The trade routes with Europe shown above are from Viking times, paperwork levels have grown since then but a fair degree of cooperation remains.
The ATA carnet document has changed, to reflect the fact that the UK are no longer part of the EU, with no right to free circulation of goods. Common sense and the international principles of ATA carnet use are however being applied.
Items still on a journey which began using an ATA carnet issued in 2020 may enter EU countries in the normal way. The goods could simply be in transit, or there might be a planned stop off in an EU country.
The agreement for valid ATA carnets to be accepted extends to all EU member countries. There are still additional requirements, depending on the nature of the journey.
If your goods have been to a third country and are returning overland via the EU bloc, an additional set of transit vouchers are needed. Where there is a stop off in an EU country, a set of importation and exportation vouchers will be required.
In both cases, if you do not have vouchers, you should contact your carnet issuer. They will be able to help and offer any advice needed.
Where goods were already on a temporary visit to the EU prior to 1st January 2021, they should be unaffected by the end of UK membership. You will not suddenly require an ATA carnet, or carnet related documentation.
Items will still need to be declared, not least on return to the UK, for returned goods relief. A haulier can normally do this for you electronically.
If you are carrying the goods, there may be a need to complete additional paperwork. Being able to prove the origin of goods could be helpful, through UK purchase receipts, inventories, or shipping documents.
Back To 2021
From 1st January 2021, a valid ATA carnet will be required for temporary exports to the EU. If you are visiting a non EU country, or countries at the same time, importation and exportation vouchers will be needed.
This includes countries which have applied for EU membership but are not members, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey. You may have seen information stating otherwise but this is incorrect.
On both your outward and return journey to the UK, bear in mind that you are likely to need to go to an inland site, away from the port. To remove pressure at the ports, most are not now directly processing carnets.
Information on using Dover, Eurotunnel and Holyhead is available from the menu on this page, including use of facilities at Birmingham and Warrington if this suits. Or you can see more details on using an EU ATA carnet and how they help.