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  #1  
Old 23 Apr 2012
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NZ Restricted License for US

Hey guys, just wondering what the deal is with different classes of license travelling through the Pan-Am areas. A New Zealand Restricted and Learners License have certain restrictions regarding motorcycle size etc. In NZ I can't get an IDP with a Restricted license, would I be able to get one in the states with my Restricted NZ license? Anyone have any experience?

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  #2  
Old 23 Apr 2012
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You don't need an International Driving Permit to travel in Latin America. Any drivers license will do. Any Kiwi drivers license will work fine. It is written in English. None of the people I encountered at Latin American borders could speak English. Imagine if you were a customs official filling out forms at Auckland airport and someone handed you a picture ID license from Russia written in Cyrillic. With a drivers license number in the upper right hand corner. You would write down the drivers license number in the blank on the form and that would be that. That's the way it works in Latin America. Done and done.
Although the license is printed in a language they aren't familiar with, the picture looks like you and there are numbers they can put in the blank on their form. The passport looks like you and it has a number they can put in the blank on their form. The bike papers have the same name as the passport. The vehicle ID number on the bike matches the bike papers. That's all they care about so they can fill in the blanks on their forms, stamp them and hand them back.

I assume Latin America is what you mean when you say pan am areas.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=831076
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  #3  
Old 23 Apr 2012
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Just as a sidenote to the two other people who might read this thread:

Take a moment to check the paperwork and permits they hand back to you at the border when entering a new country to make sure the numbers they write down in the forms and permits match exactly the numbers on your actual id and bike papers.

Border exit bureaucrats like numbers that match when filling out their forms and if the numbers have been written down incorrectly by the border entrance bureaucrats they can give you a hassle. It will save you headaches and possible bribes when exiting the country later on if you take the time to check and get any errors fixed before continuing into the country.

Cheers,
John Downs
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Old 23 Apr 2012
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Thanks for that John, is the same likely to apply in the US and Canada or are they going to kick up a fuss if they see a NZ license?
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Old 23 Apr 2012
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It's no different here than in your country.When I rode around NZ I had a US drivers license and nobody bothered me. I didn't get pulled over though. Not many coppers on the south island.

I have been to Canada many times and a US drivers license was fine. Although since 9/11 you now need a passport to get back into the US. Used to be that a drivers license would do going and coming to Canada.

Police and border officials are just people like you and me. If a foreigner smiles and treats them with respect they will cut you some slack. Most aren't used to foreigners from down under so wouldn't know about restricted NZ licenses anyhow. Restricted licenses are something I hear about from Europe and former British Empire countries. In the US 16 year olds can ride Hayabusas.

They didn't have Hayabusas when I was 16 which is probably why I am still alive and answering questions on HU.

The hard part for you is getting to the US and Canada so you can ride around and have fun. That's a long freaking flight from Auckland.


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John Downs
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