Paperwork - the somewhat dull but relatively vital bit….
It wouldn't be the 21st century without a few stuffy suit wearing mechanoids threatening to give you a standard issue buggering if you don’t have the correct paperwork. Here’s a brief summary of what you need in order to go on the Rally.
Despite a shit load of people getting stoned for world peace in the sixties you still need a specially stamped piece of paper to get into most of the countries along the Rally route.
If you can feel your adventure boner going floppy at the thought of this The Visa Machine can dot the i’s and cross the t’s for you. They have been working with us since the Rally began and we think they are the queens salty bits. There's even one Rally specific visa that can only be got through them.
Some visas require things like letters of invitation or hotel bookings as well as an application form. You can expect the simplest visas to take about a week to process and the more complicated ones much longer. As the Consulates need your passport for this time you obviously can’t get visas concurrently and if you are getting 9 or 10 visas the whole process can take up to four months. If you are using a visa agency you should expect to be without your passport for this time.
The Visa Machine offer a discount on processing fees to Mongol Ralliers who apply before their application deadlines. It is possible to get some visas using an express service, though of course this will cost you more.
The Visa Machine also arrange Turkmenistani visas on arrival. The Turkmen consulate in the UK has requested that all Mongol Ralliers use this service so if you want to travel through Turkmenistan it is important you apply early.
Personal Travel Insurance
It is absolutely essential to both get good cover, and to get it early. Sadly many standard policies won't be worth the cleverly disguised loo roll they are printed on and can leave your family frantically trying to raise half a million quid to make sure you don’t get put back together by the village carpenter. Believe us when we say this has happened before.
We have worked with Campbell Irvine for about ten years. They understand the risks on our adventures and are comfortable offering cover for any teams based in the EU. They are not the only insurer available but remember that it is your responsibility to ensure that the company you use understand what the Rally entails and the risks involved.. Many insurers may reject your application on the basis that their policies cannot cover you for the risks involved in doing something like the Mongol Rally - so you may need to research your options extensively and persistently.
It is a good idea to get travel insurance in advance of the Rally in case you find yourself unable to participate in the Rally after the refund period has expired.
Carnet de Passage en Douane
This is a bit like a visa for your car. Fortunately you only need it if you are travelling through Iran or Pakistan, unfortunately these tend to be quite expensive. They are generally sold through the automobile association of the country where your car is from.
Prices vary quite a lot, but generally there are two things you pay for; firstly the document itself, secondly the security to ensure your car is not abandoned in the country in question. The document usually costs about £220. The security is either a non returnable insurance of about £600 or a returnable deposit of around 500% of the value of the vehicle [Yes you read that right, 500%], with a minimum vehicle value of £1000.
If your car is registered in the UK you can get this from the RAC, in recent years some teams opted to get the CPD on the Iranian border which worked out cheaper.
You need to get motor insurance in advance for the whole of Europe. You should find that any policy purchased in Europe will cover you for Europe anyway. Some insurance companies might have a problem with you being on the Rally so it will help to reiterate that the Rally is not a Race.
If you are struggling to find cover or are a non-EU resident you could try HIC who offer a ‘banger rally’ insurance.
Beyond the boundaries of Europe you purchase insurance at the border of each country you are about to enter. Insurance is bought for the car rather than the driver, you should expect to pay $20 -$50 per country for this.
International Driving Permit (IDP)
The IDP is a small booklet which explains in multiple languages that someone somewhere deemed you capable of driving on public roads. It costs next to nothing and is a doddle to get. They're not a substitute for your original licence, they're literally just a translation of what you've already got.
It's not a bad idea to get a couple so you can give them over to crooked cops looking for bribes without fear of being held ransom.
Vehicle Registration Document
It sounds blindingly obvious but you need a registration document in your name to drive to a foreign country. It proves the car is yours and not one you stole to sell to fund your crack habit. A 'new keepers supplement' wont do. A photocopy of the registration document wont do. A registration document in your mum's name wont cut the mustard either.
If you've given your car a fancy new paint-job you should make sure the colour on your registration document matches the colour of your trusty steed.
In the UK a registration document (V5) takes about 3 weeks to process.
MOT & Vehicle Tax
These need to be valid until the point you leave Europe. If you are driving home they also need to be valid for your home leg too. If you're buying your car in the UK the remainder of the MOT can be passed over to the new owner, the vehicle tax needs to be bought afresh.
MOT is valid for 12 months, vehicle tax is valid for 6 months or a year.
Vehicle Insurance - If you're not from Europe you might want to try HIC who offer 'Banger Rally' insurance for vehicles worth less than £500. They offer short term cover for anyone over 21 regardless of nationality and will even insure imported cars.
International Driving Permit - You need to get this from the automobile association in your country.
USA from the National Automobile Club
New Zealand from AA New Zealand
Australia from your local state or territory motoring club full list here
Canada from the CAA
Just one more thing
Oh, and on another dull but vital note - you absolutely have to be 18 or over to sign the entry agreement on our adventures. If you try to sign up before 18 we get in a lot of trouble and we have to send someone around to kidnap your parents & rough them up a bit.