What Is a Carnet?

Importers and exporters have special business needs. A Carnet is a business document that makes importing and exporting easier. To further define Carnet, it is designed to simplify customs clearance when bringing goods temporarily into a foreign country. Also known as a merchandise passport, a Carnet excuses you from paying duties and taxes, including value-added taxes, to foreign customs for short-term imports. A Carnet (pronounced car-nay) promotes international trade and business, as it is accepted in more than 90 nations and territories around the world.

Numerous businesses and institutions use Carnets, as do individuals who carry professional equipment by hand into foreign countries. Universities and hospitals use them, as do art galleries, rock bands, orchestras, circuses, jewelers, television networks and most manufacturers. The Carnets, issued by business experts based in the United States, are billed in U.S. currency with pre-determined fees. They can be used multiple times within one year and make re-entry into the United States easier as well as entry into foreign nations. To thoroughly define Carnet, it is important to know what is covered under the Carnet. Merchandise covered under Carnets must fall into these three specific categories: Professional Equipment; Commercial Samples and Exhibitions and Fairs. Carnets also can be issued for aircraft, boats and private or commercial road vehicles. A Carnet expedites the customs process, making it good business for individuals and companies worldwide.