Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Planning, Trip > Trip Paperwork

Trip Paperwork Covers all documentation, carnets, customs and country requirements, how to deal with insurance etc.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10 Sep 2011
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 4
Custom clearance USA to Australia (German registered bikes)

Hi there :-)

we 2 girls on bikes riding through USA-Canada-Australia-New Zealand.

and here comes the question, we are kinda stuck with:

We shipped the bikes (registered in Germany) to Miami (without a Carnet, no problem), rode to LA and now we want to ship the bikes to Australia.

We found a shipping agency specialized in Exporting/Importing bikes from USA to Australia. So we want to ship our bikes in one of their containers.

The guy at the warehouse told us that he will need out titles of the bikes for customs clearance, that he will keep those and send them directly to Australia.

Since we do not have the titles with us (we do not want to sell the bikes), only the registrations and the Carnets, what do we actually need for custom clearance??

And can we give the shipping agency the Carnet for clearance? Or should we never ever give them out of our hands??

I called the US Customs at the port of LA but they were totally unfriendly and unhelpful and basically refused to talk to me because I am not an shipping agent.

Any help and insight is highly appreciated.

Nini :-)
Reply With Quote
Old 10 Sep 2011
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Helsinki
Posts: 1,579
I´ve shipped my (Finnish-registered) DL650 by air to Perth from Indonesia in March -08.

First of all, the vehicle has to be "clean as new", when you bring it to Oz. There will be a very strict quarantine inspection. Before sending the bike, we spent many, many hours trying to clean everything, even using some used toothbrushes to get to some places. In fact the only thing the inspector wasn´t happy about, was some sawdust on tyres (as after the final washing, we had pushed the bike just a few meters to the place, where the final crate was built!) but in the end, he let it go. Had he not, it would´ve been taken to some further cleaning, which we´d have to pay.

And if you´d be using a wooden crate, which we did, it would have to be fumigated (I hear they put it in some kind of tent, and put gas in there, to kill the insects, etc, that might be inside the wood material), and you also get a certificate of that for the Oz authorities. Google "AQIS", and you should find more info about these.

Australia didn´t demand a carnet (they do now), but we used it since we had it, and getting it stamped was very straightforward. I believe the customs had already checked the shipment when it had arrived. In fact the AQIS quarantine inspection was after that, and it cost maybe a bit over 100 AUD (so probably about 150 AUD total to get the bike out of Perth airport).

No-one asked about any insurance, however, and we did not dare to bring it up, as we thought it might complicate things at the airport. In fact it took us a couple of days to figure it out: we contacted the state Department of Infrastructure & planning (or something like that!) and they asked for our credit card number, and arranged a temporary 48 hrs insurance, that allowed us to ride legally to a roadworthiness test station. There it was checked, that the vehicle complies with Oz road regulations, and this should not be a big deal on a modern bike (but if your vehicle is coming from a right-hand drive country, hope they don´t mention the headlights - in our case they didn´t, and I really don´t know, but maybe left-hand lights aren´t even required for temporary import).

From there we got a certificate of roadworthiness, and were instructed to ride a couple of block to the next government office, where we got a 6-month mandatory traffic insurance for Western Australia (but it was told this will be valid in other states, too). They called it carnet-insurance. These together ended up costing in the region of 200 AUD I think.

We already had the bike with us in Perth a couple of days without any insurance for Oz, and I would not recommend to do it this way. Our bike had been totally uninsured for several months, while in Asia, so we had gotten a bit careless about that. In Oz, they seem to be very strict about it, just like in Europe, so even if you aren´t involved in an accident, it might get you in lots of trouble. Contact those government offices well in advance, and you should be able to arrange it better than we did.

In Perth area, some mc-dealers even said that they´ll be able to even get us a comprehensive insurance for Oz, if we like, but those seemed to cost several hundred AUD.

I think we had the original carnet (and bike´s other documents - but I don´t recall we had more than the carnet & registration document) with us at all times, and it never created a problem, so sending them ahead does sound a bit strange. Maybe, if sending in a container and by sea, this could be somehow different... guess then someone else must be handling the customs clearance for you? But still I think I´d be a bit reluctant to give those originals away for a longer period of time.

Last edited by pecha72; 10 Sep 2011 at 17:46. Reason: add text
Reply With Quote
Old 10 Sep 2011
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 4
Pecha, thank you for the info.

And as far as all the other stuff (cleaning bikes, technical and quarantine inspection in OZ etc.) is concerned , we know the drill (being prepared Germans ;-) )

The actual question is regarding the custom clearance issue here in the States and the paperwork handling, having not you own crate in a container, but using a container byloading.

Nini :-)
Reply With Quote
Old 10 Sep 2011
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: on the Road, at the moment somewhere else
Posts: 239
Hi Nini, we are just preparing our crate for next week to ship it to NZ, starting in Düsseldorf. We talked to the customs in Hamburg and they told us that a copy of the carnet will do, and for the shipping agend it will do as well. Ask the customs there if a copy will do and if they say no then ask them if a "proofed" (notariel Beglaubigt) copy will do, I would try to avoid at all cost to give them the original, if you loose this you will never see your Carnet money again, plus you will have really big problems in OZ.

we are in NZ from 28.10. see you around...

stay safe and have fun, sascha and kerstin
Round the world by bike. www.RTWbyBIKE.com
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Bangkok custom clearance? Groott Trip Transport 9 7 Aug 2011 11:43
German Customs Clearance issue Crappybiker Trip Transport 1 24 Apr 2011 02:43
german registered bike needs imported to uk Jake Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else 7 17 Mar 2008 17:44
German BIkes not allowed in South Korea! Baikal Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road 14 2 Jul 2006 04:36
custom clearance in bangkok janhonda Trip Paperwork 0 5 Nov 2005 10:42


Renedian Adventures

HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 18:55.