Originally published in 2012 / updated in September 2017
Note 1: This information is for people who are traveling with their private vehicle (not a rented or borrowed vehicle; additional paperwork may be required but I don’t have that information).
Note 2: Your car papers have nothing to do with your visa, and vice versa. You can get one month for your visa and three for your car, for example. Each country has its own office to deal with either visa (Immigration) or temporary import document issues (Customs) and one may hardly know the other exists.
For South America you don’t need a Carnet de Passage. On all South American land borders, you will get a Temporary Import Document and, at the time of writing, none of the South American countries charged for this.
Validity of about Temporary Import Document (TID)
How long your vehicle can stay in the country depends on the country’s law, and sometimes the border official’s mood. You will find specifics about this in our country reports.
Situations change. This Facebook Page of Overlandsphere is a good one to check up on latest info – note at the top of that page how Overland Sphere has a number of subpages on continents/topics, which you may want to check out as well.
Extension of the Temporary Import Document (TID)
Depending on the country, you can’t extend at all or only once (if very lucky, twice).
Read More: Country Reports
What Do You Need to Bring
Bring the following when entering a country or asking for an extension:
- Passport of the registered owner of the vehicle.
- Driver’s license (International driver’s license facilitates bureaucracies; note that for Brazil you need a specific one).
- Car papers.
- Third party insurance papers.
- We’ve been advised often by other travelers to bring copies of papers but thus far we have never had to hand over one single copy.
- We believe it never harms to get a shave and dress properly before hitting the border.
- Some borders add another level of red tape in the form of Sanitation Police and Laws, notably Chile.
Tip: Be patient (bring a book), be polite, bring a smile and make friends. Most border crossings are easy going.
This information may be outdated. What are your experiences? Please share them with us in the comments below so other travelers can benefit from them. Thanks.