The “Carnet de Passage”

November 6, 2013

What in the World is “Carnet de Passage”?!

If you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and are planning to explore abroad, the experience can be an exhilarating one. You’ll have a variety of preparations to make to ensure that you yourself can travel overseas, but if you plan to take your own vehicle, or have it shipped over, there are a few more steps than just getting your personal passport. You’ll need a document for your car, called a Carnet de Passage. This customs document is essentially a passport for your vehicle and its use assures the country you’re taking your car to that you do plan to leave and take your vehicle with you.

The carnet de passage is not required in all countries. You’ll need a carnet in various parts of Africa, New Zealand, Australia, the Middle East, Finland, Greece, Italy, Belgium, Turkey, Vanuatu and Denmark, to name a few. There are several South American countries that require the carnet de passage as well.

How do you get this oh-so-important document?

You make an application to the national automobile club in your country. In the United States and Canada, the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) issues carnets for overseas travel. If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen and your vehicle is registered in the United Kingdom, Ireland or the Channel Islands, the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) issues carnets for travel.

To be sure that you’ll get your document in time for your trip, you’ll want to apply for the carnet (or vehicle passport) with a minimum of a month before your trip. You’ll have to submit an application for the carnet, with multiple photographs of the vehicle and two photographs of yourself (as the applicant).

You’ll also need to submit a copy of your driver’s license, vehicle registration and passport and pay an indemnity policy, deposits and a financial guarantee. If your application for a carnet is approved, it is valid for a year.

What does the carnet do for international travelers?

When you receive a carnet de passage, the document will save you from paying duties and taxes when your vehicle arrives, and in the various countries you may drive through. The carnet serves as a guarantee that the subject vehicle will be leaving the country you have imported it into. After you receive the carnet, you’ll be free to travel.

According to RAC, the document’s pages are made in three parts – when you enter a country, the customs agent will take the bottom third of the page; they’ll take the second portion when you leave the country and the final third is stamped when you enter and when you leave. You keep that last portion of the document.

When you return from your travel, you may have to return the carnet – with any unused pages or the stamped top portions of used pages – to the issuing automotive club. After the issuer gets those portions of the document back, they will refund your deposit and a portion of the insurance premium you paid with your application for the document.

Now that you have your car and carnet de passage ready to go, sign into Trekeffect, plan your trip and share it with your friends!

-April Bamburg

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips & Tricks

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April Bamburg
April Bamburg is a freelance writer specializing in community news, travel writing, press releases and other blog posts. She dreams of traveling the world and getting lost in Italy, Turkey or even Scotland.
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