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Bought US Bike, entering Mexico - registration docs ?
We are novices to this game & have just arrived from the UK to start on a journey across Mexico, central america & further by bike. We have put a deposit a used 650 vstrom from a Houston dealer (thx for recommendations on the HUBB
Before picking up the bike we have an option to register the bike, and so pay the sales tax and wait 3 weeks for the registration documents, thus delaying our start date and costing us valuable cash!
Alternatively, we could not register, save the sales tax and only have the title documents to prove ownership - this would mean no registration and a paper plate.
We're confused over the paperwork we need, even after reading the threads.
We'll be riding in Texas for a few days to get to Mexico, then crossing the Mexico & subsequent central & souther american borders.
Can we travel on paper plates ? In the US ? In Latin America ?
Do we need the registration documents for riding in Texas, even though we will be riding directly out of the country to Mexico ?
Do we need the registration docs to get into Mexico, or would proof of ownership suffice? ? into any other latin american countries ?
If we need to ship/fly the bike (eg around the Darien gap or to any other latin country), will a lack of registration docs cause problems or stop us doing this ?
Is there a definitive position, or can anyone offer advice ? any of you experienced HUBBers encountered this ?
(in the UK it seems much simpler with one document !)
Any swift response would be most appreciated and earn a ! as Houston, we might have a problem !
I don't think the license plate is a big deal, but my experience is that you will need the state issued title (not just the contract from the dealer) to get across international borders. I wouldn't chance it. If you hand carry your documents from the dealership to the county clerks office (the dealer will know where it is) you may be able to get expedited service. Passport, drivers license, and bike title is what I was asked for at every border through 13 Latin American countries last year.
Thx gents, this is useful info & food for thought. It's so easy to become overwhelmed and not see the wood for the trees.
AndyT, as we are probably heading through San Antonio we'd be glad to meet up for a & a chat - once we get moving ! If you drop me your email address I can keep you posted, and you could tell us about your trip - I read your snippets
Ask your dealer about this....it's part of his job to get you registered and insured....not your job!
If you need a local address....ask Andy to help out? (sorry Andy !! )
No problem, Patrick. Graham has been in touch, and hopefully we'll meet up when they com ethrough San Antonio. You are right about getting the dealer to do the legwork though. Better to get someone whose business it is than take the advice of some of us wankers on a bulletin board.
For what it's worth, the counties in Texas seem to be more provincial than those in most states, they like to collect there own vehicle taxes and liscense fees. Meaning for instance that if you live in one county and work in another, you can't go to the one motor vehicle office down the street from work on a lunch break, you must go back home to the office in the county you live in. There is also a $90 "import duty" to bring in a vehicle from another US state and register it here. But I digress.
US Vehicle Registration/Title papers for Mexico and South
Bit late, but for what it is worth for anyone buying a used vehicle in Texas ... we bought a Toyota 4Runner (trashed the bike two weeks before leaving UK so I know this is not suitable, but the principals are all the same) in Texas and are UK citizens but do have South Dakota address through a terrific mailing service that if anyone wants the details of they can email me.
Toyota dealer had to register as there is a law in Texas prohibiting an owner of a used vehicle seeing the previous owners name and details. Make sure you check for clean ownership papers i.e. do they have the owners title suitably renounced. We were assured that although they didnt they could expedite the registration within three days. They lied. This was also the biggest Toyota dealer in that part of Texas.
It turned out the previous owner had lost the title and so the dealer had to apply for lost title - this requires a letter from the leasing bank giving a lien release.
The dealer tried to get a lien release on the car quickly from the old leasing bank - they took three weeks, so no registration doc for three weeks which delayed our trip south for that period of time although we did pass the time pleasantly in that part of the world it wasnt plan A.
You need a Texas address for quick registration - there are several mailing services that charge a small fee for this and its very useful.
It turned out that the dealer then had mistakenly missed the crucial street address of our mailing service but we only realized this after getting to Honduras - we had specifically asked when we received the registration doc (three weeks late) that the full address had been entered with the Texas authorities - again they lied.
By this time we were short on time and had found out that Mexico would not be the problem.
Mexico - all they want is the registration slip and probably proof of ownership docs as there is a thriving trade buying crashed vehicles in the US and exporting to Mexico and Guatemala but you need the registration slip and need to buy the insurance before crossing the border through AAA or Sanbornes etc. Mexico did not need the title doc (just as well as Ill explain)
Guatemala - slight problem with no title - they know what it looks like and need it - we got away with the (expired) Toyota warranty document but it took a lot of discussion with border helper earning his money and a small propina.
Honduras - same as Guatemala ... by this time we realized that we were running on borrowed time without a title. We then discovered that the Texas title doc which was issued and posted three weeks after registration (six weeks after buying car) was never going to arrive as the address was incomplete and didnt have a full ZIP code, only the first five numbers - make sure you get the additional four registered.
To get a replacement title takes four minutes at the Texas office, so $2000 in airfares, hotels, car hire etc I had it - we were now so far behind in our trip that the time taken to get a notorised power of attorney sent to Texas and then fedex the title doc would take at least a week so we cut our losses.
Since then, no problems on border crossings and we are now in Ecuador waiting the container to arrive tomorrow and (hopefully) release on tuesday for the rest of what is becoming a cannonball run to Ushuiai.
Summary - overseas can buy vehicle, get insurance (with mailing address which includes PO box numbers), and get vehicle docs but do make sure you check for clean possession or rapid obtaining of title doc - it is necessary. Of course once you have it, get good hi-res photocopies as they look identical.
The small dealer in Houston let me use his address for the title & posted it on to me in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, so I didn't have to hang around for 3 weeks.
I guess that I was lucky & got a reasonable bloke (although he did take a slice of the sales tax by declaring a lower sale value to the DMV - I found out when I had to get a title application copy from Laredo DMV as the copy the dealer gave me was only one sided & wouldn't be accepted in Mexico so Sanbourn told me)
Travelling through Baja into mainland Mexico, then through to Guatemala
My wife and I have just arrived in Ensenada in Mexico and we are looking forward to the journey south to La Paz, then mainland Mexico through to Guatemala. Plus we haven't got our vehicle papers yet - any advice?
Are there any places that we should stop off at on the way?
We are on a big fully loaded bike so off roading is limited.
We are looking for a perfect spot where we can camp or stay close to the beach and chill out for a week or so.
We are currently waiting to start a language course, so looking to get on the road again in about a week.
Get in touch if you have any information or if you are travelling through Mexico at the same time.
All the best
Nice camping south of you at the beaches of Bahia de Conception south of Mulege in Baha Sur. Or the palapas at the beach at Gonzaga Bay. Alphonsinas also used to be nice. And I hear Mex 1 has been paved south of Puertocitos. I was in Baja 5 years ago and it was quite pleasant. Someone else may have more current information. It's hot this time of year so the snowbird RV crowd won't be in Baja.
Once you get to mainland Mexico it will be cooler in the mountains and you might like the colonial cities. Although the pacific coast road, Hwy 200, is awfully fun south of Puerto Vallarta for a couple hundred miles.
When I entered Mexico, after buying a US bike, but no visa time left to wait for the Title, it was OK as all they asked for was the Registration papers, which were in my name. I only ever had the old Title, and expected to have the new title shipped when it arrived at my freinds place in San Diego.
Needless to say, make sure it gets shipped by UPS or another shipping company, mine never did arrive in Panama, and 2 years later it has still not arrived, that was by US postal service!!!
Lucky for me, I had a scanned copy of the title before it was sent, which I photocopied both sides back to back and that worked OK.
For what it was worth, the only country in Central Amerca that asked for the title was Honduras, a rip off country.
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