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Old 29 Jun 2012
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Urgent: need advice crossing border from Uruguay as foreigner w/ Uruguayan bike

Hello fellow motorbike adventurers!

Me and a friend of mine planned a great motorcycle trip from Uruguay to Argentina, Chile and finally Bolivia. So we flew from Amsterdam to Montevideo (we are both Dutch nationals) and purchased last week two motorcycles in Montevideo. We arranged insurence etc and the necessary paperwork.

Next step was to cross the border between Uruguay and Argentina at a place called Frey Bantos. At the border however, we were told we could not leave Uruguay since we are Dutch nationals with an Uruguayan licensed motorbike. Apperently, only Uruguayan citizens may leave Uruguay with a vehicle. The sour thing is that I knew that Argentina had this policy, so thats why we flew to Uruguay in the first place! Apperently we are the first ones to try it from Uruguay, because I couldnt find this information on the internet (and I searched for quite some time).

Anyway, we are stuck now in this border town Frey Bantos. At the border however, we met a really nice and helpfull couple, of which the guy was coincidentally also a member of HorizonsUnlimited! They suggested that we went back to the border town, find two people with motorcycle drivers license, go to a public notary and then give them written permission to ride our bikes. These people will then drive the motors trough customs (showing our permission to ride our bikes, which are of course still on our name). We will walk trough customs, without our vehicle, are allowed trough and collect our bike across the border from the two Uruguayans. They will then return to Uruguay and everybody is happy afterwards (including the Uruguayans, because we will pay them dollars).

Now before we are trying to arrange this (which wont be THAT easy, since neither of us is very fluent in Spanish) we would like to be sure that this works. I know that this type of approach has worked in Argentina, but do I miss perhaps some details here? Should the Uruguayan national show a green card (insurence) at the border? And should this be our greencrad or should they arrange one for themselves?

Anyway, I really hope some of you could enlighten me a bit on this. Right now we are stuck here, and we want to get moving!

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Old 29 Jun 2012
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for sure you mean the crossing at Fray Bentos (at least that is how they spell it on Google).

Somebody told me (quite some time ago) that also Uruguay forbids foreigners to leave the country with their bike, but I have never heard of anybody that was refused to leave (as it happens in Argentina quite regularly)

Your idea with the notary sounds good to me, it could work. Dont forget that you will have to enter Argentina with the bikes, so you get the TIP (temp. import document) in your name.

It is also quite a long time ago since I crossed at Fray Bentos, so i cant recall if both custom agents (for Argentina and Uruguay) sit in the same room, or how the crossing is set up.

My advise is, try another border crossing (with custom agents not sitting in the same room) with your local friends and the notary papers.

I remember from 2003, it was very easy to leave Uruguay into Brazil, nobody asked for bike documents ... but this is nearly 10 years ago and it could have changed.

Sorry, this post does not really answer all your questions, but you have to find your way ... your Adventure started !

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Old 29 Jun 2012
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Gracias Mika!

It is indeed the town of Fray Bentos, sorry for that. The uruguayans do sit in the same building as the Argentines, but would this cause us problems? As long as we have a stamp in our passport it would be alright right?

I think this crazy policy is the result of this cursed Mercosur thing/agreement between the countries of Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil (and perhaps some others that I am missing right now). So I guess it wont be so easy anymore to cross the uruguayan - brazilian border as a foreigner with uruguayan bike...

Anyway, someone else knows some more about this?

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Old 3 Jul 2012
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Well, i am giving an update on the situation to serve as a warning for others.

The option with the Uruguayans driving our motorbikes trough customs did not work out for us, even though they were legally autorized to drive the bikes.
Turns out there is absolutely no way to cross this border as a foreigner on a Uruguayan bike...Even contacted the Dutch consulate who were very helpfull and made some phonecalls but had to give us the bad new unfortunately.

Next step is probably flying to Santiago, since I understand that these crazy border crossing laws do not apply in Chili, so that border crossings won´t be an issue anymore.
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Old 3 Jul 2012
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Well this matter is common and happen only with neighbour registered bikes, most countries here have laws preventing smuggling exports so require at least “one year in your name register if you are not a resident to take the bike out of the country” some countries have a reciprocities agreements so there is when sometimes also the receiver country reject you...
Pay someone to cross the border only will make them accomplice of a transgression, if you never brings back the bike, customs will go for them.
If bike is properly register in your name (with more than a year if is from these countries) , you have your title and/or registration, International Driving license (For Motorbikes) and a 3rd party insurance; you don’t will have any problem to get into or out from any of the Southamerican countries.
Provavly others will say that they were travelling (like this) down here and they didn’t need all of this or other than even with all of this they had troubles... I’m only informing what is legally required.
Dakar Motos

“El mejor remedio para la Boludez, es la Inteligencia…”
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