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Taking your vehicle to the Schengen Area

Always check UK Government advice at the time of travel.


Many of us will be riding or taking our motorcycles to the Continent of Europe. This inevitably requires travelling into and through the Schengen Area. For those riding their motorcycle not a lot has technically changed. You will now require a UK sticker, this is not optional and an old EU or GB printed on your number plate will not do. The UK government has made the change so as to avoid any doubt that the sticker covers Northern Ireland which is part of the UK but not Great Britain. So buy a UK sticker(s) now and don’t leave it to the last minute.

Riders will also need to carry a UK driving license and their insurance certificate. The green card is issued to most people insuring in the EU as a matter of course. It is not a requirement to have one but being able to produce a green insurance card, which is available from your insurer, may help if stopped. Likewise the International Driving Permit, it is not required in the EU but at £6.00 from your local Post Office it will provide a handy spare. You must carry a registration document in your name.

You must also carry your MOT certificate. This creates a dilemma for those of us that have historic bikes that do not require one. All I would say is that if British police do not always know the rules about historic registration there is a good chance that police in France or Germany may take some convincing. As part of your planning for a trip to Europe an MOT may make sense.

Towing your bike or taking it in a van

The first thing to point out is the EU has not changed its rules but those that now apply to us are those which apply to all non-EU and EEA countries. The UK is no longer in the Customs Union which means that duty has to be paid when importing product into the EU. No duty is payable if the product, in our case a motorcycle, is not being permanently imported. The advice is that if the vehicle is road registered and accompanied by the rider carrying all of the above documentation there should not be a problem. As always with Customs, the Officer has discretion and has to believe that you are not importing the vehicle. Make sure that you have all the documentation to hand at the Border. Suspicion may be aroused if you are taking more than one bike per person.

If more than one bike is on the trailer or in the van make sure that all of the riders and documents are accompanying you.

Non-road registered bikes will not be admitted without an expensive customs carnet, which is obtainable via the UK government. My advice would be that you do not take bikes to our International Rally that do not appear to be road legal, i.e., without lights. Even if such a bike is eventually admitted you may suffer delays.

Also bear in mind that different EU Countries may vary in the way that they implement Customs rules. You should always have your documentation to hand when travelling between national borders.

NOC Members attending our International Rally will have evidence of where they are going and the duration of their stay and should not face any problems as long as your documentation is in order and you are patient with Customs Officers.

Any further questions please contact Tim Harrison at


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