Carnet de Passages
Essentially a customs document that identifies our vehicle; the vehicle's
passport. It gets stamped when we enter a particular country and stamped
again on exit, thereby averting heavy importation charges.
We found information relating to the Carnet on various
websites where people had shipped their own vehicle. But most information
either related to Africa rather than South America, or was out of
date. Also, a number of websites stated that in the UK you could get
the Carnet from either the RAC or the AA. Although this used to be
the case, at present it can only be purchased from the RAC. Rather
annoying as we belong to the AA and it is more expensive for non-RAC
We phoned Sue Collins and Paul Gowen at the RAC (tel: +44 (0)1454
208000), who were very helpful, patiently talking through the details
and answering our numerous questions.
- The Carnet itself is valid for a maximum of one year and can be purchased
with 5, 10 or 25 pages. You need one page per importation/exportation
procedure. Each page is divided into three sections - one part is removed
by customs on entry, one part is removed by customs on exit and the
third part gets stamped on both entry and exit and remains in the booklet.
We chose 25 pages to be on the safe side as we would
be undergoing the temporary importation/exportation procedure more
than 10 times, especially when we reached Chile, Argentina and Patagonia
- The Carnet takes approximately 3 weeks to organise. To purchase one,
you need to provide the RAC with a security or bond. This is protection
for them, as on issuing the Carnet, they are responsible for payment
of customs duties/taxes if regulations were to be infringed (eg if we
did not bring the vehicle back to the UK).
This security can take one of three forms:
1) A cash deposit provided to the RAC
2) An insurance indemnity - you pay an insurance premium
to underwrite the cost of the bond. Currently (June 2003) this is
10% of the overall bond. You have no choice in the insurer - you have
to use the one specified by the RAC (currently R L Davison). 50 %
of this sum is refundable once the Carnet is discharged to the RAC
upon your return to the UK.
3) A Bank Guarantee - you put the sum in a sealed bank account, whilst
it accrues interest!
The security/bond is determined by the rates of customs duty and taxes
in the countries visited. As of June 2003, the amount of security/bond
required by the RAC for South America is 300% of the vehicle's value
in the country of registration. So, for a vehicle valued at £5,000,
you would need to provide security to the amount of £15,000!
- There are various other charges depending on which of the above options
you choose (eg £35 administration charge for the Bank Guarantee).
The Carnet itself ranges from £60 to £75 (RAC members) or
£75 to £90 (non-RAC members), depending on the number of
pages you opt for.
On completion of the trip, you need to return the Carnet to the RAC
in Bristol, and provided the necessary entry/exit stamps are all in
order, the Carnet will be discharged and your security released. Otherwise
you might be held liable for any possible import charges.
For the huge cost, let's hope it does save time and hassle at the border
UK Driving Licence
We decided to change our paper licences to the new photocard driving
licence - useful as an additional photo ID if needed.
International Driving Permit
This is an essential document in most of the countries we are going
to visit but more of a bargain than the Carnet at only £4!!
We phoned the AA and were informed that everywhere on our trip, apart
from Brazil, accepted either our UK driving licence and/or the International
Driving Permit; to drive in Brazil you needed to get a Brazilian driving
licence. We were a bit perplexed by this advice, as all the guidebooks
we had read, together with the tourist information on the Brazilian
Consulate website, all clearly stated you only needed your UK driving
licence and that the IDP was recommended. No mention of the requirement
for a Brazilian licence. We shall see
International Certificate of Motor Vehicles
This too is recommended. It is basically a translation
of our vehicle registration document. Again a bargain at only £4.
We still need to arrange this and are currently gathering quotes, so
watch this space