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Carnet de Passages: what it is, whether it is needed and where to get it

If you plan to travel with your own car beyond Europe, you will most likely have to apply for a Carnet de Passages. What it is and where to get it – let’s try to understand in this article.

Introduction

Preparing for any journey requires encountering bureaucracy. Unfortunately, you can’t go anywhere without it. However, most often it is enough to issue a passport and travel insurance, get a visa if required and you can set off on your journey.

With a car, things are a bit more complicated. Here you will need Green Card insurance and, in some cases, an international driver’s license. I talk about this in detail in the article “How to travel abroad by car”.

And so, when your routes go off the beaten track in Europe or North America, you may suddenly hear about Carnet de Passages. And it is good if you hear about it in advance, on the Internet from more experienced travelers than at the customs of another country.

There isn’t a lot of information about Carnet. The whole point is that the countries that still require it are not the most easily accessible to the motorist and there are few of them.

What is Carnet de Passages

in French its full name is Carnet de Passages en Douane. This is a customs declaration created back in 1911 to facilitate customs declaration of a vehicle imported by a foreign citizen from abroad.

All theory aside, it works like this: in some countries the duty on importing a car is quite high. And to protect yourself from illegal import machinations of vehicles when you import it, you must either clear it or present a Carnet. It is a guarantee that when you leave the country, the car will leave with you. If this does not happen, the government will request a refund from the organization that issued you the declaration. This money will be withdrawn from your deposit.

The official document is valid for 12 months and is not car or liability insurance.

Which countries require a Carnet de Passages

In fact, many states have long since abandoned the use of this declaration. However, a number of countries still require a Carnet upon entry.

Information on the Internet is sometimes very contradictory. There are several reasons for this:

  • public authorities of some countries are virtually unrepresented or very poorly represented on the global network;
  • often travelers rely on their personal experience, especially like to say that the document is not necessary if they managed to get through without it.

The information below has been gathered from official sources and from the website of the German Automobile Association, which is responsible for the issuance of Carnets.

Carnet de Passages: what it is, whether it is needed and where to get it

Countries where Carnet de Passages are mandatory

  • 🇦🇺 Australia
  • 🇧🇩 Bangladesh
  • 🇧🇭 Bahrain
  • 🇧🇼 Botswana
  • 🇧🇳 Brunei Darussalam
  • 🇧🇮 Burundi
  • 🇧🇹 Bhutan
  • 🇻🇪 Venezuela
  • 🇹🇱 East Timor
  • 🇪🇬 Egypt
  • 🇮🇳 India
  • 🇮🇩 Indonesia
  • 🇮🇶 Iraq
  • 🇮🇷 Iran
  • 🇶🇦 Qatar
  • 🇰🇪 Kenya
  • 🇱🇸 Lesotho
  • 🇱🇾 Libya
  • 🇲🇼 Malawi
  • 🇲🇾 Malaysia
  • 🇲🇲 Myanmar (Burma)
  • 🇳🇦 Namibia
  • 🇳🇵 Nepal
  • 🇳🇿 New Zealand
  • 🇦🇪 UAE
  • 🇴🇲 Oman
  • 🇵🇰 Pakistan
  • 🇵🇪 Peru
  • 🇷🇼 Rwanda
  • 🇸🇳 Senegal
  • 🇸🇬 Singapore
  • 🇸🇾 Syria
  • 🇸🇩 Sudan
  • 🇹🇿 Tanzania
  • 🇺🇬 Uganda
  • 🇪🇨 Ecuador
  • 🇸🇿 Eswatini (Swaziland)
  • 🇿🇦 SOUTH AFRICA
  • 🇸🇸 South Sudan
  • 🇯🇵 Japan

When you enter any of these countries with your own car or motorcycle, you must show a Carnet. Without it, you will not be allowed in, and if you do, you may have your vehicle confiscated at the exit or be forced to pay a heavy fine.

Countries where Carnet de Passages are recommended

  • 🇦🇷 Argentina
  • 🇧🇯 Benin
  • 🇧🇫 Burkina Faso
  • 🇬🇦 Gabon
  • 🇬🇲 Gambia
  • 🇬🇭 Ganna
  • 🇬🇳 Guinea
  • 🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau
  • 🇨🇬 D.R. Congo
  • 🇩🇯 Djibouti
  • 🇿🇲 Zambia
  • 🇿🇼 Zimbabwe
  • 🇯🇴 Jordan
  • 🇨🇲 Cameroon
  • 🇨🇴 Colombia
  • 🇨🇩 Congo
  • 🇨🇷 Costa Rica
  • 🇨🇮 Côte d’Ivoire
  • 🇱🇧 Lebanon
  • 🇲🇱 Mali
  • 🇲🇿 Mozambique
  • 🇲🇳 Mongolia
  • 🇳🇪 Niger
  • 🇳🇬 Nigeria
  • 🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia
  • 🇹🇬 Togo
  • 🇺🇾 Uruguay
  • 🇨🇫 CAR
  • 🇹🇩 Chad
  • 🇨🇱 Chile
  • 🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea
  • 🇪🇹 Ethiopia

Officially, the above declaration is not on the list of requirements here, but they recognize it and having it removes most of the questions of the customs authorities. Therefore, it is better to have it available so as not to complicate your life.

Carnet de Passages is not necessary

  • 🇦🇹 Austria
  • 🇦🇿 Azerbaijan
  • 🇦🇱 Albania
  • 🇩🇿 Algeria
  • 🇦🇴 Angola
  • 🇦🇩 Andorra
  • 🇦🇲 Armenia
  • 🇦🇫 Afghanistan
  • 🇧🇿 Belize
  • 🇧🇪 Belgium
  • 🇧🇾 Belarus
  • 🇧🇴 Bolivia
  • 🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • 🇧🇷 Brazil
  • 🇻🇦 Vatican City
  • 🇬🇧 United Kingdom
  • 🇭🇺 Hungary
  • 🇬🇾 Guyana
  • 🇬🇹 Guatemala
  • 🇩🇪 Germany
  • 🇭🇳 Honduras
  • 🇬🇷 Greece
  • 🇬🇪 Georgia
  • 🇪🇭 Western Sahara
  • 🇮🇱 Israel
  • 🇮🇪 Ireland
  • 🇪🇸 Spain
  • 🇮🇸 Iceland
  • 🇮🇹 Italy
  • 🇾🇪 Yemen
  • 🇰🇿 Kazakhstan
  • 🇨🇦 Canada
  • 🇨🇾 Cyprus
  • 🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan
  • 🇨🇳 China
  • 🇽🇰 Kosovo
  • 🇱🇻 Latvia
  • 🇱🇷 Liberia
  • 🇱🇹 Lithuania
  • 🇱🇮 Liechtenstein
  • 🇱🇺 Luxembourg
  • 🇲🇷 Mauritania
  • 🇲🇬 Madagascar
  • 🇲🇹 Malta
  • 🇲🇦 Morocco
  • 🇲🇽 Mexico
  • 🇲🇩 Moldova
  • 🇲🇨 Monaco
  • 🇳🇱 Netherlands
  • 🇳🇮 Nicaragua
  • 🇳🇴 Norway
  • 🇵🇦 Panama
  • 🇵🇾 Paraguay
  • 🇵🇱 Poland
  • 🇵🇹 Portugal
  • 🇷🇺 Russia
  • 🇷🇴 Romania
  • 🇸🇻 El Salvador
  • 🇸🇲 San Marino
  • 🇲🇰 North Macedonia
  • 🇷🇸 Serbia
  • 🇸🇰 Slovakia
  • 🇸🇮 Slovenia
  • 🇸🇴 Somalia
  • 🇸🇷 Suriname
  • 🇺🇸 U.S.
  • 🇸🇱 Sierra Leone
  • 🇹🇯 Tajikistan
  • 🇹🇳 Tunisia
  • 🇹🇲 Turkmenistan
  • 🇹🇷 Turkey
  • 🇺🇦 Ukraine
  • 🇺🇿 Uzbekistan
  • 🇫🇮 Finland
  • 🇫🇷 France
  • 🇬🇫 French Guinea
  • 🇵🇫 French Polynesia
  • 🇲🇪 Montenegro
  • 🇨🇿 Czech Republic
  • 🇨🇭 Switzerland
  • 🇸🇪 Sweden
  • 🇪🇷 Eritrea
  • 🇪🇪 Estonia

In these countries, you only need the standard documents for traveling by car. You can safely import and export your vehicle without a declaration, which is the subject of this article.

No precise information

  • 🇻🇺 Vanuatu
  • 🇳🇨 New Caledonia
  • 🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea
  • 🇰🇵 North Korea
  • 🇹🇼 Taiwan
  • 🇫🇯 Fiji
  • 🇵🇭 Philippines
  • 🇰🇷 South Korea

No information on these countries yet, but I’m working on updating the article with current data.

Where to apply for a Carnet de Passages

It’s all in the details. And this is where we come up against one of the main problems: where to formalize the Carnet de Passage? Ideally, national automobile associations should do it. That is, you go to the official website, find the contacts of the automobile association in your country of vehicle registration, go to them and get everything done.

But that would be too easy. Because in some countries there are no such associations. In others, they do exist, but de facto do not function or do not fulfill their function. For example, in my country, Ukraine, the automobile association simply said that they did not issue this document and that it was my problem.

In such a case, automobile associations of civilized countries come to the rescue. For example, it is reliably known that it is possible to obtain a Carnet de Passages in the USA, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

When traveling in your own car in Iran, Iraq, Egypt and a number of other countries, you cannot do without Carnet de Passages

And, at the time of writing this article, I consider the German ADAC to be the best option, as they issue documents for foreign-registered cars and do it online as well. Although the prices are a bit higher than in Eastern European countries.

How to issue a Carnet de Passages

To obtain a Carnet de Passages, you will have to pay for the procedure of its production (depending on the organization and country it will cost you $300 – $600) and make a deposit.

The deposit depends on the value of the car. For example, the deposit for a car costing up to 7500 euros will be 5000 euros, and for a car costing 80000 euros it will vary from 15000 to 60000 dollars (depending on the countries to be covered by the guarantee).

Perhaps the deposit is the main stumbling block, as not every traveler has 5,000 euros in reserve that they can seamlessly deposit into a bank account as guarantees.

The Carnet de Passages can only be issued in the name of one person and one vehicle. This means that it is not transferable to another person.

If you’ll be processing it through ADAC, you’ll need to send in a complete application packet:

  • Original and signed application form version 23A (3 pages);
  • copy of the ID card or passport (for citizens of other countries – a foreign passport);
  • copy of the vehicle registration documents;
  • copy of the automobile membership card of the national automobile association – FIA member (if available, gives a significant discount on registration);
  • for camping vehicles, a copy of a current appraisal report or proof of the current value of the vehicle;
  • An original and signed bond (2 pages) if you do not own the vehicle.

Send it all by e-mail to cdp@adac.de or to the following address (ADAC eV, Carnet de Passages, Hansastr. 19, 80686 München/Munich, Germany).

Carnet de Passages price calculator

As you may have understood from the article, the price is calculated according to a flexible formula and depends on the issuing organization. I have created the calculator below especially for you, which is designed to calculate the cost of processing and the deposit when processing through a German association.

Страна регистрации вашего транспортного средства
Авто является членом национального автоклуба FIA
Тип транспортного средства
Категория стран для посещения
Текущая стоимость автомобиля в долларах
Куда нужно доставить документы почтой (DHL)

CDP Utilization

The Carnet must be presented to customs officials at each customs entry/exit point of your trip, date stamped on the appropriate “entry/exit” voucher and in the appropriate entry/exit stub fields at the top of each sheet.

Customs officials will retain the vouchers and return them to the traveler with the appropriate box on the stamped and dated stub.

Renewal of Carnet de Passages

At the ADAC discussed above, you can renew your declaration without having to make a new deposit. It will only be sufficient to pay the issuance fee. To do this, email about 4 weeks before it expires and follow the required paperwork and payment steps. The link to the application form is above in the article.

Refund of deposit

As you realize, the deposit is high enough to forget about and give to the company. Therefore, it will need to be returned at the end of the trip.

When your journey is over and your car returns to the country of registration, present your car and the Carnet de Passages booklet to the national customs office. He must stamp and validate the Certificate of Location (page 26 of the book). For vehicles registered in the EU, any EU customs authority can validate the Certificate of Location. If you have an additional book, please remember to send a copy of the first page inside. This copy must contain the vehicle data as well as the stamp of the foreign customs office.

After that, the book is sent to the authority where you issued the Carnet. After checking the documents and carrying out a number of bureaucratic procedures, the deposit should be reimbursed to your bank account.

How to do without Carnet de Passages

Can I cheat the system and not buy a Carnet de Passages? Yes, in some countries there is a solution in the form of local insurance or customs clearance.

For example, Iran has such a service, which is arranged by enterprising locals in advance and bring the documents to you at the border.

This method has a few notable disadvantages:

  1. Such a detour is sometimes very expensive. In Iran, for example, I was charged 650 euros for my car. Of course, I will pay a deposit of about 5,000 euros for the carnet, but then I can get it back. The money left for customs clearance will not be returned to you.
  2. In that case, you will pay again each time you enter each country. And Passage is valid for 12 months in a number of countries, with the possibility of extension.

Therefore, if you travel a lot with your own car or are going to travel around the world with it – it is worth considering the possibility of issuing an official Carnet de Passages, making a deposit for it and quietly moving around the desired countries.

Find out which countries require a Carnet de Passage and where you can go without one.

If you plan to enter the country only once to explore it, consider different options, including alternative ones. Thus, after a long analysis, I came to the conclusion that it was easier for me not to enter Iran during my big trip through Central Asia, but to take a ferry from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan. I would visit Iran separately by flying there by plane, renting a local car and driving around as much as I like.

Conclusions

Unfortunately, even in the 21st century, traveling is not devoid of unnecessary bureaucracy, which was invented 100 years ago and has not changed a bit. In this respect, traveling by car poses a number of problems along with the undoubted advantages it offers us.

The Carnet de Passage is still required in a number of countries, though not the most popular for car travelers. Most travelers will never encounter the need to obtain one, so there is so little information on the Internet.

Still, if you are a real car enthusiast and adventurer, sooner or later you will need this yellow book. And then the best option would be to find out about the registration in the national automobile association, and if they can’t help you – to apply to one of the European associations, which process documents also online.

Have fun traveling, my dears!

Frequent questions and answers

How long does it take to make a Carnet de Passages?

Once all fees and deposit are paid, it usually takes 2 to 4 weeks, but can vary for different associations and high season.

Can private companies execute a Carnet?

No. Beware of scammers. Only national automobile associations – members of the Federation of Automobile Associations – can issue Karnet. You can find their list here.

If you have paid customs fees in your host country with a valid CPD, how will you be refunded the cash guarantee?

If for any reason you are required to pay customs taxes and fees on temporary importation into a host country where Carnet de Passages are required, you must provide proof of payment of the fees in order for your CPD security deposit to be refunded.

What should I do if my car is damaged or stolen in the host country?

Exposure of a vehicle to theft or damage does not exempt the owner of the vehicle from any liability. In such cases, the owner/driver must obtain a police report and then submit it to the customs authorities of that country to initiate the appropriate formalities for the issuance of a Carnet de Passages.

What should I do if my travel ticket is lost?

If you lose your Carnet de Passages, you must immediately notify the organization issuing it and contact the local police to report the fact. On your return, you will need to have your vehicle checked by the national transportation authority and issued with a certificate of location stamped by the authorities before you can remit the security deposit.

What should I do if I forget to put a CPD stamp on one of the boundaries?

At each point of entry and exit to your country of travel, make sure that customs officials at border posts stamp the CPD. The stamp is official evidence that the vehicle has been re-exported out of the country. On your return to request a refund of your security deposit, your vehicle must be inspected by the national transport or customs authority and the Certificate of Location (last page) must show the date and their stamp.

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