A carnet is a bond which allows you to temporarily import goods on in this case your vehicle into a country without paying any importation tax. Effectively its an insurance that you will take the vehicle out of the country again within a specified date. If you do not then the country can obtain the cash owed for importation taxes from the company you have the carnet with. This is to prevent you selling your car.
You may not need a carnet some countries simply write your vehicle details in your passport and you can then not leave the country without the car or paying the import tax. Check before you leave home.
The carnet is a book of forms, each form is divided into three. When you enter a country check that all three sections are filled in, signed and stamped. The customs officials will keep the top section. When you leave the country the second section will be taken by the customs officials leaving you with the third section as a receipt. Check that all required information is filled in in case there are any queries later.When you return home send the carnet to the organisation you bought it from, this includes any unused sheets. They will then discharge the carnet and return any deposit to you. Failure to return all the forms filled in correctly could be expensive as you may not get your deposit back or have to pay import duty on your vehicle.
If you have a serious break down or crash and can't export the vehicle then it is important that you obtain proof. Photographs and an official letter from the local police should be obtained and forwarded to the relevant authorities.
You should get your carnet from a member of the AIT/FIA carnet network, these are reecognised around the world as payment of customs duties on temporally imported vehicles for tourist use. This is usually your countries automobile service in America try The US Council for International Business. You will need to supply information about your vehicle including the registration documents.
You will have to pay for the carnet, administration and also a deposit this maybe upto the maximum tax that would be payable on your vehicle. The amount of tax payable varies from country to country they can vary from 150% to over 400%. If your vehicle is worth £5,000 then the deposit will be up to £20,000. You have to find security for the deposit (doesn't a cheap old Series 3 land rover look good) this can be in the form of cash in a sealed account, some form of collateral, (property, shares etc) or an insurance premium underwriting the bond this is the may be the best bet but it costs 3 to 5% of the bond so for £20000 this could be £1000.
The cost will vary wildly depending on vehicle and destinations but as an idea with vehicle worth £5,000 and visiting a country with 400% tax
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