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Can I Import a Motorcycle to Dubai from the US?

Published by Tamar Hela.

Can I Import a Motorcycle to Dubai from the US?

Importing a motorcycle overseas is never a straightforward process.

As an enthusiast interested in shipping a motorcycle from the United States to Dubai, it's important to understand the various customs regulations, costs, paperwork requirements and steps involved.

This guide provides a comprehensive overview of everything you need to know about importing a motorcycle to Dubai from the US.


Customs Regulations and Requirements

One of the first things to be aware of is that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) imposes a standard 5% customs duty on all imported motorcycles. This fee is calculated based on the cost, insurance, and freight value (CIF) of the motorcycle.

In addition to customs duties, motorcycles being imported to Dubai must meet specific standards and requirements set by UAE customs. Some key points include:

  • The motorcycle must be right-hand drive to meet Dubai's regulations for road vehicles. Left-hand drive motorcycles cannot be registered.
  • It must comply with UAE emission standards. Vehicles more than 5 years old from the date of manufacture require an emission test certificate.
  • All documents pertaining to the motorcycle such as the ownership title and bill of sale must be original, authenticated, and notarized. Photocopies are not accepted.
  • A Roadworthiness Test Certificate from the originating country is necessary to prove the motorcycle is in safe operating condition.
  • Motorcycles with excessive modification or customization may be subject to further inspections by Dubai authorities.
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Shipping Methods

There are a few primary methods for shipping a motorcycle overseas from the US to Dubai:

  • Container shipping: This is the most affordable option, where the motorcycle is packed and secured inside an ocean-going freight container. Transit times are longer at 4-6 weeks on average but costs are low.
  • Ro-Ro shipping: Short for "roll-on roll-off", the motorcycle can be driven onto the cargo ship. Transit takes 2-3 weeks. More expensive than a container but faster and gentler on the vehicle.
  • Air freight: The quickest option taking 5-7 days. However, air shipping a motorcycle is significantly costlier than sea freight alternatives. Only recommended if time is of utmost importance.

Each method has pros and cons depending on budget, timeline, and how much handling of the motorcycle is preferred. Research multiple quotes from reputable shipping companies to determine the best choice.

Costs and Fees In addition to customs duties and origin freight costs, budget for the following potential fees when shipping a motorcycle to Dubai:

  • Shipping and handling charges (lowest for container, highest for air)
  • Customs clearance fees (estimated at 300-500 AED)
  • Terminal handling charges at Dubai ports Transport from port to a motorcycle inspection facility
  • Vehicle inspection and compliance certification by Dubai authorities Registration and licensing fees with Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority.
  • On average, door-to-door expenses including all costs above typically range between 5,000-10,000 AED depending on the motorcycle size and shipping method used.
  • Quotes may be higher for larger bikes.
  • Factors like insurance, any unexpected charges or delays can also influence final costs. Plan accordingly and ensure funds are readily available.

Required Documents

To facilitate a smooth import process, have the following key documents prepared in their original and authenticated forms:

  1. Passport copy of the motorcycle owner Title/ownership papers in the owner's name Manufacturer's statement of origin or bill of sale.
  2. Purchase invoice and receipt of payment
  3. Roadworthiness or fitness certificate from origin country
  4. Motorcycle specifications like make, model, engine details Signed power of attorney letter authorizing a shipping agent
  5. Quarantine certification if required Certificate of conformity to UAE emission standards
  6. Not having complete documentation could result in delays, unnecessary expenses or even rejection at Dubai customs.
  7. Cross-check paperwork against all requirements in advance.

Import Process

Here are the general steps for importing a motorcycle from the US to Dubai:

  • Apply for an import license and certificate of conformity from Dubai customs. This process takes 1-2 weeks.
  • Coordinate shipping logistics like preparing the bike, booking a container/vessel, and obtaining insurance with a trusted auto transport company.
  • Load and seal the container for overseas transit to Dubai ports.
  • Clear customs upon arrival which usually takes 3-5 working days after paperwork verification. Pay duties.
  • Transport the container/motorcycle to an authorized inspection center. Inspections take 1-3 days.
  • Obtain compliance certification and registration at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
  • Collect the motorcycle after successful registration and affix Dubai plates. The whole import timeline is 4-6 weeks normally.
  • Thorough preparation and meeting all deadlines is key. Choose a reliable partner to help navigate the process intricacies.

Choosing a Shipping Partner

Engaging an experienced auto transport company greatly simplifies importing a motorcycle to Dubai. Go with recommended companies that specialize in motorcycle relocation globally and to the UAE specifically.

Find out details like:

Years in business and previous UAE/GCC deliveries Fleet size and compatible carriers for bikes Tracking and communication capabilities Included value/declaration amount for insurance Reviews and experiences of past clients Upfront quote transparency and payment options.

A reputable transporter can arrange customs clearance, guide documentation needs, schedule inspections and provide assistance until final delivery. Work only with International Motorcycle Shipping Association (IMSA) qualified partners for assured quality service.

Insurance Coverage

Compulsory insurance coverage is mandated by Dubai customs for all imported vehicles. This is usually factored into auto transport contracts.

However, ensuring the correct value of the motorcycle as well as third-party liability is prudent.

Common types of shipping insurance include:

  • Cargo or freight insurance against risks during transit
  • Storage insurance for periods at ports/terminals
  • Third-party/comprehensive policy for damage liability.
  • Agreed valuation to insure the vehicle for full worth
  • Insurance claims take time to process internationally so buy coverage exceeding realistic resale value in Dhams.
  • Confirm inclusions like theft, damage and delays are sufficiently covered.


Registering Your Motorcycle

Once cleared from customs, a few additional steps are needed to register the imported motorcycle in Dubai:

Present chassis and engine numbers to RTA for verification Pay registration fees which include road tax (around 1,500-2,000 AED) Provide residential visa and Emirates ID copies Receive Dubai license plates after successful on-road test

Register the bike under your name on the RTA vehicle database Carry insurance, ownership and license/registration papers The registration process normally concludes within 5 working days after inspection approvals but can potentially take longer during busy periods.

Bring patience and ensure completing tasks sequentially.

Closing Thoughts

Importing a used motorcycle to Dubai requires diligent planning, adherence to regulations and working with the right partners every step of the way.

Factoring in all costs, paperwork complications and establishing timelines realistically is critical for a smooth process.

Select highly-rated auto transporters experienced in motorcycle relocations to minimize hassles and ensure successful import and registration outcomes.

With preparation and by following the guidelines outlined here meticulously, motorcycle enthusiasts can look forward to enjoying their rides legally on Dubai roads after relocation from the US.

Moving yourmotorcycle overseas? Let the experts at A1 Auto Transport handle it.

As a top motorbike shipping company, we have over 20 years experience transporting bikes safely and on schedule worldwide.

Get a free quote.

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Tamar Hela is one of our featured writers at A-1 Auto Transport, researching everything from AI auto shipments out of China to what paperwork is required to move long distance. We can safely say she's become well versed in all things shipping and logistics while making the information easy to digest and understandable. 

Tamar has been a copywriter for over 16 years and was trained in the 7-Figure Copywriting Accelerator course through American Writers & Artists, Inc. (AWAI). She's also an incredibly seasoned copyeditor, having previously been the Chief Editor and Publishing Director for Cosby Media Productions, based in Atlanta, Georgia. 

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1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
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