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How do I register a motorcycle imported from the USA?

Published by Tamar Hela.

How do I register a motorcycle imported from the USA?

Importing a motorcycle from the US to a foreign country can be tricky. Before you hit the road overseas, you must take the first step: registration.

The registration process for your imported motorcycle will be unique to the country you're in. Each country has its own rules and requirements.

Here is a list of several countries as examples of where you can register your motorcycle. The countries are picked too because they're of interest to American travelers.

However, be aware that the registration steps outlined may not encompass the entirety of the process. They're given here simply to give a general idea of what it takes to register your imported motorbike in the destination country. To find out in more detail, consult with either the local authorities, or your shipping company, or do an extensive internet search.


Registering a Motorcycle Imported from the US to Canada

Canada is one of the closest countries to the United States. You may think a Canadian registration is simpler than registration in other countries. But it's worthwhile to learn more about the registration process before you actually do it.

The steps required to register a motorcycle imported from the US into Canada may involve:

  1. Provide a proof of ownership
  2. Clear the motorcycle at the US Customs and Border Protection
  3. Ensure the motorcycle follows the Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards if it's less than 15 years old or is not a classic bike
  4. Ensure your motorcycle has a visible, unaltered Vehicle Identification Number
  5. Present all the necessary documents and pay the required fees at the Canadian Port of Entry
  6. Bikes that don't meet emissions standards in Canada may need to undergo
  7. The Canadian authorities will inspect your motorcycle. Once it passes inspection, you can register the vehicle.
  8. Pay the registration fee and get a Canadian certificate of title

This list covers the key points. For full guidance, motorcycle owners should consult with local authorities and CBP for the most current information. Classic motorcycles may have a different set of standards due to their age.

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Registering a US-Imported Motorcycle Imported in Dubai, UAE

To register a motorcycle imported from the USA in Dubai, you must comply with United Arab Emirates' regulations for foreign vehicle imports. The first thing you must ensure is that the imported motorcycle passes customs clearance. The clearance process usually takes three to five days to complete.

Once you've paid your duties and the motorcycle is cleared from customs, additional steps will follow.

  • The motorcycle must pass through inspection at an authorized inspection center. This process takes one to three days.
  • Get compliance certification and registration at the Roads and Transport Authority.
  • Present the motorcycle's chassis and engine numbers to RTA for verification.
  • Pay the registration fees (incl. road tax of around AED 1,500-2,000).
  • Provide copies of your residential visa and Emirates ID.
  • Receive the Dubai license plates after a successful road test; then, fix the plates on the motorcycle.

The whole registration process (after inspection) may take up to five days. But it can be longer when it's peak season or a busy period.


How to Register an American-Imported Motorcycle in the UK

There are specific steps to register your imported American motorbike in the UK. Registration must be done before you can ride your bike on public roads.

Here’s a concise checklist for registration:

  1. Acquire proof of vehicle ownership (certificate of title/bill of sale).
  2. Verify compliance with UK emissions and safety standards (classic motorcycles may have different requirements).
  3. Ensure the motorcycle has a proper vehicle identification (VIN plate).
  4. Obtain customs clearance from US Customs and Border Protection, as well as the UK’s HM Revenue and Customs.
  5. Secure a UK address for Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency registration.

Classic motorcycles may require different forms of registration. In fact, these motorcycles may have different requirements entirely. Check with the DVLA for particular requirements in importing classic motorcycles.

If the initial registration fails, don't worry. There's always a solution. Pay attention to the rejection letter provided by the DVLA. Addressing those issues raised by the agency may resolve the problem. Then you can reapply following the instructions on the letter. Again, contact the DVLA for further assistance.


Registering an Imported Motorcycle from the US to China

Motorcycle registration in China may sound daunting. But you can still do it. It'll help immensely if you obtain the services of a licensed customs broker in China. This way, they can assist you with anything related to the motorcycle import.

When the motorbike reaches China, the vehicle must clear customs. At the port of entry, the motorcycle's identification and papers will first be verified. Chances are you must translate your English-language documents into Chinese. Prepare the translations in advance, if necessary, so you don't get surprised by the request.

In China, you must register your motorcycle with the Vehicle Management Office. They may ask you to:

  • Clarify whether your import is direct for regular use
  • Clarify whether the import is temporary for a specific case
  • Declare you're using the motorcycle for personal use or commercial use
  • Pay for the registration fee before getting a certificate of title

You can read the complete steps of registering motor vehicles in China. But the gist of it is as follows:

  1. Provide proof of ownership.
  2. Clear customs both in the US and in China.
  3. Comply with China's emissions and safety regulations.
  4. Register with the Vehicle Management Office.
  5. Secure a Chinese certificate of title.

How to Register a US-imported Motorbike in Australia

Australia's customs is one of the toughest in the world with many regulations to follow. For a successful importation to Australia and the subsequent vehicle registration, it's recommended to work with an experienced customs broker. Contact a customs broker who's especially familiar with motorcycle import regulations.

When your motorcycle arrives in Australia, clearing customs is the first step. The usual import documents are required. You're also required to pay customs duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST). Then, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will quarantine the vehicle for inspection. The inspection is the make sure there's no biosecurity risks. The motorcycle should be free of dirt, insects, soil, or plant material.

Once it's cleared and passed the inspection, you may begin the registration process. A broad outline of the process involves the following:

  1. Verification of Compliance (VOC): A VOC from an accredited second-hand vehicle compliance scheme provider will ensure the motorcycle meets Australian Design Rules for safety and emissions. Some motorcycles manufactured before a certain date might be exempt. But modifications may be needed for newer models.
  2. Registration with the Department of Transport: With the VOC in hand, contact your state or territory's Department of Transport for registration. Other required documents include the Bill of Sale, import documents, and proof of ownership (it can be the original title from the US). You may also need evidence of Compulsory Third Party insurance.
  3. Registration Fees: Pay the registration fees applicable in the Australian state or territory you're in.

When The Motorcycle Leaves the US

A successful importation and registration of your motorcycle in another country starts from home. Before the motorcycle leaves the US, you must be ready to present the correct and complete paperwork for import purposes.

A simplified process of preparing the papers for your motorbike before you send it outside of the US is as follows.

  1. Secure the original vehicle title or certified copy as a document to prove ownership.
  2. Clear your motorcycle according to export requirements at the US Customs and Border Protection.
  3. If your motorcycle is going to a country with a foreign language, get a certified English translation for your documents.
  4. Confirm the motorcycle meets the safety and emissions standards of the import destination.
  5. Be prepared to pay registration fees depending on where the motorcycle arrives in.

The Bottom Line

Each destination country where your motorcycle is imported has its own set of rules. Import regulations will vary, as will registration processes.

Always check the local agency governing motor vehicle regulations to find out in detail what the registration process is like. In most cases, common folks not involved in the shipping or logistics industry will need help with the import, clearance, and registration process.

Don't hesitate to engage a customs broker.

A1 Auto Transport can be a reliable partner when you want to send your vehicles abroad. International motorcycle shipping is part of our main services. Trust us to deliver your motorcycle abroad and get a free quote today.

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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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