Compared to the cost of shipping a car, the price of shipping a motorcycle overseas is relatively affordable, though some of the same issues come up.
While the transport costs on their own may not be exorbitant, the import taxes in certain countries are. Because this is the case, it’s important to have a good understanding of what you’re likely to pay or work with a motorcycle shipper that does.
Motorcycles are easier to accommodate in shipping terms because they are smaller and weigh less than cars. Just like shipping within the United States, a bike can be crated or shipped on its own by way of RORO (roll on, roll off) transport. The more common method is to ship the bike inside of a transport container, which has the added benefit of being able to transport personal items and household goods along with the bike.
An important thing to keep in mind is that there may be limitations in certain countries as to the engine size of a motorcycle. While not all countries will outright deny entry based on engine size, you may end up paying a steeper tax than expected for larger engines.
Required Paperwork & Import Taxes On Motorcycles.
Just like the issue with engine size, import taxes can vary widely from country to country. Some countries have an extraordinarily high import tax--sometimes more than the value of the bike itself--so it’s good to know what you’re up against.
Paperwork is one of the key ingredients to successfully shipping any vehicle overseas and a motorcycle is no exception. Even if everything else goes perfectly, having improper or incomplete paperwork can easily double the cost of your shipment while trying to get everything resolved.
In most cases, the requirements are what you’d expect. A passport and visa are often required, as is the bill of lading and original purchase invoice, in addition to any internal documents required by the laws of that particular country. License and registration operate in pretty much the same way as in the U.S., though you may have to obtain local paperwork for both if they don’t accept a U.S. or international license.
Though it’s not directly related to the shipment of a motorcycle, it’s important to note that the traffic signs and laws may be different depending on where you’re headed. Make sure you are well aware of all signage and what it means for driving internationally--you may see signs that are unfamiliar to you if you’ve only driven within the U.S.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.