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  #1  
Old 2 Jun 2011
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Help: necessary license in South America for Americans

Hey everyone,

My friend and i have just embarked on a moto trip throughout chile, argentina, uruguay, peru etc.. for about 4 months. We just arrived in santiago and are searching for bikes now.

However, i somehow misplaced my interamerican license while packing. I only have my US license and US Moto permit.

What license(s) are necessary for the countries listed above and is there anyway i can get them from chile??

thanks
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Old 3 Jun 2011
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License

There isn't a hard answer to this.
Many people have ridden around without an international license. Never heard of an Interamerican.

I rode in Chile for 5 years with a Cdnlicense for motos.

Not strictly speaking legal as I have permanent residence. Anytime I was stopped and showed my BC license they asked to see my passport and tourist visa. A bit of a problem that I didn't have this with me a
But no mention of the license.

Anyway after about 8 stops I never went away with a ticket or any other problem but I decided anyway it would be good to have a Chilean license, so I got it, but probably wouldn't show it in a stop anyway., and would just play dumb.
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Old 3 Jun 2011
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Your US license is all you will need. Every time I tried to use the international divers license they would ask for the "real" one. In 23 countries I have never been asked for international license so after paying for two I quit and just go with local license. (as long as it is endorsed for motos)

I would recommend making copies of it with a color scanner then plastic coat. That way if the police want to keep it you can just let them have it.

Have a great trip.
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Old 3 Jun 2011
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I use an International licence, but only as a sacraficial one. They usually look at it with a WTF??, but i tell them its all i have. As long as it has a photo and a few stamps and signatures. Otherwise, i follow the previous advise, make good colour copies of your real licence and get it plasticised. Never show them your real licence, as it gives you ammunition to get a bribe from you. Often they will demand you pay them a fine to get your license back, in which you let them have the one you have shown. Bottom line, follow the rules of the country your in just as you would expect a foreigner in your own country and all will be well.
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Old 3 Jun 2011
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I needed my international license in Guyana, nowhere else in Latin America. However, I've needed it elsewhere in the world, so I carry one wherever I go. It's not very imposing, so I'm thinking I might substitute one of the fake international licenses you can buy off the internet. Some look very imposing indeed, which is what it's all about in the end.

I also carried fake licenses and expired registrations. The whole deal about cops confiscating your license until you pay them off is vastly over-stated. They don't want your license. What could they ever use it for? They don't want your registration either: they want your money, and if you don't give them any money they'll give you back your papers, given half a chance.

I'll probably keep on carrying fakes, because it's easy to do and it allows me to keep the real papers pristine. But I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who's actually had police anywhere confiscate a license. All they ever have done to me is threaten and bluster, then cave in when I laugh and joke and shake their hands and refuse to pay them off.

Mark
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Old 3 Jun 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
I needed my international license in Guyana, nowhere else in Latin America. However, I've needed it elsewhere in the world, so I carry one wherever I go. It's not very imposing, so I'm thinking I might substitute one of the fake international licenses you can buy off the internet. Some look very imposing indeed, which is what it's all about in the end.

I also carried fake licenses and expired registrations. The whole deal about cops confiscating your license until you pay them off is vastly over-stated. They don't want your license. What could they ever use it for? They don't want your registration either: they want your money, and if you don't give them any money they'll give you back your papers, given half a chance.

I'll probably keep on carrying fakes, because it's easy to do and it allows me to keep the real papers pristine. But I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who's actually had police anywhere confiscate a license. All they ever have done to me is threaten and bluster, then cave in when I laugh and joke and shake their hands and refuse to pay them off.

Mark
Unlike us, there are many travellers who end up paying in fear of not getting their docs back or fear of getting arrested in a foreign country. Its the same old thing: "You need to go to the {nearest capital city} to pay your fine and get back your license, or you can pay the fine here..." Most people cave in and pay, sometimes at a discount, sometimes at a premium. I personally know of a few and have heard the stories like we all have, and i have paid once before, but i did break their law, so fair game. After a while we learn the game and how to play it. Now, i give them a fake. Usually the officer knows this will be a dead end and gives up easily. Peru was the worst, as i would get shook down and refuse to pay, only to have the officer call his buddy in the next city and do it all again. Happened six times in one day between Trujillo and Lima, got really old really fast. In every instance, they insisted in keeping the licence until i payed, i would just call their bluff and insist on a written ticket which i would pay in the station, then change the subject to whatever, they always seem interested in the GPS Map In the end, they tell me to enjoy their country, give me back my fake and send me on my way. Its all part of the experience, and we all get better at it with time.
BTW... im talking about situations where the Police are being corrupt, but if you did indeed break their law, i wouldn't expect to get away without giving something up, usually in the form of money.
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