What is a Carnet de Passage?

Ever wondered what that French sounding document everyone keeps going on about is actually for? Here’s what you need to know about the Carnet de Passage.

What is a carnet de passage (cdp)

Carnet de Passage for Motorcycle Travel

The Carnet de Passage en Douane (commonly known as Carnet or CDP) is an internationally-recognised customs document, which allows you to temporarily import your vehicle into a country without having to leave a cash deposit at the border.

It acts as an international guarantee to the country you’re entering, promising that your Carnet’s issuer will cover any taxes or duties owed if you don’t export your vehicle.

To get the Carnet in the first place, you have to leave a security deposit or guarantee (how much depends on the value of your bike and the countries you’re visiting) with the issuer.

To put it simply, if you don’t export and the country complains, your Carnet issuer will give them your security money.

Temporary Import

To enter a foreign country with your vehicle, you will need to go through Customs first and temporarily import your vehicle. Each country has their own rules on this import process. For some countries you must have a CDP, for others you can use a Temporary Import Declaration instead. Of course, avoiding Carnet countries will make your trip easier and cheaper, but if you’re on a round-the-world epic and want to visit all continents, then you’re probably going to need a Carnet at some point.

Carnet countries

 A Carnet is not required for Europe, North America, South America, West Asia, Central Asia and East Asia. It is required for many countries in Africa, South East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East as well as Australia and New Zealand.

The Overlanding Association has a nifty map with info on Carnet countries. Check it out here.

Frequently Asked CDP Questions 

How long does a CDP last and can I renew it?

The CDP lasts one year. You can apply for a new CDP once your current one has expired, even if you are out of your home country. Your old CDP must be sent back to the issuer in your home country.  

Does it affect how long I can stay in the country?  

No. Each country has its own rules for how long you can stay. The CDP lasts 12 months, but that doesn’t mean you can stay in the country for 12 months.

What paperwork do I need to get a CDP?

A copy of your passport, driver’s licence, vehicle registration document and a completed Carnet application form.

How do I use a CDP?

You’ll get a little booklet (you can pay extra for more pages). Each page in the booklet is split into three parts. Upon entering a country, a customs official will stamp you in on the top part of the page and keep the lower section. 

When exiting, a customs official will stamp you out on the top of the page and keep the middle part of the page. It’s important you get your vehicle stamped in and out correctly, as this proves you have temporarily imported and exported the vehicle.

Once you’ve finished your trip, or used your CDP up, you must return it to your CDP issuer. Before doing so, you will need to fill out the final page and have it witnessed by a customs official in the UK or your final importation country. If you’re overseas, then take clear, detailed pictures of each page before posting, and post it securely.

How much is a Carnet?

In the UK, a 5-page CDP is £215, 10-page is £230, 25-page is £255. You must also provide the CDP issuer with an insurance indemnity or a part-refundable deposit on top of the CDP cost. The amount of each depends on the value of your vehicle. When you make an application, your CDP issuer will let you know the prices for both options.  

What happens if my motorbike is stolen?

Get a police report and speak to customs in that country to confirm that your CDP is discharged and nothing else is owed.

Where do I get a Carnet from?

In the UK, the company CARS is the only CDP supplier. 

To find out who your country’s Carnet supplier is, visit the official Carnet de Passage website here www.carnetdepassage.org

Do I have to get the Carnet from my home country?

No. You do not have to get it from your home country and can actually apply to a foreign carnet company – provided they are happy to accept your request. You also do not need to be in your home country when you apply.

Read more on motorcycle travel and paperwork

Thanks for checking out this Carnet de Passage for Motorcycle Travellers guide. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more related articles on motorcycle travel and paperwork that we recommend you read next. 

Try these next…

Are you planning a big trip and figuring out motorcycle paperwork? If you have any questions, please post your comments below. We’d love to hear from you. 

 

29 thoughts on “What is a Carnet de Passage?”

  1. Hi….I am an Englishman living in Russia at the moment. I own a Harley Davidson Road King and I’m planning to ride it home to England this summer. Do I need a CDP even though the chart says no? I can purchase insurance here in Russia to cover me through Europe and the UK.
    Any advice on my proposed trip will be great … thanks 👍.

    Reply
    • Hi Johnnie, sounds like a great trip you have planned!
      A Carnet is country dependent, so for example, you need it to ride in India but not Tajikistan.
      So, that means it’s completely depends on your route and which countries you’re going through.
      However, as you said you’re in Russia and riding home to England, you’d have to go exceptionally far out of your way to hit a Carnet country – so unless you’re planning on going China/India/Pakistan/Iran you won’t need one.
      Hope this helps,
      Cheers,
      Andy

      Reply
  2. Hi Andy

    Thanks for the informative article. I have 2 questions

    1. Does Carnet has mention of the countries that I intend to travel to ? For eg. mentioning India raises the cost of Carnet significantly. Is it possible to not mention India but still able to enter India quoting there is a change of plan ?

    2. If the vehicle is formally imported at one of the Carnet country & duty being paid, will sending a proof from Customs dept to the Carnet issuing authority can get the deposit paid back ?

    Advance thanks for your answers.

    Reply
    • Hi Ashish,
      1. Yes, Carnets stipulate the countries you travel to as it makes a difference to the amount of deposit or insurance paid to the CDP company.
      2. This is a question for your carnet issuing company to be sure, but yes you will need proof it has been imported and to return the CDP to the company. But the exact procedure will be dependent on your carnet company – I would advise contacting them and ask what documents they need and if the CDP needs to be stamped out after import.
      Hope this helps,
      Cheers,
      Andy

      Reply
      • Thanks Andy for the reply. While I understand & agree on the price point, my question was more like – will Indian custom authorities not allow the vehicle to enter India if the CDP does not have mention of India on it ? Is this something that will vary from country/custom to country ?

        Reply
        • Hi Ashish,
          Sorry for my late reply, it’s a very good question and to be honest, not something i’m entirely sure of. I’ve asked a few people and am awaiting their replies hence the late reply. But so far, it’s uncertain. I’m not sure if that’s something customs will look out for on the CDP. I would assume it is and they’d want to make sure it’s valid for their country. The other issue is if anything happens to your bike there and customs tries to contact your issuer who will of course inform them that it wasn’t valid in the first place.
          My inkling is that customs will check for validity, to match the fact that Carnets cost more for certain countries, like Iran and Egypt etc. But let me get back to you on this.
          Cheers,
          Andy

          Reply
  3. Hi
    I am planing to goto Pakistan from UK, i am aware the charges for applying Carnet, but if i dont have security funds as a deposit then how much would be the insurance on average as a security holding. I would be happy if you assist me.
    Many thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Arsalan, sounds like a great trip riding to Pakistan!
      Okay, so firstly I’m going to assume you will be travelling on a UK registered bike and in that case you will be using Cars (https://www.carseurope.net/carnet-de-passage-en-douanes-cpd/) which are the UK based company that handle CDPs for UK registered vehicles.
      So, you will need to contact Suki from Cars and she will be able to advise you on what the deposit and security insurance amounts are.
      We can’t give you an estimation on this amount because it depends on what motorcycle you are using and its value. Get in touch with Suki, she’s very helpful and will be able to give you an accurate price.
      Hope this helps,
      Cheers,
      Andy

      Reply
  4. Hi,
    I’m a Italian, living in Thailand so I have Thai motorbike license and my motorbike is registered in Thailand, but Thailand doesn’t offer any CDP, I was planing in traveling from Thailand true Malaysia and Indonesia all the way to Bali and back, but I see that Indonesia requires CDP, what can I do and what are my alternative if any, also if you can give me a bit more info on Vietnam because that country is a little confusing in there requirement as that is going to be my alternative trip if I can’t get to Indonesia.
    Thank you so much for everything.

    Reply
    • Hi Domenico, sorry for the late reply, we’ve just arrived in Australia and are trying to collect our bike from customs so it’s a bit crazy at the moment!
      Firstly, brilliant to hear you’re planning on riding around SEA.

      Thailand
      As far as I’m aware, you can easily travel between Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and Laos on your Thai registered bike. But for Indonesia, even though it’s part of the ASEAN network, you still need a CDP.
      There is a Facebook group called Indonesia Overland Network , the admin is Thomas (super helpful guy), I contacted him regarding your question, and he agrees that a CDP is needed for Indo, even with a Thai registered bike.
      You can get a CDP from another country, it doesn’t have to be from Thailand.

      Vietnam
      I don’t think you can take your Thai bike into Vietnam either. It’s very hard to get any foreign bike into Vietnam. I believe you can take a Vietnamese bike to Laos and Cambodia though.
      The easiest option is to rent a bike in Vietnam. You can find all of our Vietnam guides, how to ride the Ha Giang Loop and our recommended rental and tour companies there in our Vietnam page.

      Alternatively
      You can, with a Thai registered registered bike, travel through Laos and Cambodia easily. And there are some amazing routes that way.
      Going to Indo with a bike is tricky to say the least, the first biker to get the boat from Malaysia to Java in 3 years since covid only did it like 6 months ago and there’s been no news since (the boats all closed down after covid) so you need to go from KL to Borneo, cross the border and get a ferry to Java. It’s a very, very long process.
      If you do decide to do this option, we have a tonne of info on our Indonesia page including all of your shipping options.

      I hope this helps,
      Cheers,
      Andy

      Reply
  5. Hi Andy
    Thank you so much for the answer, and very good job on keeping this blog so updated, wish you good luck in Australia and enjoy the ride.
    Cheers,
    Domenico

    Reply
    • Thanks Domenico, much appreciated.
      On a side note, I have just emailed some friends who run motorcycle rental and touring companies in Thailand, if they come back with any additional info I’ll message back on here.
      Best of luck with your travels,
      Cheers,
      Andy

      Reply
      • Hi Domenico,
        The guys got back to me and confirmed you’d need a CDP for Indo and you’d need a tour guide for Vietnam. Hope this helps,
        Cheers,
        Andy

        Reply
        • Hi Andy
          Thank you so much for the info, in this case i would stick to my safe route, Thailand,Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia, it would be a wonderful ride anyway.
          Thanks so much for your help

          Cheers
          Domenico

          Reply
          • No problem, hope you have a great trip! ps. Check out the Laos and Cambodia pages on our site as they show all the info on the best routes and places to see with a bike etc.
            All the best,
            Andy

            Reply
            • Hello Andy,

              Thank you so much for the info, yes I would look at the page from Laos and Cambodia and also Malaysia, I’m sure I would find lot’s of info for my trip, in the mean time you enjoy your trip in Australia.
              Cheers
              Domenico

              Reply
              • It’s possible to take Vietnamese registered motorbike to Cambodia and Laos (Laos only from Vietnamese side, not from Cambodia) you just only need document for your motorbike, (so called by foreigners Blue Card, BC) does not matter if it’s in the name of some Vietnamese guy you never met in your life. No need to for power of attorney letter, just blue card. Went around 10 times across Vietnam-Cambodia border and nobody asked for “BC”, until month ago Vietnamese official on Moc Bai asked for it, he just glanced on, and let me go without further questions. It’s very difficult to cross from Cambodia to Laos with Vietnamese motorbike right now, there is some yt video recently posted there, but without problem you can enter Laos from Vietnam on VN registered motorbike (got this confirmed by German fella in Phnom Penh who was also riding on Vietnamese plates and went to Laos from VN side)

                Reply
                • Thanks for your contribution to this. I will also add this useful info to our new guide listed below. Thanks

                  Yes, I believe that is all correct – and apologies to Domenico, I should have let you know that we have a new guide on the website which explains everything you need to know about buying a motorcycle in Southeast Asia including Vietnam and how to do the process in more detail.

                  How to Buy and Sell a Motorcycle in Southeast Asia

                  Thanks guys,

                  Andy

                  Reply
  6. Hi
    I’m planning to ship my bike to Africa. But I think I will travel for 3 month and be back to continue later on.
    Do you know how it works with CDP and customs if you will have to leave the bike in a country for a longer period, like 6-9 month, and then continue travelling. Is it even possible?
    Best regards
    FredrikJ

    Reply
    • Hi Fredrik, thanks for your comment.
      Generally speaking, the Carnet acts as your temporary import and a Carnet is valid for one year, so you can keep your bike in the country until your Carnet expires. BUT, this is not always the case – it depends on the specific country as they may stipulate how long your bike is allowed to stay – every country is different. I would join the Overlanding Africa facebook group and ask in there about the specific country.

      Importantly, you’ll also have to consider what happens when your CDP expires after 12 months – you’ll need your bike to be in a non-Carnet country in order to return the CDP and get your money back – or request a new one while you’re on the road.

      Please do let us know on here how you get on and I hope this has helped,
      Cheers,
      Andy

      Reply
      • I will explain my trip plan
        First I ship my car from Canada to uk then Europe then turkey, Iraq, gulf countries, Jordan, and last destination will be Egypt

        Reply
            • Hi Yaser, not too sure what you mean here. The country in which your vehicle is registered is where you will need to obtain a CDP from – in your case, Canada. You can find more information on obtaining a Carnet in Canada on the CAA here .
              A carnet’s cost is dependent on the issuing company and which countries you intend on travelling through. But including Egypt on a Carnet is very costly. If Egypt is the only country that requires a carnet on your trip, I would reconsider taking your vehicle there.
              Hope this helps, cheers
              Andy

              Reply
    • Hi Yaser, it’s not about the plate on your vehicle – it’s about which countries you want to travel to and what their temporary import rules are.
      Cheers,
      Andy

      Reply

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