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robsanne 13 Sep 2012 13:35

Buy and sell in South America?
Hello all, myself and my boyfriend are travelling to South America at the end of November. We are hoping to travel by motorbike from Santiago through Chile and Argentina and then sell the bike in Argentina before moving on through Brazil by bus. From our research so far it does seem that Chile is the easiest country to buy a motorbike but selling it on seems to be more problematic. Is it possible to buy in Chile and sell in Argentina? Would it be easier to try and sell in Uruguay, Paraguay or Brazil? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


xfiltrate 14 Sep 2012 17:06

Selling a foreign registered motorcycle in Argentina
robsanne, great to hear you and your boyfriend will be traveling through South America and are looking to buy a motorcycle. Many "foreign tourists" before you have legally purchased motorcycles registered in Chile.

With a simple search of the HUBB, you will find several accurate descriptions of the pros and cons and legalities of buying a motorcycle in Chile as a foreign tourist.

I cannot help you with the details of buying in Chile, but I can advise you that with the proper documents - a "padron" I believe you would be able to ride the motorcycle registered in Chile across the border and into Argentina.

But, when you enter Argentina you will be issued a Temporary Vechicle Import Permit for between 3 and 8 months - depending on your travel plans. Before the TVIP expires you are obligated to ride the motorcycle out of Argentina and you are not legally able to sell it in Argentina.

There will be others who might advise you differently, but if you want to abide by Argentine law, you, as a foreign tourist, cannot legally sell a motorcycle registered in Chile, when you have entered it into Argentina on a TVIP.

Even a permanent foreign resident of Argentina can legally only nationalize one foreign registered vehicle and that must be done within 6 months of becoming a permanent foreign resident (a process that can take 3 years for retired person, with qualifying income) and once the foreign registered vehicle is nationalized (registered in Argentina) Argentine law demands that no one except the owner ride it for one year and it cannot be sold for a period of one year from the date of the Argentine registration.

This is probably more data then you were looking for, and once again - let me caution you - many tourists have bought and sold motorcycles illegally in South America, as a Buenos Aires Hubb Community member, who has registered a foreign registered motorcyle in Argentina, I feel obligated to pass on what I have learned regarding the question you have posed.

xfiltrate, Eat , Drink and Be Careful :welcome:

John Downs 14 Sep 2012 17:32

As Xfiltrate has said it is illegal for a tourist entering with a bike on a TVIP (temporary vehicle import permit) to sell a foreign registered bike in Argentina.

If you search this site you will find people who have bent the rules and done it between borders selling to another traveller, but that is another matter.

Since you are travelling on into Brazil, it would be easier to sell on in Paraguay I hear. They don't enter your bike in your passport, so there is no need to cancel a TVIP before leaving. Mind you, this is second hand information, and I won't be in South America for a few more months and haven't tried selling a bike there. But if you search this site you will find many others who have done so.

The less expensive the bike, the easier it is to sell. And the less money you stand to lose if selling it cheap to a dealer or private party in Paraguay at the end of your travels.

The easiest thing to do of course would be to ride back to Chile and sell the bike legally. I think that's what I would do. Then take the loot and catch a plane to Rio for Carnival!!!

Safe travels.

Kindest regards,
John Downs

robsanne 23 Sep 2012 17:32

Thank you
Thanks John and xfiltrate both helpful posts. We certainly won't be trying to sell the bike illegally, is it ok to sell on to other tourists? We are thinking of trying to sell our bike (when we get it) in Paraguay as all signs seem to be pointing to this place being the easiest place to see it. Would either of you happen to know whether it is easier to sell a European or US registered bike?

Thank again for your help so far.


ta-rider 23 Sep 2012 18:30



Originally Posted by robsanne (Post 393579)
is it ok to sell on to other tourists?

The person who legaly imports a vehicle into a country is also responsable to pay the import tax or to export the bike again so i think the only legal way to sell your bike would be between the boarder of two countrys. You export the bike from your name and the new owner imports it and continues his trip.

Travel save, Tobi

xfiltrate 23 Sep 2012 21:11

Buy/Sell regulations in South America and Insurance
Some time ago I promised myself not to give advice regarding the sale of foreign registered motorcycles in South America.

So, this is not advice, just the result of many hours of searching the motor vehicle department web sites of every State of the United States. All, with the possible exception of California require the new owner's signature on transfer of title be witnessed by a notary authorized by the State that is transferring title, or be present with proof of insurance.

There has been some discussion, on the HUBB, indicating that a notary of a United States Embassy might meet the legal requirement for witnessing the signature of the new owner on transfer of title documents. I have no real data that anyone working in the capacity of notary at any United States Embassy would be willing to notarize a transfer of vehicle/moto title issued by a State of the United States when that transfer has been deemed illegal by regulation of the government of the host country to which the U S Embassy is assigned to represent United States interests.

And, if the vehicle/motorcycle was involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury or extensive property damage or both, an attorney representing the insurance company with which the vehicle/moto was insured would "immediately" question the legality of the ownership of the vehicle/moto and its' legal status in the country where the accident occurred and discovering that the vehicle/moto was not legally owned, due to failure to comply with title transfer law as established in the State that issued title, by the supposed new owner who contracted the insurance, would constitute a negation of insurance coverage and then, according to the law (especially Argentine law) those who are involved in an accident causing bodily harm or extensive property damage and who have no insurance would go to jail until a judge can sort out fault and penalties. The dockets of Argentine courts like the dockets of most other South American countries are always full and therefore the wait - in jail - could be 3 - 6 months if you are lucky !!!

Now, as a matter of personal interest, I would like to know how a "between the border" sale would satisfy an insurance company that the new owner indeed is the owner of the vehicle/motorcyle?

Once again this is not advice just results of my research and a question.

ta-rider Please enlighten me.

Thank you

xfiltrate Eat , Drink and Be Careful and buy insurance

markharf 23 Sep 2012 22:50

Looking for a 100% legal means of selling your vehicle and getting it re-registered in the new owner's name generally involves buyer. seller or both returning to the country of the last legal purchase. For this reason, most do not insist on 100% legality.

I really can't be bothered to get into another endless, probably pointless debate about this. Fortunately, previous endless, pointless debates are available to the diligent searcher. Suggested format in Google (not the HUBB site search): *site:horizonsunlimited.com your preferred search terms here.*

Hope that's helpful.


TravellingStrom 24 Sep 2012 00:12

The OP does not say where they are from, so this may be useless

But, If for example you are American and buy the bike from another traveller, also an American, then the bike paperwork can be done 'in America' so to speak.

The only dodgy bit is the TVIP, this has been and will continue to be done, mostly between Argentina and Uruguay, export in one name, import into another

Search and ye shall find, as Mark says :)

As for the above, I did it in 2010, so I know it can be achieved with minimum of fuss


ta-rider 24 Sep 2012 10:14


As for German vehicles the person or company registered in the papers is not automatically the owner. Nower days most of the time the owner is a bank anyway and the registered person the leasing partner.

Young Driver register there vehicles on there Dads company because its cheaper and even take the insurance on there grandpa because he owns a house and therefore insurance is cheaper.

The Insurance is not interested who owns the vehicle. When you make the police you can choose who is allowed to drive...only one special person, everyone age > 25 or even younger people etc but it doesn't help you outside of Europa anyway.

If you sell a vehicle you just give the title paper (Fahrzeugbrief) to someone else to change ownership. You only need a contract to get rid of warranty and to write a time till when the new owner has to unregister the vehicle on your name otherwise you keep paying taxes for it forever...

To save those taxes mostly people traveling in expensive trucks unregister there vehicles before or when they left Germany (Eport Nummernschild oder abmelden bei einer Botschaft). Then they can also legally sell there vehicle wherever they want (between the boarder of two countrys where no other law is involved) In German law contracts are valid without notaria.

That some country's require the name of the driver written in what ever papers you have from the vehicle and don't accept a power of authority is a different question.

Even im trying to help there might be something wrong so don't rely on this, Tobi

xfiltrate 24 Sep 2012 11:28

I agree with you Mark
It is proper that this thread belongs to the H U Bar because it is more comical than most of the drunken word slurred diatribes posted here.

Mark, yes, I agree, to be 100% legal the buyer and seller must abide by the title transfer regulations of the State of the United States where the motorcycle is titled.

For me this is not an "endless, pointless debate" because we are not debating. We both have agreed. Nor is the information above that we have both agreed upon pointless.

If this thread increases the awareness of potential buyers and sellers of foreign registered (USA/EU/etc) in South America that Courts of Law, in the event of an accident with bodily injury or serious property damage, will hold the "legal owner" of the motorcycle libel for penalties and damages and perhaps jail time , when it is determined that the "illegal buyer" fraudulently misrepresented his ownership of the motorcycle and thereby negated the terms of insurance coverage, he/she might also face penalties.

I am not advising anyone to do anything. I am just presenting facts that others might benefit by considering.


7055 24 Sep 2012 17:39

Maybe it's better if one of you just ride back from Buenos Aires to Santiago, sell it there and get the bus back, before continuing north to Brazil.

xfiltrate 26 Sep 2012 13:27

"A Journey Into Hell"
As a punctuation mark to my last post to Markharf, I am posting a link to a well balanced, Good, Bad, and Ugly, but mostly Bad and Ugly article found in the current edition of "The Economist" magazine.

Prisons in Latin America

Prisons in Latin America: A journey into hell | The Economist

FYI, early on in my career, while living in Mexico, I was tasked to visit Mexican jails and report the presence of incarcerated foreigners. At the time, I was working with the Cruz Roja, (Red Cross) and plagued by inquiries from dodgy investigators who had been hired by distraught parents looking for their children who were last heard from during their spring break in Mexico and by all manner of people attempting to resolve the aftermath of serious traffic offenses and accidents that landed "foreign tourists" in Mexican jails.

The recent article, found in the current issue of "The Economist" and referenced above confirms my concerns about being legal in South America .... and those who read here can decide if my contributions to this thread are "pointless" or not.

Comments welcome.


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