I have a 2003 Harley Davidson soft tail deuce that I would like to transport by ship to Amsterdam from New Jersey, and then ride the motorcycle from Amsterdam to Istanbul Turkey, where I plan to sell it.

I think that when driving any vehicle trans-Europe there is some kind of all-inclusive international transient tourist registration and insurance. Is this correct? I am presuming my New Jersey driver's license with motorcycle rating is valid for this purpose. If not, what needs to be done?

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    It might be worth obtaining an international driving permit (licence), which would be recognised in all the countries you transit. You should check whether Turkey is considered to be in Europe, for insurance purposes. Oct 15, 2017 at 16:40
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo you say "most but not all". OP mentioned "trans-Europe" and "insurance" in the same sentence. My point was that OP should check exactly which countries the policy covers, and not make any assumptions. There are previous questions about travel insurance generally: Europe or world-wide when also visiting Turkey? Oct 15, 2017 at 16:59
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    @0tyranny There are no Europe wide regulations on driver's license and vehicle insurance requirements. You will have to check the requirements in each country you are intending to pass through. When driving from Amsterdam to Istanbul it will at least matter if you are going through or around some of the Balkan countries. Oct 15, 2017 at 18:50
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    @WeatherVane Either you don't read or won't understand what I am writing. 'Of course any insurance policy will cover third party insurance' Absolutely not. Several Balkan countries (the details change all the time and I can't give you a specific and current list, Montenegro and Kosovo are hot candidates) do not recognize foreign vehicle insurance policies and you are required to pay for a national insurance when entering the country. Oct 15, 2017 at 19:04
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    @WeatherVane Either you don't read or won't understand what I am writing. I did say exactly that in my first comment: 'Most European countries mutually acknowledge third party liability insurance for motor vehicles, but not all.' - and the relevant issue is not if there is a policy avaialble or not, but if the policy is acknowledged and recognized in the country you are visiting. It would not help if e.g. my insurance policy covers Kosovo if the Kosovan authorities do not recognize it and requires me to have a national third party liability policy instead. Oct 15, 2017 at 19:12

1 Answer 1


I hope someone better qualified than I will come to deal with the insurance and licensing aspects of this. The six words that worry me are "where I plan to sell it".

It is perfectly possible to import a motorbike to Turkey temporarily - that is, ride it in, then ride it out some (shortish) time later. This page discusses the process of so doing, but also notes

  1. Vehicles must be taken out of Turkey at the end of the permitted import period.


  1. The following actions are unlawful and subject to penalty:

—Not exporting the vehicle before the end of the legal term of importation

—Sale of the vehicle within Turkey


This article notes that

Your vehicle details will be appended in thickly scrawled ink to one of the pages of your passport at whichever border checkpoint you pitch up at, the date of entry will be stamped in and the important point to remember here is that the vehicle must leave Turkey whenever you do.

The same article also discusses importing the vehicle (ie, bringing it permanently into Turkey, which would enable its sale) and notes

you will find that the duty payable is a staggering sum (proportionate of course to the value of [your vehicle] here in Turkey).

So either you tell them you're going to sell it in Turkey and pay a huge sum in import duty, or you don't in which case you will find it difficult to fly home. I don't know whether you've looked at the resale prices for Harleys in Turkey and thought about a holiday partially funded by the sale of the bike, but if you have, now you know why resale prices are so high - the government wants a big cut, and has ways to make sure it gets it. My apologies if you already know all this stuff, in which case my answer is irrelevant and I will delete it.

  • thank you. The duty for importation of motorcycles into Turkey is not nearly as high as for regular cars. Duties main function is to protect domestic manufacturing. Motorcycles are not manufactured in Turkey. Oct 16, 2017 at 15:27
  • I thought Kinuni and Mondial manufactured motorcycles? Are their plants outside of Turkey?
    – user67118
    Oct 16, 2017 at 15:39
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    @0tyranny0poverty sorry to belabour the point, are you saying you intend to import the bike permanently (duty-paid) so you are free to sell it, and you're clear about the costs of that, and about the implications (it'll likely turn into a Turkish-registered bike, which may complicate the insurance issue further)? If so, my answer's completely irrelevant and I will delete it.
    – MadHatter
    Oct 16, 2017 at 16:34
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    @MadHatter pls leave your answer. I already up voted it. My contact in Turkey said he would reimburse me for the duty. Your links are useful as I need to do more homework on the Turkish entry as well. And it will be useful to future readers. Oct 16, 2017 at 21:14
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    @0tyranny0poverty hey, it's your question - if you found what I wrote useful, I'm delighted to leave it. I only hope someone gets back to you with an answer about licensing and insurance. If they don't, you might try the HUBB (if you haven't already).
    – MadHatter
    Oct 16, 2017 at 22:44

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