC or at your departure port. To avoid delays, you’ll need to make advance arrangements with HMRC, and then on the day present them with:
- your goods
- both copies of the list
- the completed form C&E 1246
If HMRC is satisfied they will endorse the documents and return form C&E 1246 along with one copy of the list for you to keep with your goods.
When you return to the UK you must present a customs officer with form C&E 1246, the goods and your copy of the list. If you leave any of the goods in the country you visited, you must tell the customs officer. They’ll advise you what you have to do.
Read about importing returned goods free of duty and tax in Notice 236.
Further information and help on temporary exports from the UK
Chambers of Commerce issue the ATA Carnet. They’ll be able to tell you what the fee for the carnet is and whether you can use it to export your goods to the country you have in mind. Find Chambers of Commerce in your area on the Chamber Network website.
Export licensing requirements
It’s important to check whether the goods you’re exporting need to have an export licence. The Export Control Organisation (ECO) is responsible for issuing export licences for ‘controlled goods’. You can see the guide on Export Control Organisation.
You can contact the ECO at:
Export Control Organisation
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
6th Floor, Kingsgate House
You can also call the BIS ECO Helpline on Telephone: 020 7215 4594, or email the ECO at ECO.Help@berr.gsi.gov.uk.
If the ATA Carnet and Duplicate List aren’t suitable
If it’s not appropriate for you to use the ATA Carnet or the Duplicate List, contact the HMRC Excise & Customs Helpline on Telephone: 0300 200 3700. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm.
HMRC Excise & Customs Helpline
Telephone: 0300 200 3700
Published: 2 August 2012
Updated: 22 April 2014
- Change to the HMRC Excise & Customs Helpline telephone number.
- Fixing references to specialist guides
- First published.
From: HM Revenue & Customs
Related guides: Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight: the processing system of trader declarations The National Export System for export declarations ATA and CPD carnets for temporary imports and exports Automatic import and export licence verification