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Carnet Carnet de Passages en Douane

What is a carnet de Passage en douane?
Translated, "carnet de Passages en Douane" actually means "Notebook for Passing Through Customs" and is often abbreviated to just carnet or in some countries triptic.

A carnet (pronounced car-nay) is a simple customs document, which acts as a passport for your motor vehicle when you take it overseas. It allows you to temporarily import your vehicle for a limited period of time without the need to pay cash at the border, equivalent to the customs duty and other excise taxes. It helps to save time and hassle when dealing with customs officers at international borders.

The vehicle, to which the carnet refers, once having been granted temporary importation status, must be removed from the country within the time limit imposed by that country. If it is not, the country will be paid all duties and taxes that would normally be required to permanently import the vehicle.

The use of a carnet is an alternative to leaving cash security deposits with foreign governments. Use of the carnet is restricted to the countries listed on the back cover and it is valid for one year from the date of issue.

How does it work?
The carnet comes in the shape of a number of sheets, usually ten or twenty-five, stapled together into a book. Each sheet is divided into three perforated sections and each section has details of your vehicle on it. As you enter a country all three section of one sheet are stamped and signed by the customs officials, who keep the first (volet d'entrÚe) section. As you leave the country the second (volet de sortie) section is kept and the third section, the counterfoil (souche) is stamped and signed again by the customs officials. The double stamped counterfoil, which remains in the carnet, acts as a receipt proving that you have left the country with your vehicle.

Once you have completed your trip and returned to your home country you must discharge your carnet. You must return the double stamped counterfoils, along with any unused sheets of the carnet to the relevant Automobile Association or Organisation that issued it and they will discharge the carnet. Failure to do this or if you do not have all the double stamped counterfoils could prove costly, as you may not receive any deposit held by the organisation or even have to pay importation duties on your vehicle

How can I get one?
You must apply to a member of the AIT/FIA carnet network, which guarantees to Customs' authorities around the world payment of customs duties on motor vehicles, temporarily imported for touring purposes.

Generally this means your local Automobile Association or in the case of American's The US Council for International Business. You will be asked to fill in an application form and supply relevant information about your vehicle (along with proof, like a vehicle registration document). You will also need to pay an administration fee, the cost of the carnet and often a deposit, which will be refunded after the carnet is discharged.

With all this information the issuing organisation will then estimate the value your vehicle and calculate the highest level of duty payable in all of the countries you plan to visit. The level of duty payable varies considerably from country to country and is usually based on the value of the vehicle, plus a percentage duty that can range from 150% (most of Africa) to 400% (Iran, Pakistan and India) or more.

  • A UKú10,000/US$15,000 vehicle going from the UK to India would require a bond of UKú40,000/US$60,000, the vehicle value plus 400% required in Iran, Pakistan and India.
Once you have this bond you must provide sufficient security against liability, which can be done in one of three ways.
  1. Leave the required bond deposited in a sealed bank account.
  2. Get your bank to cover the amount of bond against some kind of collateral (money, property or shares).
  3. Pay an insurance premium to underwrite the cost of the bond (usually between 3 to 5% of the bond). You will be required to fill in an application form and submit various documents.
When you have sufficiently covered your bond you will be issued with a carnet, which will be valid for one year from the date of issue.

How much will it cost?
The cost of your carnet will vary depending in which country you apply and also whether you choose to pay the full amount of the bond upfront or whether you choose to use an insurance company to underwrite the amount of the bond. Below is an example of a vehicle whose bond was estimated at UKú28,970/US$43,455, underwritten by an insurance company and applied for in the UK.

25 page carnet - UKú75 / US$115
Refundable deposit - UKú500 / USú750
Insurance premium - UKú1440.60 / US$
Total cost - UKú2015.60 / US$3025

Where can I get one?

The cost of the carnet varies from country to country. You do not need to get the Carnet from your country of residence. Here are the main carnet providers :

The Royal Automobile Club (Touring Information)
PO Box 700
Bradley Stokes
Bristol BS99 1RB
Telephone 01454 208000

RL Davison - Telephone 0171 816 9876

ATA carnet Headquarters and Service Bureau
1212 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Facsimile 212-944-0012 Telephone 212-354-4480
Email atacarnet@uscib.org

If the vehicle is for personal pleasure trip overseas, you will need to contact the Canadian Automobile Association for a CPD Carnet.

Or your Regional Service Bureaus
Addresses are found here

CAA Head Office
1145 Hunt Club Road, Suite 200
Ottawa, Ontario
K1V 0Y3
Facsimile (613) 247-0118 Telephone: (613) 247-0117
Office Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30-4:30
Web site : http://www.caa.ca

Or your local CAA office
Addresses are found here.

The Australian Automobile Association
ABN 25 008 526 369
216 Northbourne Avenue
Facsimile +61 2 6257 5320 Telephone +61 2 6247 7311
Email aaa@aaa.asn.au

Further information can be obtained by contacting the International Motoring Department of the Constituent members of the Australian Automobile Association.
Addresses found here.

Europe and elsewhere
Please apply to your respective FIM approved Automobile Association

Other documentation Necessary

International Driving Permit (IDP)
This permit is a multilingual booklet that is basically a translation of your driving licence into various common languages like French, Japanese and Arabic. Although it is rarely asked for, it is required in certain countries and as it contains your photograph it is quite useful as a further piece of documentation to show border officials. It is easily obtained, for a small fee, from your National Automobile Association.

International Certificate of Motor Vehicles (ICMV)
This certificate is a multilingual booklet that is basically a translation of your vehicle registration documentation into various common languages like French, German and Arabic. It is required in certain countries like Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, Somalia and Uruguay and recommended in Russian speaking areas or anywhere where its translations will be more readily understood. It is easily obtained, for a small fee, from your National Automobile Association and will require you to fill out an application form with your vehicles relevant details.

Green Card
A Green Card is an extension to your insurance document. For residents of the UK a green card is necessary for Europe and certain other countries like Morocco, Tunisia and Iran. It is easily obtainable from your insurance company.

Camping Card International (CCI)
A Camping Card International (CCI) provides third party insurance against bodily injury and/or property damage for up to eleven people (pets included) in camping grounds around the world. Some camping grounds also offer a discount when a CCI is produced.

The CCI is regarded as a camper's identity document and may be deposited with the campsite manager in lieu of your official identity documents (However sight of passport may be requested).

A Camping Card International is available from your local automobile club, though you usually need to be a member. They are valid for 12 months and cost about UKú5.

Further Information

Alliance Internationale de Tourisme - this not for profit organisation co-ordinates the Carnet system internationally. The website contains useful information including a map listing carnet requirements.


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