This is a little note about crossing by ferry in a splitter van from Holyhead (UK) to Dublin (EU), then driving to Belfast (Northern Ireland) and taking the ferry to Cairnryan.

Remember to pack a hi vis and carry a form of ID!

Assuming you’ve got your carnet sorted (we use ROCKIT Cargo), you’ll want to head to the Holyhead Interim Inland Border Facility (24 hours) to get your carnet stamped out of the UK.

When I visited the area was under construction, so I won’t post any photos incase it looks different in a few months. Head to the front gate and say you’re processing a carnet. Customs took about 20 minutes to process our carnet, it wasn’t very busy. I processed it the night before travel as I was staying in Holyhead overnight to catch the morning ferry.

Parc Cybi, Holyhead LL65 2YQ

When you arrive in Dublin, head to T11 customs office in Dublin Port (24 hours). They’ll stamp your carnet into Ireland.

T11 customs office

9Q4Q+88 Dublin 3, Ireland

For export back to the UK, visit Yard 3 Customs Export. You’re looking for the small cabin next to the entry point. They’ll stamp your carnet out of Ireland

Yard 3 Customs Export

3 Promenade Rd, North Dock, Dublin, Ireland

If you’re travelling to Northern Ireland and then Cairnryan, you have two options on how to process your carnet. Cairnryan doesn’t have a customs facility, so processing is done by customs in Belfast on behalf of Cairnryan.

Option 1 is to visit Yard 3 Customs Export as above to export from Ireland, and then Custom Clearance Belfast to import into the UK.

Option 2 is just to visit Custom Clearance Belfast. They can process your carnet out of Ireland and into the UK (on behalf of Cairnryan as mentioned above) in one stop.

Custom Clearance Belfast

21 Duncrue St, Belfast BT3 9AQ

That’s it! It’s all relatively simple and the customs staff I interacted with knowledgable and friendly. For reference I was travelling on Stena Line regular passenger service.

Brexit has changed the landscape of EU touring for UK artists. One of the questions we get asked the most is What is a Carnet and why do we need one? Hopefully this blog post can help answer some of your questions!

What is an ATA Carnet?

An ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet is a temporary international customs document that facilitates the temporary import and export of goods. Essentially they are a ‘Passport for Goods’ or the equipment you take on tour, enabling you to import and export them without paying import duty or VAT.

The carnet consists of a book of vouchers and counterfoils. It has a front and back cover, inside of which are counterfoils and vouchers for each country you will visit.

Once a carnet is issued it can be used for multiple trips within a one year time period from its issue date.

The vouchers act as receipts for importation and re-exportation and are kept by international customs officials. The counterfoils are stamped by these customs officials and are kept by the carnet holders.

Covering Pages

These contain the information about the goods, registered users of the carnet, and notes on the usage of the goods.

General list

A list of all goods (or pieces of equipment) covered with this carnet, with serial numbers and approximate values.


These are used as evidence for the carnet holders in case duties and taxes are claimed at a later stage.


These are used as receipts, and are detached from the carnet and kept by customs officials.

Yellow, white and blue counterfoils and vouchers

  • Yellow certificate sets (counterfoils only) are the Registration of Goods that will return to the country of origin. A yellow certificate set includes an exportation counterfoil and a re-importation counterfoil.
  • White certificate sets (includes counterfoils and vouchers) are used by foreign customs. A white certificate set includes a white importation counterfoil, a white importation voucher, white re-exportation counterfoil and a white re-exportation voucher.
  • Blue certificate sets (includes counterfoils and vouchers) are used by foreign customs to track goods that are within their borders but have not cleared customs. These goods are in transit. A blue certificate set includes two blue transit counterfoils and two blue transit vouchers.

For a nice visual of the carnet, check the official ATA carnet website:

After you have finished with the tour, the Carnet must be returned to the chamber of commerce by which it was issued.

Why does my band need a Carnet?

The ATA carnet is now the document most widely used by the business community for international operations involving temporary admission of goods. The ATA Carnet system is used in 78 countries and territories.

The main benefits of a carnet are:

  • Simplifies customs clearance of goods in exporting and importing countries by replacing customs documents that would normally be required;
  • Provides a financial security for customs charges potentially due on the goods that will be used in the countries visited;
  • Helps to overcome language barriers and having to complete unfamiliar customs forms

Without a carnet, you run the risk of being fined, having your equipment impounded, and paying import duties.

What does an ATA cover?

There are 38 categories of goods covered by ATA Carnets. The most common uses are:

  • Commercial samples
  • Professional equipment
  • Goods for trade fairs or exhibitions

In short, guitars, audio and lighting equipment, electronics, wardrobe, set design, trailers, and anything else non perishable involved in the tour would fall into these categories.

ATA Carnets do not cover good to be hired out or sold for commercial gain, perishable or consumable items, or goods for processing or repair.

How do I get a carnet?

We use Rock-It Global for our carnet applications. To apply you will need a list of all of your equipment you will be taking on tour, and the value and serial numbers associated with each piece of equipment.

The price of a carnet is around £400 + VAT. Note that a carnet can be used for multiple trips during a 12 month period.

It’s my first time using a Carnet! What do I do?

See our post CROSSING INTO THE EU FROM THE UK for a case study on a recent tour with UK Psych Rock band Los Bitchos.

First up, armed with carnet in hand, you’ll want to visit the customs office of the country where you received the Carnet (the UK for us at Chuckwalla Touring!) before you depart. This could be an inland border facility in the UK if travelling by bus or van, or a customs office inside your departure airport if travelling by air.

The customs official will fill out a yellow counterfoil for exportation out of the UK.

In the goods section of the Yellow counterfoil, specify what pieces of equipment you are carrying with you on this trip. You don’t have to carry everything on your general list of goods each, just mark what you are carrying (eg. If you have 100 items on your general list, but are only carrying the first 20 mark 1-20).

When you arrive in your destination country, you will hand the carnet to a customs official. They will fill in a white voucher and counterfoil for importation into the destination country.

When departing to another country, customs in the country of departure will fill out a white re-exportation voucher and counterfoil, and in the country of arrival customs will fill in a white importation counterfoil and voucher.

If arriving back to the UK, customs will fill out a yellow re-importation counterfoil.

What happens if my Carnet is lost or stolen?

You should obtain written confirmation that says the customs authority where the Carnet was lost or stolen will accept a replacement carnet. Contact the chamber who issued your Carnet, who can then send a replacement Carnet on request.

Any questions, please leave us a comment or contact us by email / DM on IG, we’d be happy to help!

Recently we went on tour with Los Bitchos, a London based psych rock band to Europe. This was our first trip to Europe post Brexit and there were some important changes to the UK / EU border crossing.

For this blog post we are describing the steps to make a Eurotunnel crossing from the UK to France and back, using the passenger service, travelling in a 9 seat splitter van (thanks Ricky from Blacklight Tours!).

To make this crossing you will need an ATA Carnet. An ATA Carnet is a customs document that facilitates the temporary export of goods overseas, and is valid for up to one year. Inside this carnet will be a list of all of the equipment you are transporting.

For more information about carnets, view our post ATA Carnet FAQ’s.

Also, pack a Hi Vis! Wearing a Hi Vis is mandatory at the UK Inland Border Facilities (IBF) so make sure to pack at least one in your tour kit. The wait times can be long, so best to pack a few extra if the band want to make toilet trips while you wait.

Exportation from the UK:

Sevington Inland Border Facility:

To open your carnet, you’ll need to visit an inland border facility inside the UK.

On this trip we used the Sevington Inland Border Facility (IBF) located in Ashford, 20 minutes drive from the Eurotunnel entrance coming from London. To speed up the process you can book an appointment 3 days in advance here. This can help if the IBF is busy on the day you intend to travel. You can check how busy an IBF here:

We arrived in a 9 seat splitter van and were ushered to the back side of the building, where the officials made a parking space available to us.

Take your carnet and a form of ID (passport for example) to the outbound (export) office. There are officials around that you can ask for directions if you are unsure of where to go.

If its your first time using the carnet, you’ll need to sign the Green front page and fill out a Yellow exportation voucher. If in doubt, ask the officer you are dealing with for assistance.

At the export desk you will fill in a short form with your vehicle registration, allocated parking spot number and phone number. The customs official will keep your paperwork and hand you a receipt. Head back to your vehicle and wait for a text.

About an hour later we received a text to collect our paperwork. Head in to collect the carnet (remember to bring your slip!) and drive to the Eurotunnel.

This process took about an hour in total. Note: Our equipment was not inspected, this could add significant delays so plan accordingly!

Importation in to the EU from the UK:

Aduanas Calais / Douane: (Be aware, this office is closed on some public holidays!)

When you arrive in France, exit the Eurotunnel and follow the orange signs to French Customs (SIVEP / Douane). You can also use the above google maps link to make life easier, as the orange signs can be hard to spot!

Drive up to the gate and ring the buzzer. Say you have arrived from the UK and are carrying a Carnet, they will open the gate. Drive around the back to the truck park and then walk to the office with your Carnet and ID.

Fill out the carnet and sign it, then hand it to an official. They will give you a ticket and call you over when the process is complete.

This process took about 30 minutes.

Re-exportation and re-importation from EU to UK


Calais Eurotunnel terminal:

On the way back, the carnet can be stamped at the euro tunnnel passenger terminal in Calais.

Head to the Eurotunnel check in. After checking in, stay right and enter the tourist terminal (not the border control!). Park up and walk to the terminal. There is a small customs window in between WH Smith and the Toilets. Hand them your ID and the Carnet. The will process the white re-exportation voucher.


Stop 24:

On this trip I used the customs facilities at Stop 24 to stamp the carnet. To save time you can book an appointment here. 

Enter Stop 24. Go to the customs desk (see photo) and hand them your carnet and ID. They’ll text you when the paperwork is ready to pickup. This process took about an hour. Our good were not inspected.

Other notes

It is important to carry a Carnet, I wouldn’t risk a trip without one. We were pulled up twice by customs officers within the European union and asked to present our Carnet. I think there is a heightened awareness of customs officials when they see a band travelling in a UK van.


That’s it! To summarise, the process is not complex but can be time consuming. I would factor in an extra 2 hours on your trip from UK – EU for traffic and carnet processing, and 90 minutes on your trip from the UK to the EU.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or reach out to us by email or IG. We’d be happy to help!