ATR or A.TR is an EU acronym, standing for “Admission Temporaire Roulette”.

It is a customs certificate for the movement of industrial products. A separate certificate is needed for each UK-Turkey consignment.

It grants preferential rates of duty (mostly zero) for imports and exports between the European Union and Turkey. This applies under the terms of the Customs Union agreement between the EU & Turkey, which came into effect 31st December 1995. The intention was that industrial goods can travel between the EU and Turkey without customs restriction. For all practical purposes, most consumer items are included in this definition.

HMRC regulations regarding “European community preferences – trade with Turkey” is set out in Notice 812. At the time of writing, the most recent update was 09/12/2014, just click on the link below. All potential exporters and importers are required to read Notice 812:

What is the ATR Certificate for?

The certificate is used by HMRC (and its Turkish equivalent) to determine the rate of duty to be applied upon import/export of most industrial goods between the EU and Turkey. With the certificate, the duty on such goods is usually zero; without it, normal non-EU customs tariffs would apply.

Copies of all customs documentation (including the ATR certificate) must be retained for at least 3 years, since retrospective customs investigations can take place for 3 years from shipment. If you cannot produce such documentation on demand, then you may be forced to pay the full tariff retrospectively. 


Who needs an ATR Certificate, and when?

You need an ATR Certificate to avoid paying customs duty on industrial products; a separate ATR Certificate is required for every such consignment between the EU and Turkey. The term “industrial products” also covers most consumer items. 


What industrial products are covered by an ATR Certificate?

It is easier to say what can’t be covered. Most agricultural products & all coal and steel products CANNOT be covered; all other industrial products can be (including consumer items as mentioned previously).

Additionally: the goods must either originate in, or be in “free circulation” within, the exporting country. By “free circulation” they mean freely available for use – i.e. not held in some sort of customs warehouse, and not still subject to outstanding import formalities / duties / charges etc. 


This sounds complicated – can I get help?

Of course. For experienced freight forwarders from the UK to Turkey or return (like ourselves) it is not as bad as it first sounds. While there is a lot to get right, when you do it regularly, it becomes second nature.

When shipping with Barrington Freight to Turkey, we are happy to advise or help you with the process. If you need, we can even organize much of the paperwork on your behalf (including the ATR); we make a small charge for this service, and also for necessary disbursements e.g. purchase of the certificate. 


Where do I apply for an ATR Certificate?

It isn’t that straightforward; so for simplicity, let us think about exporting from the UK to Turkey. Though it is similar in principle for UK imports from Turkey, those ATR certificates will be applied for in Turkey.

You start with an original blank ATR certificate (otherwise known as HMRC form C1232) – but you can’t download it; in fact you won’t normally get it from the HMRC at all. The entire procedure is handled by the British Chambers of Commerce. You can only use forms which have been issued directly by the Chamber of Commerce; you can’t copy blank forms, or duplicate them in any way, you MUST use original forms.

Physically, this is a three-part copy; once completed and returned to the Chamber of Commerce, they will check it (and the supporting documents) for accuracy. They keep the bottom (white) copy for their records, whilst the top copies are returned to you with their authentication mark. One top copy travels with the consignment and is presented to Turkish customs by the importer. The other copy should be retained by you for your records.

Some chambers (including our local chamber here in Essex) also operate an electronic submission service, which can save a lot of time – especially if you have urgent exports to Turkey.

There is a charge for issuing the ATR. Most people use a local Chamber of Commerce; as a member, the charges are normally discounted by around 50%. Look for your local one here: 

What supporting documentation do I require?

The application for an ATR certificate must be accompanied by a copy of your commercial invoice, and evidence that the goods either originate from (or are in free circulation within) the UK. The latter can be satisfied by a suitable “Exporter Statement” on your Company Letterhead paper. 


How long will my ATR application take?

Assuming your supporting documentation is correct, and you visit the Chamber of Commerce personally, an ATR certificate can sometimes be issued while you wait. Conversely, postal applications can take well over a week; remember, the blank forms are posted to you, you fill it in and post back to the chamber, they authenticate it, and then post back to you once again. Electronic submission makes it much faster.

Before applying for your first ATR, you MUST have set up a “Formal Undertaking” with the Chamber of Commerce, which binds you to the Standard Rules of issue for various trade documentation. If you have not previously done this, be sure to include this step in your timescales! 


What about UK imports from Turkey?

Normally, the certification will be undertaken by the exporter; so they will obtain all necessary paperwork. You just show it to UK customs upon receipt of goods. If you are purchasing the goods directly in Turkey, and arranging export from Turkey to UK yourself, it is then your responsibility; we are happy to advise our customers on all aspects of the ATR process. 


Where can I get help and advice on the ATR?

Barrington Freight are a freight forwarding company, arranging international shipping for UK importers and exporters. They will happily advise on ATR certificates, customs declarations, customs clearance, import VAT and import duties.

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