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All teams must abide by the rules set at the beginning of the race. Failure to do so can result in time penalties, which can negatively affect finishing position in that leg of the race, or in some cases may result to teams being eliminated, and disqualified from the competition directly.

The Amazing Race has several, and many different guidelines, rules, and protocols teams must follow and obey, some of which may never be disclosed to the audience. This list primarily is deduced, simply on certain rules which have been publicly disclosed during the various editions of the race, either during broadcast, through public media, or through contestants, and production themselves.

Production Rules[]

  • At the start of each leg, each team of two, (with the exception of The Amazing Race: Family Edition), is assigned two camera/sound/broadcast operators, in which teams must be in the vicinity of the camera operators (usually no more than 20 feet), at all times. This is to ensure that teams are accurately captured/recorded during the competition, and production is able to accurately monitor teams/contestants. Teams are not allowed to talk, emote, or interact with the camera operators, under any circumstance. In turn, camera operators also are not allowed to interact with contestants, offer them hints, or any other guidance, during the competition. For fairness, production operators are rotated for each team, each leg. Team members in rare, but understandable circumstances, are offered time credits in the competition, should there be an issue out of their control, in regards to their camera operators.
  • Team members must remain within 20 feet (6.1 meters) of their race partner, unless otherwise stated, such as during Roadblocks. Teams must stay nearby their camera and sound crew at all times. Any transportation teams utilize during The Amazing Race, must accommodate their camera crew, unless otherwise stated.[1]
  • Unless otherwise stated, teams are allowed to ask civilians for directions or help in tasks. However before contestants can interact with locals/civilians, production in the interim, informs the parties that they will be on television, and those who approve, will be shown on broadcast, and teams are free to interact with them. Those who approve, but do not want their identity shown, will have their identity withheld on broadcast, and teams will then interact with them. Those who want nothing to do with this, will not be shown on the broadcast period, and will be edited out in production.
  • Racers are not allowed to use cigarettes or vape pens during the race. At the pit stop/rest period, racers are allowed to do so under certain conditions and circumstances.
  • Racers (unless circumstances permit otherwise, i.e. a Detour or Roadblock or other task that requires contestants to drink/be in contact with alcohol etc.) are not allowed to consume liquor and alcohol, during the race. In some conditions, during pit stops/rest periods, racers may be allowed to drink alcohol.
  • Racers are not allowed to race under the influence, be inebriated, or be intoxicated.
  • Teams are not allowed to open clue envelopes without their race partner present/together with them.
  • Teams must stop what they are doing to read a clue. They are not allowed to run, walk, or drive to make sure the camera can capture it.
  • Teams are prohibited from contacting friends, family, and acquaintances during The Amazing Race without supervision. The Amazing Race may provide teams with an opportunity to contact them, but are prohibited from continuing until they are finished, as seen in "Why Did You Have to Take Your Pants Off?!". Teams may be allowed contact home in an emergency, as seen in "Chill Out, Freak", where James LoMenzo was contacted by his wife to inform him of a drastic change in his father's health.
  • Teams are free to work together at any point, unless otherwise stated by the rules. Excluding the Yield and U-Turn, teams are prohibited from hindering other teams' performances, even if it was unintentional, such as taking extra clues, taking another team's assigned vehicle, altering equipment for other teams, or using more than one Yield or U-Turn, if teams are restricted to the number of times they can be used.
  • Teams are not allowed to bring any of their own money or credit cards, possess language books, guides, maps, GPS units, cellphones, cameras, or similar aides prior to the start of The Amazing Race. Teams may purchase aides using their stipend or borrow cellphones from locals during The Amazing Race. These may be provided by the show, but only for specific tasks.[2]
  • Teams are prohibited from bartering with their personal items for services during The Amazing Race. However, teams are not necessarily prohibited from selling personal items for cash. Teams can sell or barter with any items they have purchased during the race freely. Production may review the teams' bags during the Pit Stop for this purpose.
  • Teams are expected to keep their fanny pack containing their cash, passports, clues, and other documents at all times. As shown in "Sean Penn Cambodia Here We Come", if a team checks in without their passport, they will be instructed to go back out on the racecourse to find it in order to check in. Teams may still check in after losing or abandoning non-mandatory items (such as clothing), but are made to continue without them.
    • In "Off to See the Wizard", James & Abba lost one of their passports and were not allowed to check in until they could find it. Because they could not find the missing passport before all other teams had checked in, they were checked in last, saved because it was a predetermined Non-Elimination Leg, and because the following leg was entirely within the same county, were warned that they would have to find it before they would need to produce it for international travel.
  • Production is not responsible, and will not offer any credits/consolidations, if contestants' personal belongings/documents/IDs/passports, are left behind, lost, or stolen.
    • Exceptions to the rule include if another team on the race (even inadvertently) has another teams bags/personal belongings, time credits will be given to the affected team, and penalties will be enforced on the opposing team, and items can strictly be returned/accounted for.
  • Teams are not allowed to blatantly steal, or take money/currency from another team.
    • Exceptions include if teams drop loose coins or change on the floor while running and other teams take it, or if a team misplaces their money and another team finds it and claims it for themselves, as seen in "Get Your Sexy On".
  • Teams are forbidden from touching other teams' belongings. Teams cannot remove belongings from another team's taxi. However, the taxi driver can remove them, thus the team that takes the cab is not penalized, as seen in "Choir Boy at Heart".
  • In order to check in, all members of the team must step on the mat.
    • If multiple teams are tied on the mat, the teams' placements are determined by their placements on the previous leg.[3] It is currently unknown when this rule was implemented, but is likely sometime after The Amazing Race 4, since it is the last season to allow teams be tied at the mat. This rule was not applied for The Amazing Race Australia Celebrity Edition (2023)]].
    • As seen in "You're a Champion, Prove It", where the last two teams' placements are determined by a photo finish, the team of the last racer to have both feet on the mat is issued the lower placement.
  • Teams are free to lie, deceive, trick, give incorrect directions to teams.
  • Teams are not allowed to beg, panhandle, or busk, where it is illegal.
  • Teams must abide by all local laws of the country they are racing in.

Transportation Rules[]

  • Racers and their camera production team, must go through customs, security, and any other mandatory protocols.
  • Teams are required to purchase only economy class airfare when they fly, and use the credit card provided by the show.[4] The airline may upgrade the team(s) to business class, as long as there is not additional cost. Teams, however, can use the cash stipend they are given for first-class fares for other modes of transportation, as seen in "I Feel Like I'm in the Circus". Teams may be forbidden to fly on certain airlines, restricted to specific airlines, or restricted to another form of transit in certain countries.
  • Teams must purchase tickets (unless otherwise stated by production) for airfare, buses, trains, and boats, for their camera and sound crew as well. So in total, four tickets must be purchased whenever teams take any type of transport.
  • Unless production gives an exception to the circumstances, teams must make sure whatever transportation they use or take can accommodate their camera and sound crew as well. (i.e., if a team boards a bus, and there are not enough seats/room for the crew, teams cannot board.)
  • The team's cameraman must be situated in a co-pilot/passenger seat whenever teams are in a taxi, car, or vehicle. The sound operator is situated in the back cabin in the vehicle.
  • Teams (unless otherwise stated) must use the method of transportation that production required, (i.e., if a team is told to travel by foot/pedestrian, but decides to take a bus or taxi). Teams must also mind that the fare option for transportation they take is not prohibited by production. (i.e., if a team is told to travel by rapid transit train, and instead takes a private commuter train)
  • As of at least The Amazing Race 17, if teams are instructed to walk or drive themselves to a destination, teams cannot hire a taxi to guide or take them through the route. (The rules imply that teams must either walk/be pedestrians to the destination, or self drive. Hiring a cab is in violation of this rule) as seen in "I Want to Be in the Circus, That's Where I Belong" and "Ali Baba in a Suit".
    • Prior to this, teams were allowed to hire a taxi for this purpose, as long as they were not expressly prohibited from doing so by their clue.
  • In the United States version, teams under no circumstances are allowed to barter, panhandle, use sympathy stories, and beg, at airports, train stations, or transportation centers.
    • However, teams are allowed to beg and ask for money from civilians in other locations, as long as it is allowed by local laws.
  • In The Amazing Race 1 and from The Amazing Race 25 onwards, teams can only book one travel itinerary for themselves. Teams cannot book another set of tickets if they discover another flight they would prefer after purchasing the first booking.

Task Rules[]

  • Teams are free to forfeit a Detour challenge they are having issues with, without any direct penalty given to the team. However, it is mandatory for teams to pass either one of the tasks in the Detour, in some shape or form. Any lost time teams are taking to relocate/transport themselves to another Detour location, if they did decide to go to another Detour task, (although Detour locations usually are moderately placed within each other) will not be credited. Teams who decide to do neither Detour task, will encounter a penalty. (Teams who were given a U-Turn, must complete both Detours regardless.)
  • Unless otherwise stated in rare conditions, a Roadblock, is a task that only one partner can perform. Teams are merely given a very vague description of the challenge (Who likes to party?) etc., and teams must then choose which partner will partake in the Roadblock task, after which teams are given further instructions explaining the rules of the Roadblock challenge. Once a team member is selected after the initial description, this decision cannot be changed or altered. Other than offering moral support or words of encouragement, the non performing Roadblock partner is not allowed to offer help or offer hints or any other advice to their partner. Teams who forfeit a Roadblock challenge, will encounter a penalty.
    • Starting with The Amazing Race 6, no team member can complete more than six Roadblocks throughout the race, forcing the other partner to by default complete the Roadblock. This rule is only bended, during unforeseen circumstances (i.e., in The Amazing Race 33, because production was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Roadblock count reset following the resumption of production.)
  • In any task that provides teams with equipment, tools, animals, guides, or other props, teams cannot change these mid-task. Teams cannot interfere with such equipment for other teams.
  • When driving a rental car, should it break down outside of the team's control, they will be given a replacement, but receive no time credit for time lost.
  • Teams may be required to wear costumes, outfits, and other accessories, to which they must be on their person until further notice.
  • Teams must complete each challenge as specified by their clue. Should a team fail to properly complete a challenge, violate the provision made in a clue or challenge description, or miss a Route Marker altogether (unless specifically allowed to do so, such as winning the Fast Forward or using the Express Pass), teams may go back to the location of the challenge and complete it or incur a penalty at the Pit Stop.
  • Unless otherwise stated, teams are free to help, give assistance, work together during some tasks. However certain rules may still be at play regardless.

Penalties[]

Unless otherwise stated, these penalties refer to the United States version.

  • If a team incurs multiple penalties, they are cumulative.
  • All penalties are typically served at the Pit Stop at the end of the leg. However, if a team falls last on an elimination leg with a penalty, their penalty is not applied. If a team on a Non-Elimination Leg only serves their penalty partially or checks in last place with a penalty, they will serve the remainder of the penalty at the start of the next leg.
  • If a team realizes that they have violated the rules before checking in, they can go back to the point where the infraction occurred and rectify the situation. If they do so, and their error does not inconvenience other teams, no additional penalties will be assessed beyond the time lost in fixing the error.
  • In general, teams that skip a Route Marker, fail to complete a task, or have an outstanding debt (such as cab fare) cannot check in and the host will tell them to go back to fix the error before returning to the mat.
  • If a team is separated from their camera and sound crew, production may hold them at the next Route Marker until their crew arrives or for an appropriate time that production deems is sufficient.[5]
  • The standard time penalties are as follows:
    • For most minor rule infractions, teams will serve a 30-minute penalty. This penalty is usually applied for:
    • Minor violations of various tasks have a 15-minute penalty. For example, in "Don't Lay Down on Me Now!", when Laurence & Zac used too many buckets at the Detour, which allowed them to complete the task faster.
    • A team that quits a Roadblock is assessed a 4-hour penalty. This penalty is typically applied in different ways:
    • As of The Amazing Race 17, a team that quits a Detour without completing either task is assessed a 6-hour penalty.
      • Prior to this, the penalty for skipping the Detour was 24 hours.
    • As of The Amazing Race 29, a team is unable to complete either half of the Detour due to unavoidable circumstances (i.e., weather or hours of operation), is assessed a 2-hour penalty.
      • Prior to this, the penalty of being unable to complete either Detour was 4 hours.
    • Failing to complete a Speed Bump incurs a 4-hour penalty.
    • Completing a Fast Forward incorrectly incurs a 6-hour penalty.
    • A team that quits/is unable to complete a Route Info task incurs a 2-hour penalty.
    • A team that quits/is unable to complete a Scramble incurs an 8-hour penalty.
    • Flying outside of economy class incurs a 24-hour penalty.[6]
    • Bartering with personal belongings incurs a 2-hour penalty.
    • As of at least The Amazing Race 29, a team that is caught speeding is told by security to pull over to serve at least a 10-minute penalty, while on the racecourse.[7]
      • Between The Amazing Race 13 and The Amazing Race 28, the penalty for speeding was simply 30 minutes, applied at the start of the next leg.
      • Prior to The Amazing Race 13, the penalty for speeding was 30 minutes plus time gained, applied at the start of the next leg.

Time Credits[]

  • In the event that a team is delayed by a production difficulty, such as needing to change the batteries on a camera, a time credit may be issued.
  • Teams may be given time credit if an event outside the team's control (i.e., weather) delays them from completing in a task. For example, in "We're Coming for You, Phil!", when Tara & Joey and Vanck & Ashton were given a time credit for a storm occurring at the site of the first leg's Detour, bumping them up to 6th and 7th place respectively and pushing London & Logan down to 8th.[8]

References[]

The Amazing Race Format

Challenges: Assist · Clues · Clue Box · Double Battle · Express Pass · Resurrection Card · Salvage Pass · Save
Pit Stops: Elimination · Finish Line · Marked for Elimination · Megaleg · No Penalty · No-Rest Leg · Non-Elimination Leg · Pit Start · Pit Stop · Starting Line · Superleg
Rules: Money · Rules and Penalties
Others: Date Night · Discharged · Ejection · Evacuation · Medically Exempt · Overnight Rest · Quit · Switchback
Twists: City Sprint · Departure Time Penalty · Double Elimination · Double Your Money · First Class Pass · Hazard · Marked for Elimination · On Ramp · One Way · Partner Swap · Pass · The Scramble · Salvage & Sabotage · Starting Line Task · Surprise Elimination · Surrender Money · Surrender Money and No Supplied Vehicles · Surrender Money and Possessions · U-Turn · Yield

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