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Old 27 Jul 2002
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Linköping, Sweden
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Translation? Returnticket? Carnet?


This is my first contribution to the Bullentin Board. I plan to start my first long ride in the end of this year(South-, central-, and North America).

I have some thoughts and would appreciate your opinions.

1) Some embassasies I have been i contact with recommend me to translate my ownership papers into spanish, another embassy recommend english and the third want the papers in their original language (swedish).

At one embassy they told me to leglize the papers at all the spanish speaking countries
consulate, for those countries that I will pass.

A translation to spanish and/or english could be alright but do I really have to legalize them at all these consulates?

2) My idea was to buy a one way airline ticket and go home whenever and from whereever I want. Or maybe ship the bike somewhere else.
But the Canadian embassy wrote as follows to me: ".... Visitors must also have sufficent documentary evidence to prove that they will be able to go home(a valid return airline ticket or evidence of onward transportation is recommended)".
Do you think I would have problems at the border if I just have a one way ticket? Any suggestions?

3)The Equadorian and Brazilian emabassies told me that I need a Carnet for their countries. This is confusing.

I have read here that Carnet is not necessary for a trip like this, except for if you fly to Equador. I guess I do not need any if I drive in and fly out. Right ?

I was told that I would have to leave a deposit at the Brazilian border if I arrived without a Carnet. Have someone left a deposit (if you have, what amount) or had any other major problems at the Brazilian border depending on that you don't have a Carnet?

I have a feeling that the embassies think I should have a lot of documents that's never asked for at the custom.

Anyway I have decided to trust you that have been there and done that.


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Old 28 Jul 2002
Susan Johnson's Avatar
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Canada
Posts: 710
Hi Mattias and welcome.

You are experiencing the usual frustrations of dealing with officials who are often completely clueless when confronted by someone who isn't just doing a fly-in package tour to their country.

What they tell you may have nothing to do with what you experience at the border, and the procedure when crossing a land border may be completely different than flying in with the bike (or worse yet, shipping it in by sea).

If you can afford to get the Carnet de Passage, I would do so, as you will have the smoothest process of all, no matter how you arrive. However, it is not REQUIRED anywhere in North, Central or South America at this time, despite what the embassies tell you.

If you don't have a carnet, each country determines its own requirements to allow you entry with a vehicle (and ensure you won't sell it in their country without paying duties).

In Central America, they stamp the driver's passport with the vehicle details, so that you cannot leave the country without the bike.

In North America, depending on your appearance (how poor or disreputable do you look), they may require evidence of funds, credit cards, and/or onward air ticket to satisfy them that you really are planning to leave the country. They may also require you to post a bond of some amount for the bike. It really depends a lot on the customs officials at the border you enter at.

In South America, any of the above might apply depending on the country. Ecuador and Brazil seem to be the worst for flying in, (though we do know people who have flown into Ecuador without a carnet. Also, see Ted Simon's experience on flying into Brazil last year. http://www.jupitalia.com/sep_txt_3.html

Chile and Argentina should be somewhat easier.

As for translating your documents, having them in English might be a good idea, as English is widely spoken in the Americas.

When you decide which location you will ship to, it would be worthwhile to contact the local HU Community to see if someone will meet you and accompany you through the process to assist with the translation. Ricardo Rocco has provided valuable assistance in this matter to travellers to Ecuador.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2">At one embassy they told me to leglize the papers at all the spanish speaking countries consulate, for those countries that I will pass. </font>
I don't know what they mean by 'legalize', but that sounds like a waste of time to me.

Sorry not to be able to be more definitive. As a general rule, you should try to clean yourself up and get your hair cut before border crossings, as there is a general dislike of 'hippies' over here. Allow plenty of time and just be prepared for whatever hoops they want you to jump through. Consider it as part of the adventure!

Good luck and please keep in touch.

Susan Johnson

"It matters not what goal you seek
Its secret here reposes:
You've got to dig from week to week
To get Results or Roses."
Edgar Guest

'One world, two wheels'
Susan Johnson

Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997
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Old 1 Aug 2002
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Linköping, Sweden
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Hi Susan

Thanks for your quick answer. I understand that it is difficult to answer these kinds questions. I will let you know how it ends.

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