What Is a TIR Carnet?4 min read

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You have certainly noticed a TIR sign on some trucks. Then you must be wondering what this abbreviation stands for. It originates from the French expression “Transports Internationaux Routiers”, which means International Road Transport in English.

An iconic blue TIR plate on a vehicle means that the transport operator is using a TIR guarantee for international customs transit. It all comes to the 1975 Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets widely known as the TIR Convention. This multilateral agreement between 76 states (including the whole of the EU) has significantly simplified the international road freight transport and has given a boost to the world trade. 20 new members are planning to sign the Treaty in the coming years.

All you need to know about the TIR carnet and the TIR procedure overall

A TIR carnet is a document issued by national road transport associations of the TIR Convention member states. It is an internationally recognized and accepted transit card that can be used for only one trip. It should be noted that the TIR carnet may include many vouchers (2 vouchers per transit country). Here are the two main advantages of the TIR system:

  • Under the TIR procedure, goods transported between member countries by authorized TIR carnet holders are not subject to customs control at intermediate borders and can travel directly from point A to point B, provided all the seals are intact and the documents are ok. For instance, the goods are inspected by the departure and the destination countries’ customs offices.
  • With the TIR carnet, no importation/exportation taxes must be paid at transit customs (provided that the vehicle does not deliver any goods to the intermediate countries along the route).

The TIR procedure also implies the use of secure (approved) vehicles, the authorization to use the system and the fact that the customs checks conducted at other route points are recognized by all the parties.

FAQs about the TIR procedure

  • How to get the authorization to receive a TIR carnet?

The national rules regarding the admission to the TIR system are slightly different in member states, but the core criteria and requirements remain the same.

Under the TIR procedure, a TIR carnet may be issued either by the relevant authority of the country where the company is established (the residence country for individuals) or by the departure country approved issuing body. In the second case, it will be necessary for the applicant to submit written permission issued by the National Road Transport Association.

The requirements are the following:

  • No previous customs or tax legislation violations;
  • Filing a Declaration of Commitment to the National Road Transport Association (you must have proven knowledge of the TIR Convention);
  • Fulfil the guarantee requirements established by the Association (a security deposit will be required).

  • What is the TIR carnet validity period?

The TIR carnet validity period is decided upon by the issuing Association. However, it never exceeds 75 days and is not subject to prolongation.

  • What countries are concerned by the TIR procedure?

As of today, there are 76 TIR Convention members, including the EU, Eastern Europe, Northern Africa, the Near and Middle East. The exhaustive list of actual member countries can be found on the website of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

  • What are the TIR carnet holder’s responsibilities according to the TIR procedure?

  • Present the goods to border services officers for conducting a customs check;
  • Pay all the taxes and duties for exported/imported goods;
  • If applicable, pay all the penalties related to transported cargo (in case of violation of the TIR procedure).

At Eurosender, we work only with authorized TIR carnet holders for carrying out all the international shipments booked through our platform. If you are a company looking for a reliable logistics partner offering the best price/quality ratio for shipments from the EU to Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan or any other TIR Convention member country, we invite you to register a free account with Eurosender and get multiple benefits for your business, including the following:

Last modified: February 21, 2020

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