1 – Passport:
Needs to have at least 6 months left on it to travel to countries like Turkey and India.
Chris Scott (p18) suggests it might be useful to have a second passport – just in case. Passport office might need a good reason to issue a second one – such as juggling visa applications.
2 – Visa requirments:
EU countries OK
But what about non EU European Countries? I checked on 11th January 2015 and found that:
- Switzerland – not needed
- Balkan countries (those on my potential route – Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia & Macedonia) a visa is not needed for UK citizens as long as the length of stay is less than 90 days.
Easy to apply for an E-Visa https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/
Most foreigners need a visa to enter Iran. Because the UK and Iran have complicated diplomatic relations, there is no Iranian embassy or consulate in the UK. Most UK travellers use a visa agency that apply via the Iran consulate in Dublin. Three agencies to consider:
- http://www.magic-carpet-travel.com/ (UK based)
- http://www.persianvoyages.com/ (based in Surrey)
- http://www.iranianvisa.com/ (Based in Iran)
The fee for the Visa is currently 180 Euros for British passport holders (far less for other EU passports). The application cannot be done by post and has to be done in person. The agencies will charge a fee to deliver the paperwork (eg Persian Voyages charge £120) compare this to the costs of a trip to Dublin. It can take 3 weeks for the paperwork to be completed.
Since March 2014 British passport holders require either to join a package tour or have a national guide for entire their trip in Iran in order to obtain visa.
- Persian Voyages quotes $210 per day for this service.
- This Iranian company lists prices at $90 (£60) per day http://en.key2persia.com/iran-tour-guides-price-list-key-2-persia
The visa will be valid for 3 months after it has been issued. For me this means I need to be applying about now!
Info from http://www.phclondon.org/visa/britishnational/visit/ (taken 11th Jan 2015)
High Commission for Pakistan, London has appointed the Gerry’s Offshore Inc. UK as service provider company for submission of Visa Applications to High Commission and it’s consulates except Glasgow consulate.
Gerry’s have an office in Manchester http://visadropbox.com/visa-application-center/
It normally takes 5 days to complete.
Info from http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/contactus.html (taken 11th Jan 2015)
Thankfully there is an office in Manchester
Website doesn’t say how long it will take to process. But it does state that non UK passport holder might take longer and says 10-15 days minimum – it is safe to assume that the process for UK passport holders will take less than this.
3 – Vehicle paperwork:
I will need to travel with the owners documents – originals, but also colour photocopies, even scanned versions, as ‘officials’ will need to see them.
I will also need both parts of my driving license – photo and paper. Again, photocopies, scans etc…
Riding through Europe should be a doddle – my normal insurance policy cover me for 30 days European cover each year, so no need for complicated paperwork.
Many European countries charge for using their motorways and toll roads are common.
In addition, many require foreign vehicles to have a ‘vignette’ (a small tax sticker) displayed. These can be bought in garages in the countries.
- Some very useful (bike specific) information on Vignettes here http://www.rotherhamadvancedmotorcyclists.com/motorcycle-news/european-road-taxes-and-tolls/
- More info (not bike specific, but does include Baltic information) here http://www.tolltickets.com/country/europe/europe.aspx?lang=en-GB
I will need a ‘carnet’ (or Carnet de Passages en Douanes) to take the bike into Iran, Pakistan and India – probably for Turkey as well.
It’s a complicated affair… In the UK the service is offered by the RAC with details here http://www.rac.co.uk/travel/driving-abroad/carnet-de-passage
There is some controversy about the process for UK travellers, with many feeling that the RAC holds a monopoly for this service in the UK and is ripping travellers off – more info about this here http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/trip-paperwork/carnet-de-passage-uk-rac-68191
Assuming nothing changes in the next few weeks, I will need to apply for a Carnet via the RAC.
It is likely to cost me £3220 – of which £1,675 will be returned once the bike is back in the UK. Meaning that the whole CdP will cost £1545 (subject to the RAC agreeing with the valuations etc…). That’s eyewatering, and wasn’t in my plans… I had read that the costs would be a few hundred pounds, not £1500.
4 – Insurance:
This is something I haven’t really looked into yet.
Vehicle insurance for the EU should be covered by my normal policy. I’m not sure if this extends to Switzerland and the Baltic countries.
When it comes to Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India… Well, I need to look into it. There’s loads of information on the HUBB http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/links/motorcycle-insurance
In terms of travel insurance, I need some. Need to consider things like hospital cover and even being flown home if I have an accident, again, loads of info on the HUBB http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/links/medical-insurance A quick check for cover via World Nomads (affiliated with Horizons) threw up a quote for £135 – with higher level cover to include motorcycling.