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Trip Paperwork Covers all documentation, carnets, customs and country requirements, how to deal with insurance etc.
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  #1  
Old 10 Sep 2011
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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 :-)
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Old 10 Sep 2011
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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
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  #3  
Old 10 Sep 2011
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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 :-)
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  #4  
Old 10 Sep 2011
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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
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