December 20, 2011

Travel To India By Car

This year I had been put under a lot of stress because of work, volunteerism and family affairs. It was inevitable that a holiday was on the cards. I have been to India for a quite a number of time but my family was not that lucky. And we always wanted to be at the Tajmahal together. So India it is.

And we will do this differently this time. One of our family friends has prior experience of traveling to India by car and the family has joined us. We have decided that we will do it the adventurous way.

Image from Flickr courtesy Rainer Ebert
Travelling to India by car is not a common phenomenon, especially because of strict tax regime in both the countries. I read recently that a car of a Bangladeshi traveler who drove home after travelling across many countries was confiscated by customs because the validity of his paper ran out. He could not release the car as it is subject to huge import tax (105%-300% according to Horsepower and age).

But the process of getting a permission to take your car to India and bring it back without paying duty  is fairly easy if you know how.

You will need an International Driver’s Licence to travel to India (which is virtually surrounding Bangladesh). To take your vehicle across the border you need a carnet de passage en douane. It is a document from the motoring organisation in the country in which the vehicle is registered, which says you will not sell the vehicle abroad without paying import duties.

In Bangladesh this permission is dealt by the Automobile Association of Bangladesh (AAB) [contact information here]. We had to give a bank guarantee of an assumed value of the car in favor of AAB, paid a permit charge of BDT 10,000/- (roughly $130) and the International Driving License Fee - BDT 2,500 (valid for one year) which is issued against your existing valid driving license. The whole process takes around 10 days.

The Indian Visa process has become very complicated due to their new online system which is unable to handle loads of requests. We managed to complete all the formalities after a lot of drama (but will save it for a later rant).

Those of you who have experience of travelling to India by air and by road knows that there is a clear discrimination in the ways immigration and customs are handled in both sides of the borders. I always tell my acquaintances to avoid the road borders because it involves lots of delays, harassment etc. But you never know things may have changed in the recent years. So I will be posting updates about our journey and hope that I will not be put under stress during travel.  


Post a Comment