Step by step, our guide will lead you to all the important information you might need for your international work.

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The Guide

Transport - customs

The international nature of the cultural and creative sector does not necessarily go hand in hand with a growing liberalisation of border traffic. Although barriers to the import and export of goods have been reduced within the EU, careful preparations are required to ensure the safe and timely arrival and departure of artists and the transport of materials to guest performances and exhibitions. This applies also, and especially, to projects that extend beyond EU borders.

The formalities associated with travel and with the transport of art works, musical instruments, equipment, stage sets etc. involve a certain amount of work and must be completed by the person traveling, both for travel within the EU and for travel beyond EU borders (see Customs issues) unless a forwarding company or courier service is used (see Shipping – self-transport).
In the music sector, the transport of instruments by shipping companies or courier services is usually not an option (tight schedule, musicians do not like to part with valuable instruments etc.). However, artists are permitted to travel with their portable instruments and equipment if these are used for freelance activities. Under certain conditions, these are treated as duty-free or tax-exempt goods. Nevertheless, certain aspects must be considered, such as the legal restrictions on the transport of cultural goods (see Cultural assets).

A music ensemble from Frankfurt goes on a tour of the Benelux countries, France, Morocco and Spain. The six musicians travel with some of their instruments (guitar, cello, kora, cymbals for drums and frame drums) and technical equipment (in-ear monitoring, MIDI) by train and plane. What must be considered regarding customs formalities, insurance and packaging?

A co-operative gallery in Berlin agrees on a joint project with a gallery in Yerevan, Armenia. The galleries plan to organize two exhibitions: one of German artists in Yerevan and at a later time one of Armenian artists in Berlin. How will the works be transported to their respective destinations and which customs formalities must be taken into account?



ATA Carnet - forms, IHK Berlin (German)

Certificate musical
form 221, BfN

form 226, BfN


Tips ATA Carnet, IHK Berlin (German)

Checklis ATA Carnet

Checklist Temporary
use without ATA Carnet