Overstay your welcome in Argentina?

Many people, at the end of a trip through South America, decide to leave their bike in Buenos Aires. There are motorcycle shops that cater to this aspect of travel, and the charges are usually about $20-30 per month. Once you get back home and realize just how broke you are and that you are not going to be able to save in eight months the same amount as you were able to save in five years, you soon realize there is no way you are going to get back to Buenos Aires before the 8 months are up.

Here are some FAQs about how the Argentine Aduana treats vehicles which exceed the time allowed in the country. This FAQ is by no means complete, nor should it be strictly relied upon in making decisions.

Q- So what will happen to my bike if I leave it in Argentina for an indefinite amount of time?

Once the owner of the place it is stored realizes you are not coming back soon, parts will start to disappear off it. Then you receive an email that the bike got stolen.

Q- Will I have any problems if I decide to come back in a few years with another bike?

Yes. There is a good chance you will not be allowed to enter the country with your vehicle.

Q- Can I give my bike to anyone?

Yes. You can leave it to Argentina.

Q- Can I sell it to a fellow traveler?


Q- What if I come back for it after my time is over?

Your bike will be confiscated when you try to leave.

Q- What do I do to get it back?

You pay a fine.

Q- How much is the fine?

At least 30 percent of the value of the bike, plus other fees.

Q- Can't I just say I paid $500 for the bike like I did when I registered it with the DMV?

No. The Argentine Aduana decides the value, not you. There is a person in the Aduana's office who's job it is to determine the value of your bike. He or she will first see what it sells for in Argentina. It will be more than $500. A CBR600 that has a list price of $8999 in the US sells for $17,000 in Argentina. If he can't find a value in Argentina, he will go to the internet and see what the bike sells for in the USA, then add a percentage, usually a high one. This is when that idiot on cycletrader.com that thinks his bike hasn't depreciated in 10 years will hurt you.

Q- Can I appeal the fine?

Yes You can get an attorney, explain your case to the Aduana and hope the fine gets lowered. It will not get dismissed.

Q- How much does this cost?

About a month of your life and half of what you would have paid to get the bike in the first place.

Q- Can I make a Power of Attorney and let a friend cross the border to give me more time with the bike?

No. The bike will be confiscated because what you are doing is against Argentine law. You will have to come to Argentina and pay a fine to get your bike back.

Q- Can I tell the Aduana I lost the temporary importation papers?


Q- Then what happens?

Your bike gets confiscated and the Aduana contacts the Aduana at the place you claimed to have entered into Argentina. After a few weeks or months, they get an answer back and calculate the fine.

Q- Can I blame my inability to take the bike out of the country on a medical condition that I had treated in my home country?


Q- Then what happens?

Your bike gets confiscated because it was illegal for you to leave the bike in Argentina when you left the country.

Q- What is the best way to resolve this situation?

Once the Aduana has confiscated your bike, you are pretty much at his mercy. You are better off taking the paperwork to the Aduana and trying to work out the details of your fine without your bike. You are fairly safe traveling throughout Argentina in the meantime, especially in Buenos Aires province. You will pay a fine. Accept it. Once you pay the fine, you are free to come and go, just like before.

Q- Does the fine increase with time?


Q- What is the best way to prevent this from happening?

Leave your bike in Uruguay. You have a year, and if you overstay it, there are ways to resolve the situation cheaply. Email me for details.

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