Documents for overseas driving

4 min read
Going on a self-drive holiday overseas in your own vehicle? Remember to apply for your CPD and IDP before you depart.

Self-drive holidays are becoming increasingly popular with Singaporeans these days. It is a great way to enjoy the scenery and tour a country at your own pace.

Some people choose to rent a car at their travel destination, while others may prefer the comfort and familiarity of their own set of wheels. If you are planning on taking your Singapore-registered car overseas for a tour, you will need to have the following documents.

Carnet de Passages en Douane
Some countries require you to have the Carnet De Passages En Douane (CPD) before you can bring in your car. This is an international customs document that coversthe temporary admission of private cars, commercial vehicles or other categories of motor vehicles. It is usually valid for one year.

Why is it required? The CPD provides the assurance that the vehicle is covered by an internationally valid guarantee to enter multiple countries temporarily without the need to pay for duties and taxes. It helps to ensure that travellers and their cars can cross national borders with greater ease, fewer formalities, and without on-the-spot payment of additional fees or guarantees.

Where can you apply for it? You can apply for it at AA Singapore’s head office. As part of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) customs documents network, AA is authorised to issue and guarantee CPDs.

Make an appointment with AA Singapore and bring along the following items:

  • CPD application form
  • original NRIC
  • original driving licence
  • valid insurance covering the period that you will be abroad
  • vehicle registration details
  • valid road tax covering the entire period
  • cash deposit or banker’s guarantee from any local bank
  • bill of lading (if you are shipping the vehicle out of Singapore)
  • administration fee of $321
  • photograph of the car

The carnet processing time is two weeks.

The AIT CPD is valid for one year from the date of issue or expiry date of vehicle insurance and road tax, whichever is earlier.

The Singapore-registered vehicle must only be used for touring purposes while visiting the foreign country. The vehicle has to be re-exported to Singapore before the expiry date of the Carnet.

In addition, the CPD has to be endorsed by Singapore Customs at both Customs Entry and Exit point in Singapore. Failure to do either would constitute an offence and the CPD holder would be liable for a fine.

Which countries require a CPD? Australia and New Zealand are among the countries that require a CPD. For a full list of countries, consult AA Singapore’s website.

Shipping your car overseas For a car that’s going by land, here’s what you need to do:

  • You are to file for Customs Goods Supervision with Singapore Customs using your CPD at least two days before departure
  • Make sure you leave via the cargo lane at Singapore Customs checkpoint and get an endorsement on the importation counterfoil of the CPD

If it’s leaving by air or ship, do the following:

  • Your shipping agent must provide AA Singapore with the bill of lading after the vessel departs from the Singapore port
  • You must ensure that Singapore Customs endorses on the counterfoil and that they retain the outward declaration vouchers

International Driving Permit
According to CNN Travel, Japan and Singapore have the world’s most travel-friendly passports. While your Singapore passport can gain you entry into 189 countries on earth, your Singapore driving licence is not as widely accepted, especially where English is not commonly used.

In a reciprocal arrangement among ASEAN nations, you can use your Singapore driving licence in Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

But in many other cases, an International Driving Permit would be required in order for you to legally drive overseas. The IDP contains driving terms in various languages, thus easing communication with car rental companies and local authorities. The IDP is the only official legal document sanctioned by the UN Convention on Road Traffic as a recognizable form of identification which allows you to drive internationally.

Take note that your IDP is meant to be presented together with a Singapore Driving Licence to be deemed valid when used.

You can apply for these two documents through AA Singapore at:
Carnet de Passages en Douane (CPD)
https://www.aas.com.sg/our-services/carnet-de-passages-en-douane-cpd.html
International Driving Permit
https://www.aas.com.sg/our-services/international-driving-permit-idp.html