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North America Topics specific to Canada and USA/Alaska only.
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Old 1 Nov 2002
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Shipping to the US for personal use from the UK.

Hi List,
I propose to ship a bike from the UK to the US to use on vacation over the next several years. I propose keep it at my buddies house and probably leave him with it when I have finished my travels.
What are the pit falls, and what should I declare?
Road tax, registration documentation, insurance & vehicle type approval are all questions that spring to mind.
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Old 1 Nov 2002
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Location: Londin, England
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Hopefully some others here can give you a more up to date indication of laws, but I don't think you can just leave your British registered bike there - you will be required to take it with you, failing which it'll need to go on American plates.
Another pitfall is the insurance is probably going to be very high, difficult to obtain.
However, all this changes if you take the American driving test and get a bonafide American license. You can then buy an American registered bike and get insurance within seconds - very reasonable T.P.O.rates!
Again, laws change from State to State regarding the test, but having an official address for all paperwork ( your friend's ) opens many doors. He/She just need to phone the local police/testing station to confirm what you need to do. ( I only had to sit the theory, for example )
It'll probably be far more cheaper and less hassle ( shipping papers, fees etc ) to go over and buy the bike there. There ARE insurers willing to insure you on a British license, American bike - I think I was quoted 150$ as opposed to 45$ with American papers. Hope this helps some!
P.S. Whatever happens - go to the U.S. and tour by bike. Beautiful place.
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Old 2 Nov 2002
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Hi List,
I read somewhere that if your bike was 15yrs old they would just turn a blind eye.
Is this the case anyone?
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Old 12 Nov 2002
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Location: Fort St. John, BC, Canada
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Hello all,
The 15 year rule applies to Canada. It does NOT apply to the United States.
I have just gone through the exercise of importing motorcycles into both Canada and the United States. To bring a motorcycle into Canada, it would have to be 15 or more years old, or meeting Canadian standards. For the United States, there are a series of standards that apply.
If you can obtain a U.S. driver's license, then the procedure is as follows.
Get a letter from the manufacturer that the motorcycle meets U.S. standards. Minor indication discrepancies (such as speedometer in kilometers instead of miles) is not a major concern. You then have to obtain a HS-7 form (for safety standards, lighting, etc), and an EPA 3520 form (emissions). Then it is possible to obtain a U.S. registration.
However, there are provisions for a non-resident to bring a motorcycle into the United States without going through all this. The motorcycle must be exported within a one year period (into Canada is acceptable), and I believe you can return to the United States.
Check this site out for more details.
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Old 12 Nov 2002
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Given that bikes are generally cheaper in the US than the UK, and add in the cost of shipping it, it seems to me to make much more sense to just buy a bike over there. You can, as suggested, get a US licence, and with your friends address, licencing and insurance is simple and cheap. All the other methods are a huge hassle - registering a newish bike in the US, if it isn't a model officially imported into the US, OFFICIALLY can't be done. Practically it can be, but can be very expensive and hugely time consuming. Some states seem to go easily, others impossible. I've heard a wide range of results, from dead easy to $15,000 and six months to do it.

KISS principle applies here - Buy a bike in the US.

Grant Johnson

Seek, and ye shall find.


One world, Two wheels.
Grant Johnson

Seek, and ye shall find.


Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997!
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