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Old 4 Dec 2001
Susan Johnson's Avatar
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Canada
Posts: 695
Carnet 101

I recently received a letter from an individual on this topic. Thought others might be interested in the response.

Dear Susan

I am Australian and while I have travelled to many countries, I have never taken a bike out of Australia.

I am planning two trips.

The first will be in USA, Canada and Mexico (and maybe to Guatemala). Am I right in assuming that I don't need a carnet for these countries?

The second (a more long-term plan) will be in two legs. The first leg I will ship the bike from Australia to Klang (Malaysia). I will ride around Sumatra (Indonesia), Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. I will then ship the bike from Klang to Madras and ride through India, Nepal, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Egypt. From Egypt I will either ship the bike back to Australia or try to sell it there or in Israel.

I have got three questions there. Which countries require a carnet and what happens if I sell the bike in Egypt or Israel? Will I be prevented on boarding the aeroplane to go back to Australia?

My response:

"In order to get the carnet, you tell the auto association which countries you plan to travel to. You are normally required to post a bond for an amount equal to the highest potential import duty rate for any country which you plan to travel to. This could be as much as several times the value of the bike you're riding. The carnet issuer then indicates which countries the carnet is valid for on the reverse side of the document.

Here's the kicker. You get that bond back ONLY if:

1. you return the bike to the country you came from (with the carnet duly stamped for re-entry). OR
2. you demonstrate to the satisfaction of the carnet issuer that you have paid any duties and taxes associated with selling the vehicle in another country.

So, if you have a carnet and you use it when you enter a country such as Egypt, they don't care if you leave the country without the bike, but you won't have the proper exit stamp in the carnet to prove you took it with you. So you will forfeit your bond to the auto association.

Some countries don't use a carnet, instead they stamp your passport with the vehicle details on entry. In that case, you would be unable to leave the country without the vehicle.

I hope this helps make things clearer. It is a very complex subject, I've only scratched the surface of it. There are some auto associations which don't require a bond, instead they use an insurance policy to guarantee payment of duties. Don't know what the Australian auto associations do, but I suggest your first point of contact is to check with both of them (AA and RAC) to find out their procedures, which may be different from Canada."

Also, check this link for a description of the carnet system: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/tri...er/index.shtml

And a good post by Graeme from NZ on the bond vs. insurance topic with an example: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/ubb...ML/000098.html

As always, please search the HUBB and the site before posting an inquiry or e-mailing. There are 59 pages on the HUBB alone on the topic of carnets.

Good luck and safe travels!

Susan Johnson
Share the Dream at <A HREF="http://www.HorizonsUnlimited.com

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Susan Johnson

Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997
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