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  #1  
Old 7 Apr 2012
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Purchasing a US bike in Panama

I'm interested in a CA plated bike (conveniently, I'm also a CA resident) that is located in Panama City. What is the proper process (or maybe 'sufficient' is a better word) to get the bike and I out of the country without issue? I don't mind getting creative with Photoshop, but it's my understanding that the seller would need to check the bike out of the country and then I would check it back in...?

Following the transaction I will head north before looping back down and crossing the Gap. Searches didn't return the answer. Thanks for any help you can offer
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  #2  
Old 7 Apr 2012
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Originally Posted by Jacob_Wisdom View Post
it's my understanding that the seller would need to check the bike out of the country and then I would check it back in...
Right. So what's your question? Head for the C.R. border with the seller and your photoshopped documents, then do what needs to be done. Make sure the price is properly discounted to allow for the risks you're taking.

One alternative: re-register it in person in your home state, California. Airfare is not so expensive, considering.

Another possibility: Last I knew there was no one to ensure that you cancel your TVIP when leaving Panama by boat (i.e., towards Colombia). As long as you don't plan to return--an important consideration--you could easily do a TVIP into Colombia under your own name. That doesn't allow you to ride north (west, actually), before heading for Colombia.

Mark
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  #3  
Old 7 Apr 2012
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Good answer, thanks. Here's a question: I plan on selling the bike after riding South America. I know I can get around with forged paperwork, but when the time comes to sell I have a feeling many people wouldn't be keen on such a situation...not to mention the plates will be expired by then. I don't want to fly back to CA. Can I get a statement notarized that says I give someone else (for instance my brother) permission to act as my proxy in registering the bike in person at the DMV? Previously when registering a bike in CA there has never been any type of inspection, thus I don't believe the bike needs to be present.
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  #4  
Old 13 Apr 2012
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Short answer "be very careful"!
If luck is on your side you can get away with anything, I helped a guy in Panama who did this, bought a bike very cheap & ended up paying another $2500 for problems that occured afterwards.
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  #5  
Old 13 Apr 2012
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Originally Posted by Jacob_Wisdom View Post
Can I get a statement notarized that says I give someone else (for instance my brother) permission to act as my proxy in registering the bike in person at the DMV?
Not to be rude, but you're from California. Why are you asking here, when you can ask directly at the appropriate office in California (or have your brother ask)?

If all else fails, the state of California has a good website with many answers on a variety of subjects. I've looked for registration-related information there in the past. Try it.

Mark
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  #6  
Old 14 Apr 2012
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don't forget if you fix the title you still have to take possesion of the bike in no mans land as the TIP & insurance are not in your name & you have no TIP stamp in your passport.
Only the person named on the TIP can ride the bike. Do not try fixing TIP s, it doesn't work, if you get stopped the bike goes straight to the compound. Panama is one of the few places that stamps the vehivle in your passport. (Honduras is another).
If the vendor does not cancel the stamp he may not be allowed to leave, just depends how awake the immigration guy is!!
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  #7  
Old 14 Apr 2012
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my advice is fly to the US & buy a clean bike in your name
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  #8  
Old 28 Apr 2012
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Anyone can go to the California DMV and change the title into your name, provided they have the original title signed by the previous owner. I have done this for a friend. You will need an address in CA to have the title mailed to you.

Once you have the title there are side roads at Paso Canoas that allow you to get the bike out of Panama and into C.R. without going through the Aduana on the Panama side. You will need to go to Panamanian immigration, but you can park your bike and just walk up to the window. Then ride the back streets into C.R., go to the C.R. Aduana and do the C.R. import paperwork. C.R. Aduana does not check if the bike has been checked out of Panama. From there, you can ride north.

I'm not sure what will happen if you try to re-enter Panama with the bike. They may be able to see from the VIN that the bike was previously imported and not cleared. But you can claim ignorance and blame the previous owner for not clearing the old TIP.

The previous owner can leave via airplane. At the airport there is no immigration check on departing passengers.
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