When embarking on a long trip like this there are obviously quite a few things to sort out and the process starts months in advance.
We worked out the main route fairly early as there’s only a couple of potential ways of driving from Dubai to Romania and realistically only one way – via Iran and Turkey. A good thing is that for this route we only need to get a visa in advance for Iran, with the rest of the countries giving us visas on arrival. That simplifies things quite a bit, leaving the car paperwork as the main headache.
Now, in order to travel with a car registered in Dubai (or anywhere else in the United Arab Emirates), you need a few things – international driving license, a “Carnet de Passage” (basically the cars passport) and a letter of tourism from the RTA (roads and transport authority). All of these can only be obtained if you are a legal resident of the UAE.
The international driving license is a quick process – you can do it at any of the Empost offices and it will cost AED140. You will need a copy of your UAE driving license and a couple of passport photographs and the whole process will only take about 10 minutes.
The Carnet de Passage is the more complicated document. It can only be obtained at the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE and although it only takes about 30 minutes to get, it does involve quite a bit of money. The Carnet basically is a way of you demonstrating that you are only importing the car into a country temporarily. Because of that you have to put down a deposit when obtaining the Carnet which varies depending on the countries you are visiting and the value of your vehicle. For cars, this can be anywhere from AED10,000 to AED45,000 and unfortunately, my car is in the higher bracket! This deposit needs to be given cash and on top of this you need to pay a fee which can also vary from AED350 to AED1,100. You also need copies of your passport and residence visa, as well as copies of your Emirates ID. Once they issue the Carnet, they will also issue the RTA letter of tourism and you’re done.
The next step was to go to the company running the ferry between Sharjah and Bandar Abbas and buy the ferry tickets (you can only buy the tickets once you have the Carnet and the letter of tourism). They don’t have a website, but their phone number is 06 528 8575 and they were very friendly and helpful (particularly Imraan). There was no issue getting the tickets on our intended date of 9th July. It usually leaves at about 9pm and gets to Bandar Abbas early morning the next day.