Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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New borders advice from the NMC

Since the UK left the EU, many riders have reported problems taking their bikes abroad – particularly if they’re transporting the bike in a van or motorhome, if the machine is a competition or trackday bike, or if a third party is moving the bike for them.

Leaving the EU meant UK riders went back to a customs regime last seen before 1972, where arcane concepts like carnets made life much harder. Transporting a bike into the EU when it’s not being used as transport means customs officers have to decide if it might be being imported for sale, especially if the owner of the bike isn’t present. That’s a common situation with trackday bike transport, where a single truck might be taking dozens of bikes to Spain or France, all with different owners who will fly out to the track separately.

The National Motorcyclists Council has been working to get UK and EU authorities to agree on the rules for all these scenarios and, more importantly, make sure that border officials know the situation, and apply the rules properly. It’s had some success, with both the UK and EU issuing guidance and attempting to resolve problems. But there are still some fairly strict rules which riders have to observe around the use of ATA carnets, paperwork and importation of competition bikes and parts. So the NMC has prepared a guidance document, aimed at preventing problems for riders, and offering sensible practical advice for entering the EU from the UK on a bike (and vice-versa).

The new advice is available direct from the NMC at www.uknmc.org/downloads, and includes the usual advice to carry insurance, MOT, tax, V5 document, driving licence and other paperwork, as well as return tickets to the UK. There’s some more arcane advice as well, including details of  “a form-inventory to support an Oral Customs Declaration for Temporary Admission (Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446 Articles 136, 163 and 165) (page 537)”, which must be submitted to the customs authorities if you’re transporting a bike in a van, even for tourist purposes.

There’s also advice on what to do if a friend is transporting a bike for no cost, and the ATA carnet system used if you’re transporting a bike for work or competition purposes. Good luck!


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