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  #1  
Old 22 Oct 2010
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Importing a bike to the UK

Does anyone have any experience of importing a bike into the UK?

I'm a UK citizen in central America with a US bike. Originally I had planned on shipping it to South Africa and riding around southern Africa but I've had so much trouble and cost with this bike but I'm now thinking I can't aford to do that and I should cut my losses and ship the bike back to the UK and import it. (I can't really, leagally sell it in central America)

But this is something I haven't really looked into yet so I'm just fishing for some advice. Has anyone done this? Is there anything I should do/could do now before I stick it on a boat that would speed/aid the process or is it just a case of shipping it and then sorting it all out when I get home?
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Old 23 Oct 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonesome George View Post
Does anyone have any experience of importing a bike into the UK?

I'm a UK citizen in central America with a US bike. Originally I had planned on shipping it to South Africa and riding around southern Africa but I've had so much trouble and cost with this bike but I'm now thinking I can't aford to do that and I should cut my losses and ship the bike back to the UK and import it. (I can't really, leagally sell it in central America)

But this is something I haven't really looked into yet so I'm just fishing for some advice. Has anyone done this? Is there anything I should do/could do now before I stick it on a boat that would speed/aid the process or is it just a case of shipping it and then sorting it all out when I get home?
No personal experience, but this UK gov portal links to most of the "official" info you need:
Importing and exporting a vehicle : Directgov - Motoring
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Old 23 Oct 2010
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Yep, did this with an Oz DR650 a couple of years ago.

Firstly, I could only get insurance for 30 days when I arrived back before I had to get it registered (they reluctantly extended this as it took a while to do).

You need to get an SVA test done first, mine failed on not having a stupid 5w running light in the headlight so had to get that done. They also don't like MPH stickers on the speedo glass if its in Km P/H but I just opened mine and stuck black tape on the 'K' which seemed to do the trick.

You also have to pay import duty and VAT on it via the Customs and Excise crowd (I had to pay £400 for a bike worth around £2,750), once you have paid, you'll get sent a certificate confirming payment has been made.

You then take the Customs and SVA certificates to the DVLA for the registration process (they won't do anything without confirmation of duty/vat payment) then you can get issued with a registration number.

That's the general gist of it but no doubt missed a couple of details. All in all it cost me about £650 to do. And the week later it got stolen but that's another story...

Your other (probably better) option of course is to sell to someone from the US in South America which will save you the hassle of shipping (cost me around $1700 to fly a bike (GS1150) from Vancouver to Munich in 2007) plus all the import costs.
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Old 23 Oct 2010
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Thanks, I've looked at the DVLA website - what i was after (thanks Mike) was a general idea of costs. 400 pounds sounds quite good. I know I could try to sell it but am not sure how legit. that would be. And anyway, I've put a lot of time and effort getting all those stickers on the panniers, I want to ride around the UK showing them off!!! LOL

Thanks for help/advice guys, I'll keep an open mind as I move into Mexico.
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Old 23 Oct 2010
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It's pretty straight forward

I've imported half a dozen vehicles into the UK, and it's actually very straight forward.

MikeS has stated the procedure. But no MSVA test needed if the bike model has already been through EU type approval (the case for any bike model already sold in the UK, ie. a parallel import rather than a grey import).

I have used Aladdin Freight (in Oakland, CA) many times, and found them to be absolutely superb. $450 all in, for a bike to the UK. Takes about 4-5 weeks. No preparation needed, don't even need to drain fuel or disconnect battery. No crating either, it just sits in a container.

If you want any info at all, please email or PM me. Obviously the financial/tax side of this procedure is somewhat flexible, and this is definitely worth talking about.
More than happy to help, so don't hesitate to ask.
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Old 24 Oct 2010
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Baron

Thanls for the offer. I assume the people you have used import from the US. I'll be in Panama if I ship my bike home, so I'm sure there are plenty of people there who will take my money to stick the bike on a boat.

if I do this it'll be in Jnauary so I may be in touch with other (stupid) questions then.
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Old 24 Oct 2010
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George,

Keep the questions coming. I've got a 1980's XT500 in South Africa that I want to import into the UK early next year, so you're thread has helped to shine some light on the process, however it seems from the DVLA website that it's easier to import an older bike in - as far as I understand it all I need is a MOT test rather than a full on SVA test. Compensation for riding an antique I guess!
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