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PAPERWORK

 

CARNET  |  VISAS  |  IDP  |  PASSPORTS  |  V5  |  DRIVING LICENCE

  • As a general note, I would recommend taking scans or photos of all your important documents and emailing them to yourself, or putting them somewhere online
  • I would also recommend laminating any paperwork, it will waterproof it, and stop it falling apart from constant use
  • If you can get duplicates of any documents for a sensible fee (Driving licence `replacement` is only 17.50 pounds) I would suggest this is a good idea. If it`s expensive, then colour photocopies (scan and print, most shops will refuse) are a good shout
  • If you have duplicates of documents, carry them in different places, so if you`re robbed or lose your bag, you don`t lose both copies

 

CARNET

For many overland trips the carnet de passage is the biggest headache, which in overly simplified terms is a temporary import document for your bike. This is needed in most of the middle East, Asia and Africa. For a full and up-to-date list see this link.

I am lucky, in that I will be able to do the majority of my trip without a carnet. I have talked to Paul Gowan at the RAC, who now has everything he needs to setup the Carnet when I need it in Africa. Email paul on PKGowen@rac.co.uk

 

VISAS

I will eventually have to get visas for most of the countries I want to visit. Most visas are valid for a certain amount of time from the date of issue, so there were only a few I could get before leaving.

Many visas can be processed on the border, which makes things easier.

I used visa service companies to do the leg work on my behalf, and would recommend this as the best choice if you have the option.

I spent quite some time running around Istanbul collecting visas for the `Stans`, and covered nearly 300 miles within the city, mostly to and fro between embassies.

USA

This was a bit of a pain, but nothing too serious. Proof of finances, letters from family promising I would return to the UK, forms, and an `ìnterview` at the US Embassy in London.

They issue a 10 year visa, which is a bonus.

Mongolia

This visa is valid for entry before the date you specify, so you can generally get it in advance. I used Real Russia to get this visa and had no problems.

Russia

This one`s a bit of a headache, costs a fortune and takes ages (there are faster options, but they are even more expensive). Again, I used Real Russia, and luckily had no problems. The Visa turned up the week before I left.

There are 8 different options for a Russian visa, and I needed one of the harder ones. I had to get the 6 month, multi-entry business visa. This means a letter from your employer, 350 odd quid, and about a month waiting to see if it gets approved. There`s no guarantee that your application will be approved, and the cash is non-refundable. They give no reason if they decline the application.

 

IDP

Many countries state that you need an International Driving Permit in order to drive a vehicle there. There are two IDP`s available, each cover a different selection of countries. They are cheap (about 5 pounds each I think) and are easy to get; apply through the Post Office or RAC

 

PASSPORTS

Mostly self-explanatory. However, it`s worth noting that it is possible to get two passports, both valid at the same time. It is also possible to get a passport with more pages (a jumbo passport), which can be useful on long trips (a visa can often take a whole page, some countries insist on having a whole page for their stamp).

I successfully applied for a second passport, on the grounds that I will be travelling through `Incompatible Countries`. This is the only way you can get a second passport.

It is pretty straight forward, and you can have a look at the letter I wrote using the link below. You need to supply some proof of your journey (I just printed a copy of my ferry ticket to France), a standard application form filled in as best you can, and a rough itinerary. I went for the jumbo passport with 48 pages.

DOWNLOAD SECOND PASSPORT APPLICATION LETTER

 

V5 REGISTRATION DOCUMENT

I decided to get a copy of this document, scanned at high resolution and printed at high quality. It looks noticably different when seen next to the original, but you`d never guess if you saw it without a comparison.

I laminated both copies and have digital files on my email account.

 

DRIVING LICENCE

I applied to the DVLA for a replacement, and carry both with me.

Again, paper part is laminated.

 

 




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