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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
Sorry if this has been covered before. Anyone have experience taking a bike overseas, in particular to Botswana? I'm going for a year and I want to keep cycling. I think I can figure out how to get the bike there - I've seen plenty of advice on this on the web.
What I'm worried about is customs - depending on how you read the forms, it looks like you could get charged up to 20% of the value of what you bring into the country at the border?! Is this right, or am I totally misreading the customs forms? Seems like it would be impossible to afford going anywhere with a nice bike (or anything else expensive). Anyone have experience with this?
Thanks.
 

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cwaltond said:
Hi all,
Sorry if this has been covered before. Anyone have experience taking a bike overseas, in particular to Botswana? I'm going for a year and I want to keep cycling. I think I can figure out how to get the bike there - I've seen plenty of advice on this on the web.
What I'm worried about is customs - depending on how you read the forms, it looks like you could get charged up to 20% of the value of what you bring into the country at the border?! Is this right, or am I totally misreading the customs forms? Seems like it would be impossible to afford going anywhere with a nice bike (or anything else expensive). Anyone have experience with this?
Thanks.

the best way to think about "customs" is that they are "equivalent" to the taxes associated with buying a product in a given country

having said that - customs are specific to each country you enter so unless someone knows alot about Botswana they will not be able to help you - in most EU countries a tourist or non-resident bringing a bike in to the relevant country will not get charged customs

I assume you have a guide book which lists the Botswanan consulate/embassy in the US? I would call or write them a letter to fnid out for sure
 

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Importation

Can't speak specifically to Botswana, but in general if you take your sales receipt with you, you can show that to prove that the bike is not new and therefore personal property, not imported goods for sale. Likewise, this receipt solves any issues coming back into the USA. One problem you run into is if you declare the bike upon entry into the foreign country and then don't have it when you leave - this can be interpreted as imporation and then they want to charge the taxes/duties. All that said, I've never had to declare anything or prove anything when taking bikes into 6 foreign countries, 5 in Europe.
 

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I believe you can only be charged import duties if the frame is new.

When traveling to Europe, bikes fly free (as a piece of checked luggage). I have no idea about connecting flights....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sort of new

The bike will be a few months (and hopefully at least thousand miles) old by the time I get there. Hopefully that's old enough to avoid any duties. The receipt thing is tricky because I've swapped some of the components from the original. I guess I'll just bring all the documentation I have, declare everything, and hope for the best.
Thanks all for the advice. It's good to know that not having to pay is the standard.
 

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umm you'd be better off not declaring it at all I think.. (someone correct me if I'm wrong.) You only declare stuff that *is* new do you not? I've taken my bike over to France several times and never had a problem (except a bent chainring! soft-shell cases are great but do have their drawbacks!)
 
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