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Post TAT #4c – Paperwork

There is a fair bit of paperwork and cost involved in moving a bike between countries. Here is a list and description of all the paperwork we had fill in to ship our Groms from New Zealand to the USA and back.

EPA Waiver – Foreign registered bikes are allowed to be temporarily imported into the USA for up to a year provided they have a little letter from the EPA saying its OK. Basically you send the EPA a nice letter with some info as to what, when and where and they give you an official letter back saying its cool with them but you better make sure you piss off back home within the year. Our first minor hiccup though was that both bikes were registered in Sims name (eh it was just easier that way), but the EPA waiver isn’t valid if someone other than yourself or your spouse is riding the bike. Damn.. so we had to register my bike in my name, wait a week for the registration letter and resubmit the EPA waiver requests. 8 Bucks. …still cheaper than a wedding

For two bikes, we needed two of everything. I’m the dedicated form filler in this household. Sim reckons his handwriting sucks. That excuse doesn’t really fly when you can fill everything in electronically nowadays. He is just lazy and I quite like filling in forms. Apart from the EPA Waiver, Our shipping company sent us all the forms we needed to fill in.

Power of Attorney – to let Mainfreight  (Shipping company) deal with customs in the USA

Customs non resident import declaration form – a form that looks like it’s been photocopied a few too many times before being finally scanned to pdf. Oh and the first page of the vehicle importation is for the exportation of the vehicle? Seriously, what kind of self respecting bureaucracy is this? Go figure.

Supplemental Declaration of unaccompanied goods form –This doesn’t even look like an official form. It looks like someone’s kid knocked it up in 5 minutes in MS Word. They even left the numbers highlighted in yellow! Weird.

DOT hs799 form– ooh an easy one, and a proper fillable PDF form too. You basically say none of this applies I haz got EPA waiver.

EPA 3520-1 form – another easy one. I haz got EPA Waiver. Done!

Customs CBP 3299 form – I could almost memorise our vin number by heart by now. These guys actually had a very useful “how to fill in this form guide” on their website. I am impressed. I am also impressed that there is such a thing called a “paperwork reduction act”. I kid you not. Love it.

Packing Declaration – If you are shipping with a wooden crate, you need this for MAF/MPI to say its treated wood. Get it from the crate maker

Mainfreight Form – just something formal saying who, what and where for Mainfreights records.

New Zealand Customs trade single window application – Some sort of import, export licence number thing that Mainfreight needed us to have.

Supporting documents – copies of passports, drivers licence, bike registrations blah blah blah. 

Electronic Export Information (EEI) – This one gets filled in on the return.


Other paperwork


When you ride a motorcycle in the States you need to comply with each states law regarding motorcycle insurance Usually at a minimum it’s a specified coverage for injury, and property damage to other people, basically what some people refer to as third party or liability insurance. This site is useful for looking up what each state requires.  Prior to shipping the bikes, there was one company (Dairyland) that offered comprehensive coverage for foreign registered motorcycles operated by a rider on a foreign motorcycle licence. Everyone else were basically just brokers for Dairyland.  Literally a few days after we shipped the bikes, this company stopped providing the insurance. There were a lot of threads on Facebook pages and motorcycle forums, with varying levels of disinformation. Lots of googling later we ended up with a semi-legit  solution. Segurogringo. An additional fee got you a foreign rider, foreign bike endorsement for the insurance. 

It sounds like Fernet Insurance has finally managed to sort something out and are now offering insurance to foreign riders on foreign bikes, however, this is just hearsay from the internets and we haven’t bothered to confirm. 

If you are buying a bike in the US, insurance is a whole different story. 

Thankfully we never had to use the insurance, and we were never asked to show it. We were pretty paranoid about leaving our bikes anywhere as we knew they weren’t covered for theft at all and if you read your travel insurance carefully, anything attached to the bikes would not have been covered either.

Travel Insurance

We landed up going through Southern Cross. Being 125cc bikes made it easier for coverage.  The fine print in a lot of insurance policies either have a  clause about motorcycle size or something about remote areas. Oh, and if anything on your bike gets nicked, it won’t be covered.

We have put in 1 claim to Southern Cross for Simon’s visit to the Doctors in the US. They do not make it easy, but they did actually payout within a couple of weeks of submitting.

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