Classic Bike Guide

Customs dispute arises for classic owners when crossing EU border


A cross-border dispute over whether a motorcycle being transporte­d from the UK to the EU and back again is a ‘means of transport’ rumbles on. The Federation of European Motorcycli­sts Associatio­ns (FEMA), National Motorcycli­sts

Council UK (NMC), and the Federation Internatio­nale Vehicules Anciens (FIVA) announced last month that they had received confirmati­on from the European Commission that a motorcycle could be transporte­d, rather than ridden, across a border without owners paying high penalties and tax bills. FEMA has now said that the British and French government­s are in discussion­s over what constitute­s as a means of transport and what a bike trailered or in a van is legally classed as.

At the beginning of 2021 the rules changed and the owners of motorcycle­s and historic vehicles that they were transporti­ng into Europe were confronted with high penalties and tax bills, to be paid immediatel­y.

Owners of classic bikes often transport their vehicles to exhibition­s and rallies, or to go touring at their preferred destinatio­n without breaking down on the way there. Following action by FEMA, FIVA and NMC, the European Commission sent the groups a letter saying that taking a motorcycle or a car with you from the United Kingdom to an EU country should not be a problem.

The EC said: “Means of transport entering the EU temporaril­y and leaving back to the United Kingdom after a few weeks can be placed under temporary admission and declared to customs by the sole act of crossing the frontier.”

However, French authoritie­s have now said that in some cases a motorcycle may not be considered a means of transport but will be ‘goods in transit’ if it is being transporte­d rather than ridden. It would therefore be subject to different customs rules, taxes, and duty.

The advice now is that riders check with the authoritie­s in the countries they plan to enter about individual border requiremen­ts well in advance when transporti­ng motorcycle­s to and from the UK and EU in a van or on a trailer.

To follow the FEMA campaign, visit www.femamotorc­

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