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Old 18 Feb 2012
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Border crossing and carnet

I am travelling across Africa on a motorbike that I don't own and with a carnet that doesn't have my name on it. Does anyone have any experience of crossing African borders such as Ethiopia in this situation? Is it likely to cause me a problem? Thanks Anna
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Old 21 Feb 2012
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Don´t know about that route in particular... but having someone else´s name on all vehicle papers usually does not make border crossings any easier, especially if the owner is not with you at the borders.
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Old 21 Feb 2012
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Agreed. My experience of going down the west coast would be that it won't matter so much with regards to ownership of the bike as no-one really asks for your vehicle registration docs, but the carnet will be checked.

Having said that people do this trip all the time without a carnet so if they do spot the name difference you can always try entering sans carnet...

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Old 21 Feb 2012
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Depends a lot on which countries you intend on visiting.

I'm not sure what your exact route is when you say across Africa but in some countries you might be ok but there are a couple (for example Egypt) where it would definitely cause problems. They are known for being sticklers for detail and there are stories of having small differences between carnets and registration pointed out to the owner once arriving in Egypt, despite having crossed many a border beforehand. I would place the odds of you getting into Egypt with incorrect ownership papers and carnet very low.

Also keep in mind there are a couple of levels of "problems". Having the correct documents should allow you to get into the country in most cases. Having incorrect documents can prevent you from getting in at all (worst case) but can also provide an opportunity for the border officials to extract additional "fees" to let you through. This just happened to me at the Nigerian into Benin crossing where they demanded to see my brown card insurance and when I actually produced it they still demanded ~$70 for a stamp. There was a lot of jumping up and down on my part to get my passport back after refusing to pay, I'm not sure I would have had much negotiating leverage if I had been travelling on incorrect documents.

In short, at a minimum obtain or create your own ownership papers that have the exact same name as that on your passport. In regards to the carnet, I wouldn't tempt fate by using it, stick to non carnet countries if you can.
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Old 21 Feb 2012
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Thanks for the response guys. Just to clarify a friend is taking my bike from Kenya into Ethiopia for me - he will be travelling with my husband who will be on his own bike. We already have 2 names on the carnet for my bike. Will it matter if our friends name isn't on the carnet - or any advice on how we might handle that border crossing?
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Old 6 Mar 2012
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I would be careful, until last year to enter Ethiopia you needed not only the CDP but also a letter from your Embassy declaring that you would not leave your vehicle in Ethiopia, this to say that there could be problems.
Why don't you try to have a letter certified by the Ethiopian Consulate where you authorize your friend to drive your bike? Just an idea.
Safari Njema!
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bike ownership, border crossing, carnet

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