Questions & answers about TIR

What is TIR

TIR stands for "Transports Internationaux Routiers" which in English means International Road Transport. It is an international system allowing goods to travel across one or more borders with a minimum of Customs interference whilst in transit, providing at least part of the journey is carried out by road. The TIR system operates in any country that is a Contracting Party to the TIR Convention 1975, provided the country has established the relevant contractual arrangements. Goods travelling under TIR are covered by a TIR Carnet and this means they may pass through these countries without paying Customs duties and taxes and without the need for unloading/reloading at frontiers. The United Nations, on behalf of the Contracting Parties, has mandated the International Road Transport Union (IRU) to administer the TIR system and in particular the guarantee system.


Where can I get information about a TIR conventions?

The TIR Handbook containing background information, the text of the TIR Convention, 1975 and explanatory notes and comments is available from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) in Geneva, or on the following website:


What are the main principles tir system?


The TIR system is based on six main principles:

1.       The goods are carried in secure road vehicles (including trailers, semi-trailers), or in containers that have been approved for Customs sealing under the TIR Convention. The only exception to this rule is if the goods are designated as heavy and bulky goods; this must be noted on the goods manifest of the TIR Carnet.

2.       The Customs duties and taxes at risk in each TIR operational country are covered up to a fixed amount by an internationally valid guarantee represented by the TIR Carnet.

3.       The goods are documented on and accompanied by a TIR Carnet which is the harmonised Customs declaration.

4.       Customs control measures applied in the country of departure should be accepted by the countries of transit and destination.

5.       Access to use the TIR system is controlled by the Customs authorities and the national transport Associations. National associations wishing to issue and guarantee TIR Carnets must fulfil minimum financial and commercial conditions and requirements before authorisation is granted. Similarly, transport operators wishing to use TIR Carnets must be of sound financial standing and must have no record of serious or repeated offences against Customs or tax legislation. The minimum admission requirements must be fulfilled before access is granted to both Associations and transport operators. Parts I and II of Annex 9 to the TIR Convention refer.

6.       Electronic information confirming the partial or final termination of all TIR operations must be sent to the international organization (the IRU) by each Customs authority where the unloading takes place (This is known as SafeTIR termination data. Details are contained in Annex 10 to the TIR Convention).


For the Customs authorities

1.       Duties and taxes at risk are guaranteed (currently up to € 100,000 EUR in the Saudi Arabia).

2.       Only authorised transport operators are permitted to use TIR Carnets, thus reducing risks.

3.       The need for physical inspection of goods in transit is greatly reduced.

4.       The system facilitates Customs control and documentation; and use of inland Customs offices for the application of export and import controls allows more efficient deployment of Customs personnel and avoids congestion at the border.


How and where can I obtain TIR Carnet?

TIR Carnets are issued by approved TIR issuing Associations in the country in which the TIR Carnet Holder is established, or where the TIR transport begins. In special circumstances, a TIR Carnet may be issued to a foreign TIR Carnet Holder. In these cases, authorization in writing from the Association to which the Holder belongs is required.


What is a Road Vehicle Approval Certificate?

In order to be accepted for international road transport under Customs seal, the load compartment of a road vehicle must be physically secure so that once it has been sealed by Customs, no goods can be introduced or removed from the load compartment without breaking the seal. It must therefore comply with the regulations on the technical specifications as set out in Annex 2 of the TIR Convention. Vehicles that conform to the specification will be issued with a Road Vehicle Approval Certificate by the competent authority in each Contracting Party. Annex 3 of the TIR Convention sets out the approval procedure and Annex 4 contains a model certificate of approval of a road vehicle. Similar rules apply to containers.


What is a Carnet Passage?

A Carnet de Passage is a separate Customs transit scheme that is used in some countries to enable the temporary import of vehicles without the payment of Customs duties and taxes. The scheme is administered by Alliance Internationale de Tourisme & Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (AIT/FIA) in Geneva, Switzerland, and it is provided in Saudi Arabia by the SATA.

For more information;


What is a TIR CARNET Holders?

A TIR Carnet Holder is a natural or legal person who is resident in the country where a TIR Association is established and who has been authorized by the TIR Association and the Customs authorities to receive and use TIR Carnets. Article 6 and Annex 9 Part II of the TIR Convention refer.


What is a TIR CARNET Holders?

The TIR Carnet Holder must ensure that the TIR Carnet, the approved vehicle and the goods are properly presented to the relevant Customs offices at departure, en route and at destination. He must take reasonable steps to ensure that the TIR Carnet declaration of the goods corresponds to the goods actually being transported. If any of these responsibilities are not met, the Holder will be held accountable for paying the duties and taxes on the goods that are being transported, should they become due during the course of a TIR operation and may, in addition, be:

Penalised by the imposition of fines or penalties; and/or

Held financially responsible for the unlimited payment of all duties and taxes liable on the goods which, due to his action, have not been discharged by Customs.


Which goods are prohibited using TIR procedure?

(A) Alcohol and derived products except for beer or wine (prohibited goods are classified under HS Codes 22.07.10 and 22.08);

(B) tobacco and derived products except for raw tobacco (prohibited goods are classified under HS Codes 24.02.10, 24.02.20 and 24.03.10).


How is the TIR Carnet used?

The TIR Carnet has a number of sets (pairs) of detachable vouchers (in French, “volets”) numbered 1 (white) and 2 (green). Normally one pair of vouchers (white and green) is needed for the transport of goods across the territory of each TIR operational country. The vouchers are filled in by the various actors. A guide on how to fill in the TIR Carnet is available to be downloaded free of charge from the IRU bookshop. Click here.


What happens to the Carnet After a TIR operation has been completed?

Used TIR Carnets are returned to the Holder by the Customs. The Holder then returns the TIR Carnet to the issuing association to be checked and verified. These checks include documentary checks on the yellow goods manifest, the certified report form (procès-verbal) and the stamped counterfoils in the TIR Carnet. The checks will also consist of verification of termination data through SafeTIR. The TIR Carnet is subsequently returned by the issuing Association to IRU for archiving for about three years.


What actions should Customs undertake at offices of deoarture?

Customs will undertake a stringent inspection of the goods; the effective operation of the TIR procedure depends on this inspection, as explained in Article 19 of TIR Convention. Customs will check that the TIR Carnet is valid and will also verify the TIR Carnet details and any attached documents. In addition, Customs will check the vehicle and the load compartment(s), and verify the Road Vehicle Approval Certificate, which must be valid for the entire TIR operation, that is until the goods arrive at the office of destination. Once the goods are loaded Customs will seal the load compartment, complete and stamp the TIR Carnet as appropriate, tear off the first white voucher (volet 1) and return the TIR Carnet to the driver. The white voucher will be registered by Customs, awaiting the return of the certificate of termination from the green voucher (volet 2) from the Customs office of exit or destination. Depending on national arrangements, the white voucher (volet 1) may be filed either locally at the office of departure or at a central office.


What happens if an accident occurs to truck transporting goods under a TIR Carnet and the truck is too badly damsged to continue the journe?

The driver (TIR Carnet Holder) must contact the competent authority (usually the Customs authorities) before unloading the goods into another vehicle. This requirement may be relaxed in situations posing an imminent danger to the truck or the goods carried. If appropriate, Customs will supervise the reloading of the goods and should complete the certified report (procès-verbal) form at the end of the TIR Carnet, and indicate whether or not any of the goods have been destroyed. Details of the new truck must be entered on the certified report (procès-verbal) of the TIR Carnet. If a new TIR Carnet Holder takes over the TIR transport, a new TIR Carnet will have to be opened. In this case, the TIR Carnet that has been used up to the event of the accident will have to be terminated by the Customs authorities. The inside cover of the TIR Carnet paragraphs 13 to 17 describe the actions that must be taken in the event of an accident. Also, details on actions and steps to be taken at every stage of a TIR transport are explained in a guide on how to fill in the TIR Carnet which is available here.


Are customs duties and taxes due on goods that are lost or destroyed?

No duties and taxes are payable in the event of proven destruction of goods being carried under a TIR Carnet (article 41 of the TIR Convention refers). Paragraphs 13-17 on the inside cover of the TIR Carnet describe the actions that must be taken in the event of an accident. Also, a guide on how to fill a TIR carnet is available here.

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