How to take your car overseas on holiday
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Every year, many of us venture overseas for a well-earned holiday. But have you ever wished you could elevate this experience by bringing along your pride and joy?
Wish no longer. All you need to do is get a Carnet de Passage en Douane (or carnet for short). It is the equivalent of a passport or visa for your vehicle that is issued by the NZ Automobile Association (NZAA) and affiliate motoring clubs. It allows you to take your car, motorbike or campervan with you duty free through most countries.
What is a carnet?
A carnet document allows you to travel to most countries without having to place a Customs bond at each border you cross. These bonds are refundable on departure, but in some cases this may not happen immediately. If you are crossing several borders those costs can accumulate quickly. Plus, it can be tiresome trying to reclaim money from foreign officials.
Sorting out the paperwork before leaving New Zealand avoids a lot of hassle.
The carnet is accepted by many countries, including parts of South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Australasia. Australia is the most popular destination for Kiwi carnet applications.
The NZAA can issue you with a carnet for up to a year. In some countries this timeframe can be extended so you could spend a year or more driving across the globe. There are a few rules: all vehicles must hold a current NZ vehicle registration no matter how long they are outside New Zealand, and a carnet is for tourist purposes so you cannot live in a country you are touring in.
Bonds and indemnities
In the past, different countries required varying levels of indemnity to cover your vehicle, either as a bond held by the NZAA, or a bank indemnity to cover a duty claim from the customs authority. Some countries required an indemnity as high as 600 per cent of the vehicle’s value.
Fortunately, this system is now streamlined. It’s insurance-based, allowing you to pay a fixed cost and make the most out of your carnet. Regardless of the countries you visit, the carnet price remains the same.
The application fee is $800 for AA members and $850 for non-members. Payment of $100 is reuired for 12 months’ indemnity insurance cover and a $500 bond, which will be refunded on your return to NZ with your vehicle.
Home sweet home
When your car and you are back in New Zealand, return your completed carnet to the NZAA for discharge. This must include a discharge stamp from your last overseas port of call.
It’s important that the carnet is stamped when entering and leaving a country so the carnet can be cancelled once you return to NZ, enabling the bond to be returned. NZ Customs will stamp the carnet upon re-entry and fill in the Certificate of Location.