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Old 07-27-2013, 09:17 PM   #1
Apisbiker OP
10 years world tour
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Joined: Jan 2010
Location: France
Oddometer: 6
Can I leave alone my French number plate motorbike in USA for 6 months?


I am doing a world tour with a BMW R1150 GS Adventure since 2014, see

I am in Baja California in Mexico and I am planning to enter for the first time in USA at Tecate border check point on the 1st of August 2013 (i already have my online ETSA visa). My questions:

1. Some small border check point doesn’t care about your bike and stamp nothing, but I want to be legal. Do you know if I can do the bike paper work in Tecate or do I have to go to the hell Tijuana? I have the EPA exemption letter and the form 3250-1 ready.

2. I am planning to leave my motorbike on the West coast of USA from mid-September 2013 to mid-April 2014 and go by plane to Europe to see my family. I asked by email the EPA block if it is possible, he answer was:

"NO, you can not leave the vehicle here when you return to Europe. The Terms and Conditions of the exemption state the vehicle must leave the US when you do, for any reason and any length of time. It must return to Europe and you must send export documents to us. And, you can not send it to Canada or Mexico to be considered exported"

But I heard that some non-resident US have left their bike for a while without problem (specially when no bike info is on your passport, as it is for USA). So where is the trick?

I really have to leave USA mid-September but I don't want to take my bike with me on the plane to Europe. I want to finish my 10 years round the world tour by visiting Canada and Alaska from April to July 2014! Please help me not shorten my trip...

For your prompt answers in advance thank you :-)

Gilles RATIA
Mobile: +33 6 07 68 49 39
Gilles RATIA
"Beekeeping" World tour on a BMW 1150 GS Adventure
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:57 AM   #2
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Giles, you might want to post your questions in:

Trip Planning - Americas
AMA-563452 - AW-6274 / '98 ST1100 - '01 DRZ400s
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Old 08-13-2013, 06:30 PM   #3
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Location: MS. Gulf Coast
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I don't know who EPA is ( Environmental Protection Agency ?). You should address this question to a US Customs agent I think. Otherwise its OK with me if you want to leave it.
I got tired of being here, so now I'm there
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:10 AM   #4
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I don't see how the EPA will enforce that? Besides the 3250-1 states that you are good for up to one year for personal use. Doesn't say anything about you leaving the bike behind for a few months...
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:05 AM   #5
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Location: central komifornia
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Find 1 of those u-store it places by LAX and store it.Once US Customs lets you in at Tecate The local police and highway patrols dont care about foriegn vehicles as long as you have a passport and ownership paperwork.EPA is concerned about non-emission compliant vehicles being imported and used by Americans.Dont tell the EPA anything-just make sure your US Customs paperwork is correct.If you store the bike in a locker only you will know where its at.Code O on page 2 of the 3250-1 applies to you-nonresident exempt for 1 year.It looks like you have the correct paperwork.

oldxr screwed with this post 08-17-2013 at 01:36 AM Reason: spelling
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Old 09-02-2013, 03:19 PM   #6
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So long as your paperwork: bikes ownership(title,licensing),passport/visa, home country drivers license, and insurance is valid and up to date, having foreign plates won't be a problem. I've had friends tour the US with a tourist visa on Austrian, Guatemalan, Honduran and German plates with no issues. Don't know about storing a bike though. Doubt if the Government cares if you're riding it or it's parked in a barn BUT there is a time limit. Don't know if it's six months or a year total(riding and storing). Likely that of your tourist visa. So long as "ALL" of your paperwork is 100% you shouldn't have a problem.
US Customs will have the info you need.
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