A Temporary Import Document – What Is It? Do You Need It?


Note 1: This information is for people who are traveling with their private, motorized vehicle (not a rented or borrowed vehicle; additional paperwork may be required and 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.

Carnet de Passage vs. Temporary Import Document

As overlanders you’ll have to deal with either the one or the other to get your vehicle into a country:

  • Carnet de Passage = an internationally used document, but not all countries use it. Here you can read all about the Carnet de Passage.
  • Temporary Import Document (TID) = what many countries use instead of a Carnet de Passage.

Read More: Carnet de Passage – What is it & Where do You Need it?

The validity of a 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 overland travel guides or overland budget reports.

In December 2019 I know for sure that the following countries use Temporary Import Documents:

  • All countries in South America.
  • All countries in Northern Asia: Russia, Mongolia, Central Asia (‘Stan’ countries).
  • South Korea

Note: There is debate on what paperwork you need for  Japan. When you ferry to Japan, it is clear that a Temporary Import Document is all that is required. However, it appears that when shipping your vehicle by container, you do need a Carnet (opinions/experiences differ).

Not only opinions or experiences sometimes differ, but also situations change. Facebook Overlanding groups are good places to get the latest information, e.g.:

Recommended Books on Preparing your Overland Journey

(click on the images to look inside)

Overlanders’ Handbook

Motorcar Overland Camper Manual

Motorhome Self Build and Optimisation

Products from Amazon

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: Overland Travel Guides

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.

Tips, Suggestions, Feedback?

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.

Originally published in 2012 / updated in September 2019

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12 thoughts on “A Temporary Import Document – What Is It? Do You Need It?”

  1. Hi! Thanks for all the v useful info Karin and Coen – most helpful.

    Quick Q – I will be joining my son in Bolivia – we have purchased two honda 250cc bikes from a local honda dealership in Bolivia and intend traveling through Peru, Ecuador on our way to Columbia. I see from your site that third party insurance is a requirement when crossing borders – is this true for all the countries mentioned above and how would you suggest we go about this…? Approach the dealership to arrange third party papers maybe…or any other ideas…

    Regards miles

    • Hi Miles, Great to hear about your plans. We hope you’ll have a fantastic time traveling around this mind-blowing continent! As to third party insurance, it is a requirement for all countries. In most cases you can buy one near the border (first town/city). There are also third party insurances that cover several countries. However, information does change in this respect. To get updated info on where to buy your insurance, check out https://www.facebook.com/groups/panamtravelers/. Hope that helps.

  2. Hello! Great article – we’re shipping our 4WD into Argentina in just a few weeks. I’m trying to be as prepared as possible and have currently got the original and copies of our vehicle’s current registration (ie permission to drive on Australian roads) and of the vehicle’s registration transfer advice document (providing it was sold to Kevin, my hub). Aside from obtaining vehicle insurance as we journey along, what other ‘car documents’ might we need? Thanks!

  3. Hi…really such a wonderful website with wealth of information. Hope you guys are enjoying your South Korea Trip. I plan to ship my RHD vehicle to Montevideo to start my South African adventure in 7 months time. Would there be any issues entering chile from Argentina or through other borders in a RHD vehicle? Any advise would be helpful.

    Thank You


    • Hello Bacchus, as you know our Land Cruiser is LHD and as such we don’t have first hand information about crossing borders with RHD vehicles. There have been a few fellow travellers that have had troubles at the Chilean border, and most have not. But if you connect one of the following groups on FB, and use the search function: OverlandSphere or panamtravelers you are sure to find your answer.
      Adventurous greetings,

  4. Hi, does anybody know what happens if me and my car want to leave Peru with an expired Temporary Import Permission (TIP) at the bolivian border and how we can solve this problem? We already had to bribe poluce once because of that. We don’t know if police will even check again.

    • No idea. The obvious would be to leave before it expires… We personally don’t take chances with it, ever, because if they want they can confiscate your vehicle. We don’t take that risk. Best of luck and let us know how it went!

  5. We will have employees traveling to Santiago for a presentation at our office. I need to export the audio equipment from India to Santiago. Is it possible to enter the audio equipment on a temporary import basis?

    • Heya Peggy, you will probably need a Carnet de Passage for professional audio equipment. I have no idea where to get that. The question arises if you cannot rent professional audio equipment in Chile for you presentation? Maybe ask around at some international bands that travel around with their audio equipment?

      Good luck with your presentation in Chile.


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