Carnet de Passages


What is it?

The Carnet de Passages is an international customs document which permits the temporary duty-free importation of road vehicles into certain countries.

Why you need it? 

It is a guarantee for a foreign country that the vehicle will be re-exported within the time limit of duty-free importation, and that if it cannot be re-exported, that all duties and taxes will be paid. It is essentially a guarantee that you will not sell your vehicle inside the country without paying import duties.

Where to get it?

In the UK there is only one place to get it - the RAC. This presents a problem, because for some reason they want a ludicrously high guarantee. If you are looking to travel to Egypt, and have a £12 000 vehicle (in this day and age, that's very conceivable), the RAC wants a £96 000 guarantee! Having to obtain a Carnet de Passages at this proce is a show stopper for most people I know - and they haven't even begun!

For those of us not made of money, there is the option of using an insurance company that will provide the guarantee for a premium. However, this is by no means a cheap option either. For this Carnet we'd be looking at a £9 600 premium (+ 5% Insurance Premium Tax). That's practically the cost of the vehicle!! They are at pains to point out you will get half of the premium back when you return your vehicle safely to the UK and discharge the Carnet. However, you're still going to find yourself out of pocket for £5 280 just for this insurance.

I have to admit that neither of these options are very exciting! It seems an unjustly high cost for what basically amounts to a visa for your vehicle!

Unfortunately this is just the way the world works, and if you're lucky enough to be able to a trip of this magnitude. then by golly you have to pay for it! At this moment in time it's looking like Egypt is off the cards, which will reduce our carnet down to £18 000, a far more manageable fee!

For those of you able to register your vehicle in Germany, this is something to seriously consider. They ADAC (German version of the RAC) take 10% of the value of the carnet as security deposit, and you sign an agreement which basically allows them to come after you for an arm and a leg to recover any difference should you renege on your Carnet's terms and the ADAC has a claim laid against them.

The ADAC would, until very recently, supply Carnets to non-German residents. For reasons unknown to me (one can only guess!), agreements have been put in place to prevent them from doing so. C'est la vie!

For a great map showing where Carnets are required, accepted and not required - look here.


    1 .
    Make a few laminated copies of various pages of your carnet - in some countries 'officials' seemed determined to want to relieve us of our carnet! However providing them with 'official' copies kept both parties happy
    Trish and Colin :-) - 20 Jul 2008, 16:16
    2 .
    Are you sure the Germans ain't doing the Carnet for foreigners? Their website doesn't mention it - I'm gonna get someone to speak to them. The RAC carnet is a stitch up. Good luck with you all We are at x
    Andy - 23 Dec 2009, 8:32

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