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Motorcycle paperwork requirements for riding abroad by Steph Jeavons

What motorcycle paperwork you will need and where to get it

 I receive emails every week about this rather less exciting, but necessary subject. It doesn’t quite fit with the romantic image of riding off into the sunset. However, it is as important as the wheels on your bike if you want to venture into foreign lands with your trusty steed. This article covers the basic facts on the dreaded motorcycle paperwork.

Motorcycle paperwork, the essentials:

  • Carnet De Passage

This is like a vehicle passport and the cheapest way to travel without paying import duties.  It is based on the value of your bike, and the cost varies depending on which country you are in. The UK no longer has an office that offers Carnet (it used to be the RAC) but you can still purchase them from a European company called Cars Europe. There are two payment and deposit options here so give yourself plenty of time to research this and allow a few weeks for delivery. The Carnet will last 12 months but is NOT required for all countries.

  • Bike Insurance

The dreaded insurance! How do you get insurance to cover you for several countries on a long journey? The simple answer is – you don’t! There is no way to cover yourself for all countries before you leave home. Get what you can and then get the rest as you go. Most borders or nearby towns will offer insurance but some countries will not insure foreign bikes. Bear this in mind when planning your route and consider how many risks you are prepared to take. India and Nepal are two high road-risk countries and yet I could not get covered.

Any insurance you DO get will only cover you for third party. Simply put – if your bike is stolen – hard luck!

  • Travel Insurance

Insurance companies generally run and hide under the nearest desk when you mention motorcycle travel! If they DO agree to cover you then read the small print VERY CAREFULLY before you sign up! It is quite a specialist cover and the clauses can be a minefield. I would highly recommend that you ensure you have repatriation cover in the event of serious injury/death. This will protect your loved ones against having to re-mortgage the house to get you home should the unthinkable happen.

Insurance is expensive but a night in a foreign hospital may cost you far more than an arm and a leg. Be sure you know all the facts before you decide to ‘wing it’. They can be unreliable but I have found they do pay out in the event of a broken leg or obvious ‘instant’ injury at least. Other health issues may be more complicated. Lastly, in the event of an accident, be sure to make your insurance company one of the first calls you make. Give them all the details you can and they SHOULD take over from there.

  •  Visa’s

Visa’s are something that just have to be ticked off the motorcycle paperwork to-do list. They may seem daunting at first –  I know I was nervous of getting this right. The good news is, with a little research, it doesn’t take long to get your head around it. Once you have a rough idea of your route, list your country’s in order and give yourself a rough time-frame. Visit each country’s visa requirements page and take notes. Most countries are easy and you can pick one up at the border. Some require you to apply in advance online or via their embassy. Some require a great deal of additional information and may insist on an itinerary or even having a guide in place – places like Iran and Myanmar, for example. Pakistan requires you to be in your country of residence when applying. You cannot do this on the road. Also please bear in mind, once your visa is issued, you will have a limited time in which you can use it.

The important thing with any of your motorcycle paperwork requirements is to be aware of your deadlines!

Picture Gallery for Motorcycle Paperwork requirements for  riding abroad

motorcycle paperwork

Outside the Road Transport Department in Malaysia

Motorcycle Paperwork

The Carnet de Passage


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