Any proud motorcyclist has dreamed at some point in their life of riding on the roads of Europe on a motorcycle imported from the United States. In this country of great motorcycling tradition, some of the world’s best manufacturers can be found, and it is for this reason that many European motorcycle enthusiasts dream of bringing one of these vehicles to their home country.
The truth is that sending a motorcycle to Europe from the United States is a somewhat complex process, with a multitude of options to choose from and a wide variety of prices depending on the service you want to hire. For this reason, we have prepared this post that summarizes the main import methods you should consider, from the type of transport you can choose to the budget you should consider or the main shipping and pickup destinations that exist.
Methods for Sending Motorcycles Abroad
The first thing you should know is that there are different methods for sending a motorcycle from the United States to Europe. In this sense, we advise you to choose the transportation option that best suits your preferences, your needs, and your budget. Normally, this type of transatlantic motorcycle shipments can be organized both by air and by sea.
Air transport is undoubtedly the safest and fastest shipping method; however, it is also the most expensive. By plane, a motorcycle can take just a couple of days to reach virtually any part of Europe and, regarding compliance with shipping and delivery deadlines, it is also the most reliable transport.
Maritime transport has the advantage of being more economical, but you must also bear in mind that here the delivery times are estimated since the duration of the shipment will depend on factors such as the weather or the saturation in the departure port. Likewise, it is a totally safe alternative to send your motorcycle from the United States to Europe.
Delivery Times for a Ship Shipment
From any of the available shipping ports in the United States (New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, or South Carolina, among others), the estimated delivery times would be as follows.
- Spain: 2 to 3 weeks.
- Netherlands: 3 to 4 weeks.
- France: 2 to 6 weeks.
- Ireland: 2 to 3 weeks.
- Germany: 3 to 4 weeks.
- Belgium: 4 weeks.
- United Kingdom: 2 to 3 weeks.
- Denmark: 3 to 6 weeks.
- Norway: 2 to 3 weeks.
- Italy: 4 to 6 weeks.
- Sweden: 2 to 3 weeks.
The Best Methods for Shipping from the United States to Europe
The most common shipping methods when we talk about maritime transport are the Roll-on Roll-off service and private container shipping. In addition, there is also the option to send the motorcycle in a shared container to save expenses, however, this is quite more difficult to manage; still, there are some agencies that offer the service, although it is not the most common.
Roll-on Roll-off Service
In Roll-on Roll-off transport, colloquially known as RoRo, your motorcycle will go on a cargo ship specially designed for the maritime transport of vehicles. The motorcycle will board the ship being driven by an operator and will be fixed in special racks to secure it during the journey. Once the ship has reached its destination, the motorcycle will simply be driven off the ship by an operator and will go through customs control so you can pick it up.
Maritime Container Shipping
As we were commenting, container shipping can be done either in a private container or a shared one, generally, with other motorcycles. In these cases, you can reserve a 20 or 40-foot container according to your needs and the size of the motorcycle.
If you decide on a private container, your motorcycle will travel alone, and you can load other personal items in it. On the other hand, if you decide on a shared container, your motorcycle will make the journey with other vehicles, which will allow you to save costs, but keep in mind that this is a slightly less secure option and in which you will not be able to load anything more than the motorcycle itself.
Packaging and Protection of the Motorcycle
Packing your motorcycle for transport like this is a fundamental factor in safeguarding the integrity of your vehicle during the crossing. Good packaging protects your motorcycle from contact with walls or other vehicles that could damage its appearance or components.
In addition to this, keep in mind that many countries in the European Union have strict regulations about maritime transport. In general, you will be required to pay a fee for your motorcycle to receive a pest treatment at the destination port. In this sense, each country usually has its own regulations, so we advise you to inform yourself in advance of the requirements or hire a specialized agency that can help you according to your specific needs.
How Much Does It Cost to Send a Motorcycle to Europe from the United States?
The price of shipping a motorcycle from the U.S. to Europe varies considerably based on certain factors such as the size of the motorcycle, the type of transport, or the distance between the shipping port and the destination port. The first factor that determines the price is the type of motorcycle, since depending on the brand, the model, and the engine size, the dimensions and the weight of the vehicle will vary as well.
Another factor to consider is the type of transport you choose. As we have already mentioned, air transport is usually more expensive and faster, and sea transport is more economical but slower. Additionally, distance is also an aspect that influences the cost, since it is not the same price to send a motorcycle from Los Angeles to Barcelona as it is from New Jersey to Portugal.
Taking all this into account, we could say that the average price for shipping a motorcycle from the United States to any country in Europe would be between 1,500 and 2,500 euros.
Controls and Documentation for Customs
Before sending your motorcycle from the United States, it is essential to ensure that both the motorcycle and its documentation and shipping processes comply with the regulations of the European Union. For example, there are some countries in Europe where your motorcycle can benefit from a tax-free entry if you provide documentation proving that you have been the owner of the motorcycle for six months before importation.
On the other hand, if it is an imported sale, in addition to paying for transport and fees, it is also mandatory to pay VAT and sales tax. In any case, you will have to collect and present the following documentation to prove that you are the owner of the motorcycle:
- Title of ownership.
- Purchase invoice.
- Bill of sale, if the bike has been your property for at least six months.
- Insurance policy in the U.S. and the European Union.
- Valid identification documents.
All these documents must be presented at both U.S. customs and the receiving country’s customs in Europe, so that you can formalize the importation process and register your motorcycle there.
How to Import and Approve a Motorcycle in Europe
When your motorcycle arrives at the destination port, the import technicians will check that it does not have technical defects and that it complies with the EU registration regulations. Keep in mind that this check may require you to make some sort of conversion or update on the motorcycle because if not, the vehicle will not be able to be registered in any EU country.
Normally, most updates on motorcycles will involve converting MPH to KPH, making some exhaust and lighting adjustments, and adapting the vehicle so that emissions are in line with European Union standards.
Is It Advisable to Take Out Transit Insurance?
Although accidents in this type of transport are rare, the truth is that they can occur. For this reason, taking out transit insurance is optional but highly recommended. Keep in mind that if your motorcycle is damaged or lost during shipping, loading, or unloading and you have transit insurance, it will provide some sort of compensation according to the policy you have taken out. Otherwise, you will be left with nothing.
It is also essential that you properly examine the motorcycle as soon as it is delivered to you and always before signing the bill of lading because otherwise, you will not get any coverage for damages.
Stages in the Process of Shipping and Receiving the Motorcycle
The process of shipping a motorcycle from the United States to Europe is a long one that includes several stages. Keep them in mind to organize all the procedures and documentation corresponding to each one.
- Stage 1: transport your motorcycle to the port or hire a company to take care of the transport and loading.
- Stage 2: once the motorcycle is embarked and the ship has set sail, you will receive a shipping notification and an approximate arrival date.
- Stage 3: the import process begins once the motorcycle has arrived at the port.
- Stage 4: you will be notified once the motorcycle has entered the country and the customs procedure has also been processed.
- Stage 5: you can pick up your motorcycle at the destination port or hire a company to take care of the pickup and transport to your home.
Is It Necessary to Hire the Services of a Company Specialized in Shipping?
The truth is that many motorcycle travelers and motorcycle enthusiasts, in general, have carried out this procedure without the help of a specialized company. However, although you can save a few hundred euros, you will be responsible for processing all the documentation and attending in person the processes that are required of you, due to the importation or from customs.
It is clear that, in this sense, the most comfortable, safe, and reliable thing is to hire a company specialized in transatlantic motorcycle shipments so that they can provide you with a manager to organize the entire process, both from the United States and when the motorcycle arrives in Europe.
With all this, we hope that you now have a clearer idea of how you can proceed to import your motorcycle from the United States to Europe and, above all, that you can finally enjoy riding it on the fantastic roads of any of its countries.