The October/November issue of VANISH – International Magic Magazine features an article I wrote about crossing borders with your props. It focuses on the use of an ATA Carnet or “Prop Passport”.

The ATA Carnet or “Prop Passport”
By Ted Outerbridge

Traveling with a magic show can present a few challenges, to put it mildly. Crossing borders falls into this category. When working in a foreign country, it is necessary to acquire appropriate working papers, permits and/or visas, which can be stressful. It is also critical that your magic props be transported across the border with no problems. There are two options for importing goods: temporary and permanent importation. A temporary import mean customs duty charges are completely avoided, or at least delayed. This is a good thing! A permanent import requires the immediate payment of duties and taxes. But since magicians rarely concern themselves with the ridiculous concept of full-time, steady, stable employment, permanent importation of props is rarely a concern for us.

There are several entry types used for temporary importation, and they all require special documentation and planning in advance. Understanding the tradeoffs of each temporary import option helps you save money. I have experience using a Temporary Importation Under Bond (TIB) and an ATA Carnet. I am not an expert in the field of importing goods, but the ATA Carnet is by far my favorite way to go. My trucking company also loves ATA Carnets as they are a hassle-free means of crossing the border with equipment.

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