top of page

FAQ OF THE WEEK- Duplicate lists versus ATA Carnets

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

We are launching this section in our newsletter to showcase some of the most frequently asked questions our team get week on week.

This week we are addressing ‘I am travelling to France to carry out a repair and taking in my hand luggage some tools and equipment which will return to the UK once we have delivered the service. What do we need to consider for this?

This will be considered a ‘temporary export’. A temporary export is an arrangement with customs for goods that will be sent abroad on a temporary basis and can exempt you from paying duty and VAT every time your goods go through customs. Since the UK left the EU, British businesses must now observe new customs procedures.

We have had many members and customers who are taking tools, marketing samples, equipment, laptops and other asking us regularly what they need. So, whether you are attending a Trade show and taking some samples (from marketing to goods to exhibit), carrying out a repair overseas or delivering a service overseas for which you need tools and other equipment – including educational or scientific research, please ensure you understand how you can do this and arrange the paperwork before leaving the UK.

There are different ways in which you can take/send goods overseas on temporary basis and avoid paying duty and VAT. Let’s have a look at the different options available to traders:

ATA Carnets

The ATA Carnet is an international Customs document which allows the temporary export/importation of commercial samples, professional equipment or goods going to either a trade fair or exhibition, or to deliver a service in countries which are part of the ATA Carnet system. Check the list of countries which accept carnets here and the goods which can be covered here

Without an ATA Carnet it would be necessary to go through each country's customs procedures for the temporary admission of goods e.g. lodging a temporary import bond. The ATA Carnet simplifies the custom formalities by allowing a single document to be used for clearing goods through customs in the countries that are part of the ATA Carnet system.

An ATA Carnet is valid for one year and allows for movement of the goods shown on the Carnet as many times as required during the 12 months to any of the destinations applied for.

Duplicate Lists

'Duplicate List' can be used to avoid the need to pay Duty and VAT. The 'owner' of the goods must be travelling with the items and all of the goods must return to the country of original export. This avoids the need for customs declarations as the 'Duplicate List' replaces that requirement.

However, using duplicate list can have a degree of risk of the border agent does not recognise this process compared to using an ATA Carnet. Most EU countries recognise this temporary form of import where all the goods passing through customs will be taken out of that country in the same state as they enter.

Unlike the Carnet, duplicate list do not help with Customs formalities in the country of destination. You will need to complete the foreign Customs import and re-export documentation and give any financial security normally required in that country.

Duplicate lists are an alternative when the country(ies) where you are taking the goods temporarily is not part of the ATA carnet system or if you do not want to pay the fee. Also duplicate lists are more limited in the range of goods. Check the range below:

  • professional effects (such as portable computers, TV and broadcast equipment, musical instruments, theatrical properties, tools);

  • works of art and other items exported solely for exhibition, display or demonstration purposes

  • trade samples

  • rophies belonging to a recognised sporting association or organising body permanently established in the UK. T

The goods also must travel with you as accompanied baggage and must not be altered, processed, or repaired (except running repairs designed to return the goods to their original state)

For more guidance on how to use duplicate lists, check HMRC guidance here

Need further support?

  • to use an ATA Carnet? GM Chamber is an authorised agent to issues ATA Carnets and our team has more than 30+ yrs of experience. Check our website for more information and guidance on how to use our services here or call them at 0161 393 4314 or email

  • First time using our service and unsure how to complete an ATA carnet? Join our upcoming step by step course on the 13th October. We still have a few places left.

  • Can’t make the workshop but would like a one to one session with our team? Email us at to book your session now. Members get preferential rates.

  • Have other questions about trading with the EU or rest of the world? Contact our experienced team now calling us at 0161 393 4314 or emailing us at


bottom of page