The Ridiculous Things About Getting a Carnet de Passage from Automobile Association of Singapore

In the previous post, I have mentioned about the purpose of Carnet de Passage. I will just go into the ridiculous things I faced during the application process.

1. The deposit value for motorcycle is based on engine capacity, not the vehicle value. I had to place S$10,000 for my scooter. (Please contact AAS for the latest information, as of 2016, I learnt that the deposit is a flat S$5,000 for all motorcycles irregardless of countries to enter.)

My scooter is the most expensive among the Suzuki DR650, Yamaha Tenere 690, Benelli 600 and BMW G650XChallenge that crossed Myanmar with me.

Previously, the deposit amount is based on vehicle value.  Two or three years back, rules have changed. Less than 400cc, the deposit amount is S$5,000. Anything more than that, it is S$15,000.

If you are going to the following countries, the amount is going to be doubled.

Hong Kong

I underlined the countries that I will be visiting. Based on the countries I am going, I am depositing S$10,000 with Automobile Association of Singapore, this is one third of my entire travel budget. If I am going on a big bike, that will be S$30,000 and I can forget about travelling in these countries so soon.

I wrote in to appeal and did not get a reply. So I headed down to AAS personally to ask again. I was told, they cannot concede to my request. I asked if they can reply my email on that, till now, I have not received any reply.

I felt pretty insulted when I was told, can borrow from your mother first, just because I did not have cheque book. You think I am still dependent on my parents at age 27 and that they are ever ready to part S$10,000 to make them worry during my travel. Please, no. My skin is not that thick. I worked, moonlighted and saved like crazy for the past 3.5 years to fund this travel. $5,000 is still ok but S$10,000 is a huge amount for me.

In the end, I got myself a Cashier’s Order to place that deposit.

I find it a ridiculous amount to be depositing for a scooter that cost me S$2,000 when I bought it in 2007. A quick check with friend on the cost of Vespa scooter in Pakistan. He told me, the maximum is US$400, it is as good as scrap metal there.  AAS is loading me 16 times the vehicle value in that country. Really?!

Even if you are using a brand new S$13,000 Honda CRF250L for the journey, the deposit value is still S$10,000. I really do not see this making sense.

I was crossing border from Myanmar to India with the group of bike consisting of Benelli 600, Suzuki DR 650, Yamaha Tenere 690 and BMW G650X Challenge. When submitting our Carnet de Passage to the custom for endorsement, one of them jokingly mentioned, "Your scooter is the ‘most expensive’ among all the bikes here."

It is a big joke whenever travellers ask me about the Carnet deposit I placed.

For Australian vehicles and also for Europeans, they do not have to leave the deposit with their respective Automobile Association. They have the option of paying an insurance premium to insure the deposit amount. Their vehicles will first be evaluated before determining the loading value and thus the premium.

This explains why overlanding with Singapore registered vehicle is something that only the well off can afford. There are so many Australians and European travelling with their vehicles without initial huge financial hurdle. That is why it is so common among them.

I really hope the option of insurance premium for Carnet deposit will be available in Singapore in future. Otherwise, it is all about money talk. Not many people are travelling overland in Singapore so I guess there is no demand for this insurance.

I tried asking Automobile Association of Malaysia if they can issue Carnet for my scooter but sadly, no. Since Singapore has an Automobile Association, it has to be applied from there.

Another idea to avoid this huge initial cost for your overland travel is to buy a Malaysia-registered bike, get it towed to Singapore to do up the bike if you cannot afford to travel Malaysia frequently. I read that among the Southeast Asia countries, Malaysia is where foreigners can easily purchase a vehicle. I am not sure how it works but you can try research and asking if you are really keen on doing the Carnet route. As far as I know, the deposit value there is still based on vehicle value.

The only consolation I have now is that when I return home, I will not be penniless.

2. The road tax and insurance has to be valid for the period that the Carnet is valid for. I am paying for insurance that does not cover where I will be going.

I had to pay for my insurance and road tax in advance. It has to be valid for the the entire one year validity period of Carnet (May 2015 to May 2016). My exisiting scooter insurance and road tax expires in October 2015. So I had to renew my insurance and road tax until October 2016.

I understand that the road tax is required for the vehicle to be valid for road use. Our vehicle insurance in Singapore only covers until some distance from Malaysia –Thailand border. My vehicle insurance is useless if I were to travel beyond that. I do not see why I should be paying for it.

I asked the officer at LTA if it is possible to renew the road tax without paying for the insurance. They said, cannot. You need the insurance and inspection certifate for road tax renewal. I explained that my scooter will not be in the area that the insurance is covered for, why do I still need to pay for it.

The answer is, “You need the insurance to renew road tax.”

My Shi Fu told me he used other countries’ vehicle insurance to renew the road tax in the later part of his travel. LTA accepted. For now, I just have to pay for redundant insurance just to get the Carnet.

Since my vehicle will not be in Singapore, I also have to request from LTA to skip my inspection. I wrote a letter that goes something like this.

Dear Sir/Mdm,

I, {Name}, {NRIC no.}, vehicle owner of {Vehicle No.}, will be riding the said vehicle from Singapore to {Destination} from {Date} to {Date}.

As the vehicle will not be in Singapore for the next inspection, I would like to request permission to skip it. I promise to maintain the vehicle in good, road worthy condition. As soon as the vehicle returns to Singapore I will send it for inspection.

Thank you.

Best regards,
{Your name}

3. You need to be a member of AAS in order to apply for the Carnet de Passage. I am not around to be using their Jackpot room.

It is not much of a big deal. The cheapest membership is the Social Membership which cost only S$32.10 a year.

Checklist for applying Carnet de Passage from AAS
- AAS membership (Go for the cheapest membership.)
- Carnet de Passage Application Form
- International Driving Permit
- Valid Road Tax that covers the Validity period of the Carnet de Passage.
- Valid Vehicle Insurance covering that period.
- Cheque/Cashier’s Order or Banker’s Guarantee for the loading deposit. (I opt for Cashier’s Order because it is cheaper and I do not have any asset to my name for guarantee too. Banker’s Guarantee takes around 2-3 weeks to process because it requires lawyer letters etc. It is a very tedious process and involves additional cost for the lawyer letters. Bank will only hold that money for maximum 18 months and may charge interest for holding that money for you.)
- Driver’s License
- Vehicle Logcard
- Passport
- Vehicle Logcard


  1. Ridiculous. Do we own the bike or does the government own it? If i were overseas and riding the bike for more than a year, do i still need to renew SG road tax??

  2. I just stopped dreaming about a Singapore to Bangalore motorbike trip seeing this post, thanks for the information!
    Will change mode of transportation.

    1. Hello, fret not. Do consider going on a Malaysian registered bike instead. It is easy to purchase a bike in Malaysia as a foreigner and Carnet cost is lower depending on Market value of vehicle. Please read the following note by a Dutch guy who is currently travelling from South East Asia to Netherlands on a Kawasaki KLX150. He paid USD$1600 as deposit.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. A big thank you for the Information.
    I have to cancel my solo motorbiking trip to India upon reading this.
    its madess.
    Even before I start the trip, I have to fork out $30,000 just for this Carnet De Passage.
    Have not included servicing of vehicle (SGD $1000+-)
    , Visa Cost
    , AAS membership and processing fees
    , complusory Myanmar Escort Cost (was quoted USD 2150 from burmese travels).

    Just too ridiculous to travel by own vehicle..:(

    1. Hello, fret not. Do consider going on a Malaysian registered bike instead. It is easy to purchase a bike in Malaysia as a foreigner and Carnet cost is lower depending on Market value of vehicle. Please read the following note by a Dutch guy who is currently travelling from South East Asia to Netherlands on a Kawasaki KLX150. He paid USD$1600 as deposit. For Burma cross, I paid USD$800 for 9 days 8 nights in a group of 10. Go to forum to gather a group to lower the cost.

  5. now its SGD5k for bikes...

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  7. Hello, I also would like to comment over all the points mentioned in this blog. I agree with essence of few point but somewhere I found myself on other place. I hope, there might little opinion of others as well.


  8. Yes, that’s the way I always wanted to come over such a wonderful platform where I could satisfy myself regarding my issues. I found answers of all most of my check list I prepared after having a lot of confusion. Great job.รถสไลด์

  9. Hi, i want to travel from KL to Turkey passing by Burma (Mymar) i am traveling alone and i want to know more info about USD$800 u mentioned. Is that refundable or one time payment? any other way not to pay USD$800. Thanks in advance.

    1. For Myanmar, you need to pay for the guide to bring you across the country. That is not refundable. $800 is for travelling in a group of 10 which we managed to gather online and share the cost. If you want to travel alone in Myanmar, it is going to cost a lot more.

  10. Love to explore more interesting budget travel tips, indeed these things you mentioned felt like ridiculous.
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