BRINGING EQUIPMENT INTO BRAZIL

So, you are going to Brazil for a shoot and you are wondering how to handle your crew’s equipment needs. When it comes to deciding whether to bring your gear to Brazil or rent it locally, we usually recommend bringing at least some of your gear with you. 

Electronics are in general very expensive in Brazil, and the rental prices can at times be comparable or  higher than what most of our European and American clients would find back in their home countries. So, we at Brazil Production Services usually recommend that our clients bring their cameras, lenses and sound gear as checked luggage, and source heavy grip and electric equipment locally in Brazil.

Shipping can be costly and bureaucratic, so we usually steer our clients away from that and towards bringing in most of their gear with them whenever possible by using either the ATA Carnet process or the E-DBV (Brazilian Customs) process.

You may now be wondering how to handle Brazilian customs if you are going to bring your gear with you. Will you need a Carnet? Or is there another way to import the gear into the country? One thing that is indeed important to keep in mind as a foreign producer coming for a shoot in Brazil is not to mess around with Brazilian customs.  

Because of high taxation on electronic goods, Brazilian customs officials are particularly eager to prevent unauthorized electronics from entering the country. Bringing film and video equipment into Brazil legally can thus be a bit laborious.  However, we can certainly help with this aspect of your shoot.  Further down on this page, we will go over the three ways in which specialty equipment can be brought into Brazil. Contact us today with any questions you may have about how to legally bring equipment into Brazil for your upcoming production. 

Thanks to its years of experience producing projects of all sizes in Brazil, Brazil Production Services developed a very precise know-how in terms of dealing with Brazilian customs so as to ensure your equipment’s admittance into the country both safely and efficiently. We will help you complete all necessary paperwork and thus guarantee that the gear of your choice  will have a smooth and stress-free entry into the country (in case you opt to bring foreign gear as opposed to renting it locally).  

In a nut, there are three ways in which you can bring audiovisual equipment into Brazil legally and without headaches. We ABSOLUTELY recommend one of the three ways below. We NEVER recommend shipping your equipment to Brazil by Fedex or DHL or bringing your gear into Brazil without going through one of these three processes.  

Failing to choose one of these three processes may result in your gear being stuck indefinitely in customs and you having to pay high fees to get them out. Avoid this hassle and approach the bringing of your equipment into Brazil in a professional and by-the-book manner so that you start your production in Brazil without frustration. Here are the three processes of bringing your equipment into Brazil that we recommend:

  1. ATA CARNET
  2. E-DBV: THE BRAZILIAN CUSTOMS DIGITAL DECLARATION FOR CARRY-ON GOODS
  3. SHIPPING EQUIPMENT TO BRAZIL WITH A FREIGHT-FORWARDER

Please find more details about each of these three processes below for you to understand which one of them is the right one for your production. If you already know which method of temporary importation you will use for your gear and have additional questions, contact us today so that we can make sure your paperwork is ready to go and that you will be able to clear customs in Brazil without a hitch!

ATA CARNET

In 2016, when Brazil hosted the Summer Olympic Games, the country began accepting the ATA Carnet. The ATA Carnet allows for hassle free temporary importation of the necessary equipment for your production in Brazil.  The ATA Carnet is branded as a kind of “passport” for goods. ATA is an acronym created from the French and English phrases Admission Temporaire / Temporary Admission. It’s a widely used international customs document that permits the tax-exempt importation of goods into a country for a limited period of time of up to 1 year. The ATA Carnet system has been adopted by over 80 countries and territories without paying duties and import taxes on merchandise that will be re-exported out of the country within 12 months.The ATA Carnet is an efficient method for the temporary importation of film and TV equipment for foreign productions that are going to Brazil for a short-lived production trip. The unified and globally accepted system is beneficial for those who need to import goods temporarily and want to reduce taxes, fees and bureaucracy.

Brazil is currently accepting ATA Carnets for the intended uses of professional equipment and exhibitions/fairs. Contact us today if you have any questions about whether or not the ATA Carnet is the best solution for your production.

How the ATA Carnet works:

The ATA Carnet is applicable for just about anything. The International Chamber of Commerce, the ICC, states that if you can name it and it’s not consumable or perishable, then the ATA Carnet will most likely be applicable. Those wishing to utilize the system apply for the document in their home country with the adequate information, itinerary, and destination for the equipment in question (if you are in the US we have a particular ATA Carnet vendor that we recommend).

More than one country may be included on the itinerary which allows for temporarily imported goods to go from country to country without having to be returned to the home country and exported again under a new ATA Carnet. For that reason, we always recommend issuing an ATA Carnet for clients that are travelling to multiple countries for their production.

The ATA Carnet is meant to be a simple, fast and cost-effective method for temporary importation of goods into a country.  To obtain the document, the proper paperwork must be filed and fees paid. Then, a form of collateral is put into place, normally a bond, and is used to insure compliance of the terms and conditions set forth by the ATA Carnet governing body, the ICC. The collateral is returned or cancelled once the goods have re-entered the country of origin, all terms and conditions have been met, and any claims made by foreign governments have been resolved.

E-DBV: THE BRAZILIAN CUSTOMS DIGITAL DECLARATION FOR CARRY-ON GOODS

A second process for legally bringing equipment into Brazil is to fill out a  Brazilian form called the E-DBV, which is available on the Brazilian customs and tax authority website.

E-DBV means “Electronic Declaration of Traveler’s Goods”.  Filling this form on the website of the Brazilian government, will be a test of your patience since the Brazilian customs website can be buggy at times and require many attempts to complete the process. With that in mind, contact us today if you prefer us to take care of the E-DBV for you! 

The E-DBV functions much like a Carnet in that it grants the traveler the permission to temporarily import production equipment into Brazil. It’s a free of charge online process to register the equipment that you are bringing with you to use on your shoot. The paperwork is filled directly on the Brazilian Tax Authority’s website.  

Here are the steps required for you to go through the E-DBV process: 

  1. First, you must fill out the E-DBV form online and include on it a list of all of your equipment, including serial codes and replacement values. At the end of the process, you will be assigned a barcode. You will need to print that form and bring it with you on your flight along with your equipment. 
  2. After you arrive in Brazil, while still at the airport, you will go through Brazilian customs. At customs, you will need to enter the “Goods to Declare” line. There, customs officials will check your E-DBV and your equipment to make sure that everything you have listed on your E-DBV matches the equipment in your cases. 
  3. Once they see it’s all “ok”, they will give you another form with your equipment list (known as a TECAT form). This form also contains a section with a date of entry and a date of exit. They will stamp or sign the entry section of this second form and let you through. You need to walk away with a stamped or signed form, otherwise you may have issues later on. 
  4. Lastly, after your shoot in Brazil is done, you will have to get to the airport early, go back to the customs office and go through the process of checking your form and equipment again so that you are granted an exit stamp/signature . Once you have an exit stamp, keep your form for your records. 

At that point, you are free to do the check in of your equipment and luggage and embark on the plane to leave Brazil.  

This process is free of charge, but a bit of a hassle due to the extremely buggy Tax Authority website and the unfriendly and often non-English speaking Brazilian customs officials.  

But fear not, Brazil Production Services is here to help. When you hire us to be your production partner in Brazil, we take care of all your needs in regards to the temporary importation of your production equipment. All we will need from you is the list of equipment you’re planning on bringing into Brazil and their serial numbers and replacement values, and we take care of the E-DBV for you.  We will fill out your E-DBV form properly, so as to ensure that you will have no problems with the customs officials. 

Important Note: Differently from the ATA Carnet, which covers customs authorities for all countries on your trip, the E-DBV is a Brazilian government form ONLY, and thus it only guarantees your legal entry INTO Brazil and OUT of Brazil with the equipment.  If you choose this method of temporary importation, you will also need to fill out similar paperwork from your country of origin’s own customs authority.  We can give some practical advice on this subject to our clients from the US, where a similar process to the E-DBV also exists and is also free of charge.

Contact us today if you have any questions about the E-DBV customs procedures.

SHIPPING EQUIPMENT TO BRAZIL WITH FREIGHT-FORWARDER

We don’t usually recommend shipping equipment to Brazil for smaller productions. Normally, we recommend bringing equipment as checked-in luggage with your crew members on their flights to Brazil and clearing customs with either the ATA Carnet or the E-DBV paperwork as explained above.  But, if your production really has to ship gear for one reason or another, then you need to make sure you do it by using a legitimate freight-forwarder company that knows how to clear customs in Brazil. 

If you don’t do this, you will experience a world of hurt and pain.  Your equipment will be stuck in customs and you will be assessed a daily fee until it’s retrieved. You don’t want to do that.  You don’t want to leave your company hostage to the arbitrariness of Brazilian customs officials.  A competent freight-forwarder company is the way to go.  They know all of the bureaucratic processes of clearing the equipment in Brazil and will get the equipment you ship to its destination without any hiccups.

If you are shipping from the United States, we recommend Packair or SOS Global Express Inc as your freight-forwarder company although we know there are many other companies that do the job also. If you want to use a Brazilian company directly, we recommend Sax Logistica.  Using a freight forwarder company is more expensive than shipping equipment via DHL and/or Fedex but it will get your shipments to its destination within the timeframe the company guarantees.  With Fedex and DHL, your equipment WILL get stuck in customs no matter what the DHL operator and/or Fedex person on the phone tells you. Trust us, we have dealt with this situation DOZENS of times.  If you opt not to listen to us on this, don’t tell us later we haven’t told you so and expect delays, high fees and frustration in dealing with Brazil’s Kafkaesque custom authority.

We don’t mince words about this point because we have seen some productions fail when not taking this point seriously enough.  We have seen equipment be stuck in customs for 3 months before we were able to get it out and that only after hiring expensive customs expeditors and brokers to get the gear out.  It must be understood that shipping equipment to Brazil is not as simple as shipping equipment within one’s own country. Oftentimes our clients underestimate the bureaucratic nature of Brazilian customs.  So, if you must ship, we recommend you do it through an experienced and well-established freight-forwarder with plenty of experience working in Brazil or who works with a strong local logistics partner.

Contact us today if you have any questions about shipping your equipment to Brazil.