Carnet de Passages en Douane deposit finally released

Two and half years ago I had to leave my Yellow Monster behind in Namibia and today I finally got back my deposit for the Carnet de Passages en Douane. So what is this Carnet, why did it take so long to get the deposit back, and how did I get my exit stamp in Namibia? That’s what I’m going to share with you.

The Yellow Monster, I and Sander, in better times in Namibia

For those who are not familiar with overlanding, a Carnet de Passages en Douane is a travel document which makes crossing borders with your motor vehicle possible. It is a customs document that identifies a traveller’s vehicle and is required in order to take a vehicle into countries around the world.

The Carnet allows temporary import of the vehicle without having to pay import fees at every border crossing. It guarantees for payment of customs should the vehicle not be re-exported from that country. To make this guarantee the vehicle owner places a one time deposit on forehand which will be returned at the end of the journey, when the vehicle returns home.

My Yellow Monster didn’t return home, I crashed it in Namibia. In that case the deposit is lost and used to pay the import fees for the vehicle to the specific country. To get the deposit back some things are possible though. One can import the car oneself, sometimes this can be cheaper than losing the deposit. When all paperwork is done this will qualify to get the deposit back. One can also export the car to a country where no Carnet is to be used. Or one can ship the vehicle back home, this can be a costly exercise. In the end it’s all about the exit stamp of the specific country one needs to get hold of.

If one has the exit stamps for all the countries one crossed, but didn’t return the vehicle home, a period of two years calculated from the Carnet expiration date is taken into account for countries to claim an import fee. Since I got all the exit stamps this waiting time was taken into account. The expiration date of my Carnet was 31 december 2015, so that’s why it took two and half years to get my deposit back.

So how did I get this exit stamp? Well, not by bribing, which is definitely an option in a lot of countries and possibly also in Namibia.

First I tried to import the car, but they wanted me to import the car in the state it arrived at the country, and not in the state it was at the time of import. In my opinion this was an unreasonable stance. Then I briefly investigated to have the wreckage shipped home, this would be very expensive though. The option I went for was to request an exemption for paying import duties at the Namibian Ministry of Finance. This exemption request was taking a long time, and after two weeks I decide not to wait much longer for it. So while this request was being looked at I took the bus to Cape Town to meet Paul and Kate.

I never heard anything back from the exemption request… So the question still stands; how did I get this exit stamp? Not to wake up anyone I’ll keep that to myself, but feel free to send me a message and I might explain.