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North America Topics specific to Canada and USA/Alaska only.
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  #1  
Old 3 Mar 2014
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DOT & a Letter of Conformity needed in US

Hi,

Have you been asked to provide DOT-letter and a Letter of Conformity from the vehicle manufacturer when you temporarily import your bike to US as a non-resident?

I just went to customs in here in LA to get my bike out and officer asked these papers from me.
I already have EPA exemption letter and filled all other papers…

-Hemuli
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  #2  
Old 3 Mar 2014
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No reason for requiring anything more than the EPA letter as long as you're otherwise conforming to the rules (bringing the bike with you for personal use, planning to re-export the bike within a year, etc.). If the officer suspects you're actually going to sell the bike here he might require a deposit, but I haven't heard of that happening. I'd suggest arming yourself with printouts from the customs website--start with https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...e-into-the-u.s. If that doesn't work, you might need a customs broker.

In all cases, stay polite, patient and humble. Just because the guy is wrong doesn't mean he can't cause you endless, expensive distress if he wants.

Good luck. Post back here to let us know how it goes.
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Old 3 Mar 2014
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Originally Posted by markharf View Post
No reason for requiring anything more than the EPA letter as long as you're otherwise conforming to the rules (bringing the bike with you for personal use, planning to re-export the bike within a year, etc.). If the officer suspects you're actually going to sell the bike here he might require a deposit, but I haven't heard of that happening. I'd suggest arming yourself with printouts from the customs website--start with https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...e-into-the-u.s. If that doesn't work, you might need a customs broker.

In all cases, stay polite, patient and humble. Just because the guy is wrong doesn't mean he can't cause you endless, expensive distress if he wants.

Good luck. Post back here to let us know how it goes.
I have copy of EC-certificate of Conformity, but the problem is that it is in German and customs did not accept it…

I called BMW North America, but they were not able to help, they just told me to contact NHTSA…

I have not heard people needing this document when importing the bike to US as a non-resident…
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Old 3 Mar 2014
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Seems like local dealers cannot help, because bike is from Europe...
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Old 3 Mar 2014
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Must be something to do with emission regs in California?! Really, I've no idea. Generally, we ship into Canada because it's more straightforward. I've never heard of this for a temporary import either. Unfortunately, my only experience is with Canada or, third-hand, with folk who've shipped into East Coast ports. Cannot imagine though why BMW North America are not able to help. Do they not have a Homologation Department? They are the only people qualified to say whether your bike meets American (Californian) standards.

Sorry, I appreciate this isn't helpful if you've already spoken to them.
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Old 4 Mar 2014
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Let's try again. You need to distinguish between permanent import (needs all kinds of stuff--your bike probably won't qualify) and temporary import (needs just an EPA letter). You're being asked to provide what is needed for a permanent import. That's a problem.

If you're doing a temporary import, print out the regulations from the website I gave above, bring them to the customs office and see what you can do.

If you're doing a permanent import, you need help.

And let's try again: if you can't settle this on your own, you need a customs broker. Not a dealer. Not BMW.

Good luck.

Mark
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Old 4 Mar 2014
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Originally Posted by markharf View Post
Let's try again. You need to distinguish between permanent import (needs all kinds of stuff--your bike probably won't qualify) and temporary import (needs just an EPA letter). You're being asked to provide what is needed for a permanent import. That's a problem.

If you're doing a temporary import, print out the regulations from the website I gave above, bring them to the customs office and see what you can do.

If you're doing a permanent import, you need help.

And let's try again: if you can't settle this on your own, you need a customs broker. Not a dealer. Not BMW.

Good luck.

Mark
Hi Mark,

After 3 visits to the customs, finally there was different person at the counter.
I explained same things: Temporary importation as non resident, showed again my EPA-approval letter and told that BMW NA and BMW Hollywood said that I do not need a Letter of Conformity and that I do not need a letter from DOT because I do not register my bike in US.
Result: I got customs papers stamped and got my bike from the airline cargo

I think the problem was that they had a printed flow chart on a wall where it stated that: Temporary import -> need EPA and DOT letters as also a Letter of conformity.
This 2nd customs official said that I need a letter of conformity, no matter if I bring it US only for a short ride, but luckily he then accepted my explanation of my route etc…
They even wanted to see my carnet and told that I cannot bring my bike to the US with carnet, because carnet does not state US in the country list…

After whole day´s work, I got my bike out and now I am ready to ride here
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Old 4 Mar 2014
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I wonder how this thing goes at the land border?
I will exit US when I go Canada. Then head Alaska, back to Canada and again US...
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Old 4 Mar 2014
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I wonder how this thing goes at the land border?
I will exit US when I go Canada. Then head Alaska, back to Canada and again US...
You will have no problems at the land border, the Canadians will smile and welcome you. On the way back the Yanks will wave you through most likely :-)

I've crossed an number of times and never been asked for the EPA at a land border.
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You got a buffoon on the other side of the counter. Every bureaucracy has them. Next time, print out the regulations in advance and ask politely to see a supervisor. Sometimes it's better to have a buffoon standing in your way than a malevolent jackass, but not always.

You'll have plenty of experience with both if you're headed south. Safe journeys!

Mark
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Old 4 Mar 2014
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Yes, just need to be really careful and polite with them, not to make them angry because then they can cause real problems...

Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
You got a buffoon on the other side of the counter. Every bureaucracy has them. Next time, print out the regulations in advance and ask politely to see a supervisor. Sometimes it's better to have a buffoon standing in your way than a malevolent jackass, but not always.

You'll have plenty of experience with both if you're headed south. Safe journeys!

Mark
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Old 4 Mar 2014
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Originally Posted by BruceP View Post
You will have no problems at the land border, the Canadians will smile and welcome you. On the way back the Yanks will wave you through most likely :-)

I've crossed an number of times and never been asked for the EPA at a land border.
Ok, good to hear
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Old 4 Mar 2014
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Originally Posted by Hemuli View Post
I wonder how this thing goes at the land border?
I will exit US when I go Canada. Then head Alaska, back to Canada and again US...
As mentioned above, should be no problem re-entering the USA. I've crossed at Tijuana with friends on EU plated bikes. (Germany and Denmark) NOTHING was asked regards the bikes. They only checked Visas.

Customs/Immigration at land borders only care about YOU, not your bike. If you have a valid Visa, you will pass right through. Unless something has changed recently ... no paperwork is done for your bike at land border. I crossed with my Euro friends 4 years ago.

DO NOT offer your bike paperwork (unless asked). It might trigger someone to start asking questions. Do not say the word "Carnet". Offer NO extra information, only respond to direct questions with very short answers. This is what they like. SMILE!

Your license plate will be on camera before you enter border house. A computer will process plate number to see if bike is reported stolen. That is all. If you start offering paperwork ... it will only cause more problems. Keep it simple. "I am TOURIST here only to spend money"!
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Old 4 Mar 2014
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Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
As mentioned above, should be no problem re-entering the USA. I've crossed at Tijuana with friends on EU plated bikes. (Germany and Denmark) NOTHING was asked regards the bikes. They only checked Visas.

Customs/Immigration at land borders only care about YOU, not your bike. If you have a valid Visa, you will pass right through. Unless something has changed recently ... no paperwork is done for your bike at land border. I crossed with my Euro friends 4 years ago.

DO NOT offer your bike paperwork (unless asked). It might trigger someone to start asking questions. Do not say the word "Carnet". Offer NO extra information, only respond to direct questions with very short answers. This is what they like. SMILE!

Your license plate will be on camera before you enter border house. A computer will process plate number to see if bike is reported stolen. That is all. If you start offering paperwork ... it will only cause more problems. Keep it simple. "I am TOURIST here only to spend money"!
Ok, so sounds like no problems when entering Canada and back to US. Thanks mollydog
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