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What is a Carnet de Passage? How to use your car overseas

By Tom Fraser, 31 Jul 2019 Car Advice

What is a carnet de passage?

Did you know it’s possible to bring your car along with you on holiday?

Every now and then you might see a car that has unfamiliar number plates and wonder how it came to be geographically out of place. But the reality of sending your car overseas along with you on holiday isn’t so farfetched.

Just like you do, your car requires a passport when entering a new country on a short term basis. This is where a Carnet de Passage en Duoane (CPD) is required.

A CPD is an international agreement between two countries that allows the temporary importation of a car for up to 12 months by visitors. Vacationers may take their car along with them as long as it’s not lent, sold, hired, given away or destroyed while in the visiting country.

Read: How to safely and legally travel with a dog

A Carnet essentially guarantees that you will remove your car from the country it’s visiting once your time is up, allowing travellers to temporarily import their cars without having to leave a cash deposit or bond at the port.

Additionally, the car must stay no longer than 12 months, and must also leave when the owner leaves the country.

Not all countries require a CPD in order to drive your car on unfamiliar soil, but Australia and New Zealand do, as well as much of Southeast Asia, Africa, India, Mexico, Japan and Germany, among others.

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A CPD works in a similar way to a personal passport, containing information about your car including make, model, colour, engine, seating capacity, registration number and value.

You don’t need your car to be registered with the visiting country, provided it still has remaining registration in the origin country, and you have a country sticker (AUS) fitted near the rear number plate.

Charges vary between countries, but the application cost in Australia (for travel overseas) is $1420, which includes a $500 refundable bond that's reclaimed once the vehicle is reimported back to Australia.

Read next: Road Trip: Australia's top romantic drives

In Australia, a CPD is provided by the Australian Automobile Association, which is then submitted to the Department of Home Affairs for the port where the vehicle arrives.

Keep in mind that your current insurance won’t cover your car if you take it overseas, so it’s worth talking to your provider to enquire whether your insurance can be extended for your travels overseas.

A CPD is usually processed within 10 business days and can be applied for online. After being approved, you’ll then have to plan the shipping itself.

Although it may seem like a huge effort to move a vehicle overseas for a holiday, being able to take your special car on an iconic or famous rally, for example, would be the experience of a lifetime.

If you’re determined, all it takes is some research into the specifics, some solid organising and you could be bringing your car along with you on your next vacation.


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