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  #1  
Old 25 Sep 2010
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Entry to the US from Mexico & bike storage in the US

Hi,

Been on the road for 2 1/2 years and currently in Peru. I'd like to go to the US & Canada, but heard various stories about some people having been refused entry to the US. Some of them had a valid 6-month visa, others tried it on a 3-month visa waiver.

Are these stories of 'refused entry' the exception for long-term travellers? I mean, the only two reasons for a refused entry I can think of are:
1) you've been to the 'wrong' countries earlier during a RTW trip
2) the border guys can't quite comprehend how someone can support themselves without working, so maybe they think "you want to work illegaly in my country, hence you're not gonna cross this border"

On my current passport I've been to Iran & Pakistan (about 2 years ago now). I can prove a legal income from my home country, which supports my trip – so I hope at least point 2 won't be an issue.

Anyway... IF I get into the US on a 3 month visa waiver, I'd then like to leave the bike with my cousin in California, fly back to Europe for 2-3 months and then get a 6-month visa for the US & fly back to the US to continue my trip.

Any long-term(!) traveller had any problems with getting into the US?
How long can I leave the bike in the US? (With or without Carnet)

Thanks a bunch!
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  #2  
Old 25 Sep 2010
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Try contacting HU members EmandHame and ask them for their take. They were travelling, I believe, on British passports, with a Malaysian registered bike when they came to the US from Mexico a couple years ago. I think with a European passport (I'm only assuming, with a name like Bjorn) you won't have any trouble getting into the USA. As you say, the border guards are more concerned with Latin Americans coming in to work.
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  #3  
Old 26 Sep 2010
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Not sure about entry into the USA. But if you got your Visa at a US embassy should be OK. But with these current "no fly" lists and "watch lists" it's hard to say what kind of mischief all these private contractors are up to. Most all this sort of data mining is now out sourced to Israeli companies and other contractors who get billions to "protect" us.

It's possible just visiting Pakistan and Iran could make you suspect. (Bjorn, these dudes are crazy paranoid!) Problem is, you can't ask any US official if you are on a "no fly" or "watch" list. They won't tell you. So it will either be Yes or No. Just show up and give it a shot.

As far as the bike goes, no problems. No such thing as Carnet in the USA for vehicles. There will not be any paperwork or forms to fill in, no temporary vehicle import permit. Does not exist in USA. Nothing. Leave bike as long as you like. (but it can never be registered on a local plate)

But you will need some sort of US insurance cover. (easier said than done)
And you should have your home plate/registration up to date and current.
(many don't do this and aren't bothered) Neither insurance nor registration will be checked at the border. They will only be concerned about YOU, not the Bike! (although the Dogs may Bomb/Drug sniff it)

With this done you are good to go .... only limiting factor being your Visa time limit. The bike won't be noted in your passport, so you can fly out and fly back no problem if you get a new Visa.

Good luck!
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  #4  
Old 26 Sep 2010
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Well – Simon & Lisa Thomas, I heard, had problems on the border coming in from Canada. Both have a EU passport, they're married – and one got in, the other didn't. Two bikes, same nationality, same bike paperwork, same day, same queue.
Don't know any further details/reasons why, but that's what I was told.
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  #5  
Old 3 Oct 2010
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Thanks for the reply, Mickey. Good info re: bike storage. I guess I´ll give it a shot then.
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  #6  
Old 17 Oct 2010
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Hi Bjorn,

I'm currently in Mazatlan, Mexico, going to cross to Baja and go north back into the USA.

Whereabouts are you now? Nigel would love it if we could catch up.
I'm his sister, travelling on my Beemer on the way back to Australia.
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  #7  
Old 17 Oct 2010
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Bjorn

I make the trip 6 times a year back and forth, for the last 10 years from Honduras to the USA and the USA border crossing is a pain and is completely different as if you would have entered by plane, what is hassle free.
Being in a similar situation as you, being a Dutch National living in Honduras , they do not even accept my Honduran residence cart as proof I am living in Honduras. Border agents have a check list of what you have to present to let you in with ridiculous demands.
Bassicly you are quilty till you proof different of not living and working in the USA
I my case I have to show hard evidence from the last 6 months that I do not live in the US by showing all the crab such as phone/water/electricity bills
creditcard/bank statements ( Not copies or online statements) property, scool etc. and they usually ask for something what I do not have and that give them then the agrument to drill you more, but all the 50 times I crossed on the end ( sometimes 4 to 6 hours, they let me in ( I always carry a briefcase full with papers to proof my innocense and just like you enter with a waiver initially and changed later to a US visa for 6 months, but still have the same problems and sometimes it is the same officer over and over every 2 months, but they just smile and say "every time you come you have to convince me"
Just be polite and show no frustration and say yes and no sir and it will work
Border agents totally do not care if your motorcycle has different plates from other countries and if you have insurance yes or no
In my case I have Honduran plates and can not , I say can not buy liability insurance on the border and tried many, many times.
If you need additional info for that part of the world with border crossings, I consider myself an expert incl. Quatemala and Mexico crossings
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  #8  
Old 18 Oct 2010
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Entry to USA

Hi Bjorn,

We finally made it to the USA, crossing on the 3rd Oct. Used a small border crossing, Antelope Wells in the south west of New Mexico. The border only gets about 6 cars a day. We entered on a Visa Waver and had no problems. They just asked how long we were going to be in the USA, told them we were flying out on the 26th Nov but they didn't ask to see any ticket. Think they also asked if we were employed. Paid $6 each and we were stamped in. When we were ready to leave they said welcome to the USA, shook our hands and gave us each an ice cream. How good was that. Didn't want to know anything about the bike.

Maybe a better border for you would be Palomas (Mexico) and Columbus (New Mexico) as we could not get our bike stamped out of Mexico at Antelope Wells. Not sure if the Customs guy was away or they just don't do it there but they told us it could be done at Palomas/Columbus. We are going back to Mexico at the end of January so we will just re-enter on the tempory import paper. The guys at the border said this could be done as long as it is inside the 6 months from the original entry date.

We have always found smaller border crossings are much more friendly and easy going. Not sure how you will go with the Iran/Pakistan stamps in your passport as they do look at every page. Don't forget to fill out online the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) for the visa wavier. You need to do this before crossing the border and if you are approved it lasts for 2 years.

When do you expect to be up this way?

Safe travels.
Carol and Ken
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  #9  
Old 19 Oct 2010
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Ken & Carol, good to see you made it to the good ol USA. Be sure to stop in if you get near the state of Washington. Martha and I will head to Australia for six weeks (bikes are in transit now) Nov. 13 , anyone I should say hi to when I get there.

OK back to the subject of entry into the USA, most do not have any problems, it is only if you kick up one of their red flags. Remember you are a tourist and not coming to work or live. I think if you have a plan it makes them feel better. Best if you have a job to go back to after trip, not sure how they would check if you said you did. or if you have gray hair just tell them you are retired. Good luck and Welcome

Bob
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  #10  
Old 19 Oct 2010
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Hi Bob,

We fly back to Brisbane on the 26th Nov to spend Christmas with the family, it's been 2 1/2 years since we have been home. Arrive back in the USA around mid January. Plan is to ride back down to Mexico, Guatemala and Belize for a few months until it warms up in the USA. Don't have a plan yet but will be in your area sometime next year.
Where will you land in Australia and what is your planned route? What are your plans for Christmas....? Send us a PM or send us an email if you can.

Carol & Ken
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  #11  
Old 20 Feb 2011
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I'm having issues getting in as I got turned back at the border at Brownsville/Matamoros and not sure whether to wait a few day for the embassy to open or try another smaller border crossing say Laredo or Presidio any ideas or thoughts

This time I have a job back in Oz so should be fine
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Last edited by olyflyer; 20 Feb 2011 at 23:48.
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  #12  
Old 20 Feb 2011
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What ever you do DO NOT TRY ANOTHER BORDER CROSSING! They will bring it up on the computer and you will be in deep dodo. Work with them at the crossing where you first tried. See if you can meet there sometimes silly requirements. Those on the line are under a great deal of pressure due to the millions of undocumented workers coming in from the south.

I complained about our border crossings to my congressman, his answer "Homeland security thinks if they treat everyone really rude the terrorist won't come in." I have also been told that the USA and Russia are the two worst borders to cross and so far I think they are right. Good luck,hope you make it in.

RJT
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  #13  
Old 13 Jun 2011
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Matamoros/Brownsville

Quote:
Originally Posted by olyflyer View Post
I'm having issues getting in as I got turned back at the border at Brownsville/Matamoros and not sure whether to wait a few day for the embassy to open or try another smaller border crossing say Laredo or Presidio any ideas or thoughts

This time I have a job back in Oz so should be fine
Typical ...... We are heading for that border tomorrow and tonight I come across your post
Hope things have changed since February .... How did you get on in the end, did they give you a reason for refusal?
Guess we will either be through or stuck waiting before I can pick up any replies.

Hi Ken and Carol, Bjorn .. where are you guys now?

Kev & Lorraine Hatchett
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  #14  
Old 13 Jun 2011
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All good just took as much paper work in with me as I could get, bank balances, letter of employment in Aust, tesol certificate (English teaching in sth America) addresses and phone numbers of friends in USA

They stamped me in for another 6 months after about 2 hours of talking about my journey, just asked to speak to a different officer

Good luck
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  #15  
Old 13 Jun 2011
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USA Border Crossing

Greetings from Atlanta, Georgia. How are you guys. Good to hear you have reached Uncle Sams's land. Cannot recommend Brownsville as a good border crossing. We always prefer really small ones and would consider travelling a little West to try another crossing. The small one at Antelope Wells New Mexico is not even listed as a border crossing on our map and the Mexican side could not stamp us out. This was not a problem as we planned to return and use up the rest of our six month visa early in 2011. USA border side had six staff and said they usually only process about six vehicles a day. Really pleasant time with the officials being super friendly. We received info from a Mexican guy at a garage when we told him we planned to cross at Colombus New Mexico. He said being a weekend it would be VERY busy and to try Antelope Wells. If you do not plan to return to Mexico to use up the remainder of your six month visa make sure the border crossing out of Mexico you choose can release your bike. Sometimes this can only be done some distance from the actual border post. Colombus is a good crossing we have heard from other travellers.

Are you entering on the 90 day visa waiver or do you have a visa?

Good luck and just keep smiling. Remember we are their allies and friends. Just imagine how they would treat us if we were their enemies. We are having a great time here and meeting fantastic people.

Cheers Ken and Carol

Last edited by Ken & Carol; 13 Jun 2011 at 15:25. Reason: Spelling
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