Looking to drive around the world, then you need to get a Carnet de Passage for your vehicle.
Here is everything you need to know about it.
Most countries nowadays will let you drive your vehicle through their borders without issues or restrictions. That is only valid for people planning on leaving the country later on with their vehicle, as oppose to those hoping to sell it as an import once there. However some countries, thankfully less and less, require a financial import guaranty to be deposited before you enter. Imagine back in the days, when it had to be a cash deposit left at the border and recovered as you left. Besides the inherent risks of carrying large sums of cash in far away countries, it opened the door to potential bribes and other unwanted complications during border crossings. To simplify things, border control administrations, in association with the FIA (Federation Internationale Automobile) and the AIT (Alliance Internationale de Tourisme) have agreed to international guidelines and procedures for financial guaranties known as the Carnet de Passage en Douane (CDP)
What is a CDP ?
Here is a short definition of the CDP given by the FIA:
The CPD is an international customs document which covers the temporary admission of motor vehicles (private and commercial road motor vehicles) in countries where required.
It serves as a customs declaration identifying the vehicle to be imported and also constitutes an international guarantee for the Customs authorities of the payment of any customs duties and import taxes chargeable should the vehicles not be re-exported.
In this way, the CPD helps to speed and facilitate border crossings for travelers and their vehicles since being an internationally-recognized guarantee, there is no need to collect and reimburse cash deposits at the local customs posts when traveling.
For the full FIA article on the CDP click here.
Where to get a CDP ?
CPD is issued by touring clubs and automobile associations affiliated to the FIA and the AIT all over the world.
To obtain a CDP to enter countries subject to taxes for temporary importations of a vehicle, you need to find your local FIA certified association mandated for the collecting and handling of the import taxes due to the concerned border administration. The way it is handled between you and the association is ruled by strict FIA guidelines. The way it is then handled between the association and the foreign authorities is fixed by United Nations regulations. The CDP the mandated association gives you certifies that the vehicle it is attached to is covered by a valid international guaranty. As a rule the CDP is valid for a year and can be used everywhere it is needed during that definite period. Now the duration of the visit for this temporarily imported vehicle is defined by the local regulations of that specific nation.
What does it looks like ?
A CDP is an A4 format yellow passport. It is printed in english and in French.
On the front cover you will find at the top the CDP number, the names of the owner and the issuing association, the date until it is valid (1 year) with a possible extension, the FIA and AIT logos and place of origin of the designated vehicle as well as its plate n°. At the bottom of the cover, below the date and place of issue, are the stamps and signatures of the agents for the supervising federations (FIA & AIT), the stamp and signature of the issuing agency, and finally the holder’s signature (You). On its back you’ll find the description of the vehicle.
Inside are pages dedicated to the entry and exit of your vehicle. They are divided in three parts. A stump called the Counterfoil, and two separate Exit and Entry vouchers. On the last page is a “Certificate of Location”.
The back cover lists on the inside useful informations on how to use the carnet, and on the back side, the list of countries were the CDP is needed.
Carnet de Passage sample.
How does it works ?
When you enter the country with your vehicle, the border agent signs and stamps the entry voucher as well as the counterfoil to remain. He or she will write down the date and name of the border post in the designated boxes. The voucher will then be kept at the border in a special file. When you leave the country with your vehicle the border agent will stamp, mark the date and sign the exit voucher and the counterfoil. The Exit voucher will be send to the border post of entry (if different) to show proof you have left the country.
In case of a problem, the most common scenario being the exit voucher getting lost in the mail between the border of exit and the border of entry when different, which would result in the local authorities claiming you did not exit properly – a classic -. The border has a year to file a complain. Complain the association which issued your CDP has a year to respond to, as stated by international laws. The association will simply send a copy of your stamped CDP, or have a local law enforcement or judicial authority sign the “Certificate of Location” located on the last page of your CDP, as proof your vehicle is now out of the concerned country.
What do you need to get one ?
Each local affiliate may have its own requirements, but as a basic rule here are the documents needed:
A CDP request document completed, signed and dated.
A copy of the passport of the driver of the vehicle.
A copy of the valid vehicle registration card.
A copy of a valid driving license. An international driving license is strongly advised.
The engine number of the vehicle.
How much does it cost ?
It all depends on the country you’re from and where you plan on going. The rate is decided by your destination both ways. They are the one deciding on the amount they see fit to cover their border fees and taxes depending on where the vehicle comes from, not your local agency issuing your CDP. As such, prices may vary significantly between nations. It can go from 100% of the value of the vehicle (either new or the established used market rate) to 150% or 250%, etc…There are also differences on the minimum accepted value of the vehicle. As an example for some countries the minimum value you can declare for your vehicle is 2.500€, for others it is 3.500€, while some put their minimum at 4.000€. Only the association delivering the CDP will be able to tell you how much is needed.
The deposit given to the association will be reimbursed once you have shown proof you have left the concerned country. In this case a copy of the stamped CDP. If your vehicle was to be left inside the visited country, you would have to pay the required taxes in the concerned country. You would then need a certified document attesting you did pay the tax. Document you would then need to translate in your own language by a certified agent. Then and only then will you be able to get your deposit back !!
Last, but not least, you must take into account the fee required to issue the CDP. Again, every agency is different and has its own rates. It can be pricey. As a reference it will cost you 235€ in France (you have discounts if you are already a member of the local association). That fee is not refunded.
In plain language what does this mean ?
Some countries require you to leave a financial deposit for your vehicle while you visit them, just to make sure you don’t come in and try to resell it. That deposit is returned to you once you have left with your vehicle. To save you the trouble a third party you can trust handles the deal. Each country has its rates, making some a reasonable place to visit while others are just outrageously expansive.
Lets take an example. I have a 2012 Jeep Wrangler JK sport Unlimited. Its value new in France where I bought it was back then 38.000€. (yes local taxes here too are outrageous!!) So in order to go visit Egypt for a month with my new car at the time, I had to leave a deposit equal to 350% of the car’s value = 133.000€ + 235€ for issuing the CDP. Needless to say I didn’t go to Egypt with my car.
Other example with the same car now used in 2017. I was in Dubai and wanted to cross through Iran. Same problem, I needed a CDP. The local automobile club in Dubai was in charge of issuing them. To go to Iran I needed to put down a deposit equal to 150% of the car’s market value. It would have been the equivalent of 10.000 €. Still a lump sum to be put aside for a trip.
You could hope you can decide on your own car’s value. You don’t. The association or agency you deal with follows an established rate based on the year and model you plan on driving.
So for those of you thinking about overlanding across the world with a state of the art brand new vehicle, budget your trip carefully. The amount of money you’ll have to put aside as a deposit has ruined many dreams. Another reason you often see people roaming the world in “older” rigs.
The list of countries requiring CDP and the certified issuing associations for each.
Benin: Automobile Club de France
Bophuthatswana: Automobile Association of South Africa
Botswana: Automobile Association of South Africa
Burkina Faso: Automobile Club de France
Cameroun: Automobile Club de France
Central African Republic: Automobile Club de France
Chad: Automobile Club de France
Ciskei: Automobile Association of South Africa
Comoros: Automobile Club de France
Congo: Automobile Club de France
Egypt: Automobile & Touring Club d’Egypte
Gabon: Automobile Club de France
Guinea-Bissau: Automobile Club de France
Ivory Coast: Automobile Club de France
Kenya: Automobile Association of Kenya
Lesotho: Automobile Association of South Africa
Libya: Automobile & Touring Club de Libye
Madagascar: Automobile Club de France
Malawi: Automobile Association of Zimbabwe
Mali: Automobile Club de France
Mauritania: Automobile Club de France
Namibia: Automobile Association of South Africa
Niger: Automobile Club de France
Senegal: Touring Club du Sénégal
South Africa (Republic of): Automobile Association of South Africa
Swaziland: Automobile Association of South Africa
Togo: Automobile Club de France
Zimbabwe: Automobile Association of Zimbabwe
Argentina: Automovil Club Argentino
Canada: Canadian Automobile Association
Chile: Automovil Club de Chile
Colombia: Touring y Automovil Club de Colombia
Costa Rica: Automovil – Touring Club de Costa Rica
Dutch Antilles: Koninklijke Nederlandse Toeristenbond ANWB
Ecuador: Automovil Club del Ecuador (ANETA)
Mexico: Automovil Club de Mexico
Paraguay: Touring y Automovil Club Paraguayo
Peru: Touring y Automovil Club del Peru
Surinam: Koninklijke Nederlandse Toeristenbond ANWB
Trinidad & Tobago: Trinidad & Tobago Automobile Association
Uruguay: Automovil Club del Uruguay
Venezuela: Touring y Automovil Club de Venezuela
Asia – Middle East
Bahrain: Qatar Automobile and Touring Club
Bangladesh: Automobile Association of Bangladesh
India: Federation of Indian Automobile Associations
Indonesia: Ikatan Motor Indonesia
Iran: Touring and Automobile Club Islamic Republic of Iran
Iraq: Iraq Automobile and Touring Association
Japan: Japan Automobile Federation (JAF)
Jordan: Royal Automobile Club of Jordan
Kuwait: Kuwait Automobile and Touring Club
Lebanon: Automobile et Touring Club du Liban
Malaysia: Automobile Association of Malaysia
Oman: Oman Automobile Association
Pakistan: Automobile Association of Pakistan
Qatar: Qatar Automobile and Touring Club
Singapore: Automobile Association of Singapore
Sri Lanka: Automobile Association of Ceylon
Syria: Automobile-Club de Syrie
United Arab Emirates: Automobile & Touring Club for United Arab Emirates
Belgium*: Royal Automobile Club de Belgique
Denmark*: Forenede Danske Motorejere
Finland*: Automobile and Touring Club of Finland (Autoliitto)
Greece*: Automobile and Touring Club of Greece (ELPA)
Italy*: Automobile Club d’Italia
Monaco*: Automobile Club de France
Netherlands: Koninklijke Nederlandse Toeristenbond ANWB
Turkey*: Türkiye Turing ve Otomobil Kurumu (TTOK)
* In these countries, the carnet is required only for certain categories of vehicles. Mostly large trailer trucks from outside the EU. It goes without saying that if your car or truck is from the EU, you don’t need a CDP.
Australia: Australian Automobile Association
New Zealand: New Zealand Automobile Association
Vanuatu: Automobile Club de France