Can you Transport your Motorcycle in a Moving Van during Cross-Border Moves?

Posted by on Sep 28 | 2015

There are many valuable possessions that you can move across borders when working with the right moving company, including cars and motorcycles. It is important to ensure safe and secure transport of your motorcycle, so having a thoroughly thought-out checklist is essential.

Transporting Motorcycle Cross Border

For motorcycles, this typically involves:

  • Draining the fuel and other liquids from the bike – This minimizes the risk of a fire, and ensures the safety of the people transporting the bike
  • Loading the bike onto the van – this will be done using a ramp or a lift, but should always be left to the moving company as it is often more difficult to do than anticipated, and relocation companies are highly experienced doing so
  • Removing the mirrors and other protruding features – This minimizes the risk of damage to the bike should anything bump it during the transportation
  • Padding for additional protection
  • Securing the motorcycle in the van to protect it during transportation

At the destination, the movers usually reassemble any items that were removed, but this will have to be discussed with your movers prior to your relocation.

Legal requirements for motorcycle entry into the US

Generally, all ‘on-road’ motorized vehicles must satisfy US safety and environmental standards before they can get into the country. This usually requires you to obtain a compliance letter from the manufacturer indicating that the motorcycle meets all FMVSS standards. If it was imported from the US, or was previously registered in the US, the compliance letter won’t be needed.

Note that not all motorcycles can be granted entry into the US, especially if they were manufactured overseas or are considered gray market bikes.

If you’re unable to obtain a compliance letter due to manufacturers refusal or otherwise, then you can rely on the services of a registered importer to establish whether or not your bike satisfies or can be modified to meet the US safety and emission standards.

Cross-country moving tips

Prior to moving across the border, it is important that you and the relocation company document all your possessions by creating an itemized inventory. This includes things like your bike’s serial number, your accessories (side bags, helmets, and other). The relocation company will retain a signed copy of the itemized inventory and check to ensure that all items being moved have been noted down for easy accountability when unloading.

A copy of the inventory must also be provided to the driver to facilitate customs clearance. But more importantly, you must have completed your immigration process before your shipment arrives at the border, unless you’re a returning US citizen. However, you don’t have to be present at the border when your moving company crosses with your motorcycle on board. They will be able to clear your bike for delivery to residence as long as you’ve given then the documentation required.

In case of any problems, the item is placed ‘In Bond’ to the nearest customs office to your new home, from where you can clear it personally.



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