This page will be more oriented towards how to get the bike and me overseas and to handle different countries entry/exit requirements. It will always be a work in progress until I get home again. Only details from an Australian point of view will be looked at, and this page will be updated as time permits and details emerge. Most of the UK, US, Europe will need nothing, but the rest of the world needs permits etc. Some of it I have aquired from other people, some via net research, some first hand. I will experiment with this page as I go and try and make it easy to navigate by country, if I can.
An update here – I am no longer taking the bike with me, much as I wanted to, it is no longer cost effective. When I started my Aussie leg the Aussie dollar was worth 97c American, nearly at parity. But, when I returned in December it had plummeted and is now only worth 65c :( That is why I have been late doing things because I needed to re plan my trip around the fact I had nearly half the spending power.
I intend to buy a bike in the US for that continent then sell before I leave, I will lose a bit, but not as much as freight costs.
Passport – An obvious nessessity, but a process I needed to go through as I did not have one. To start with I downloaded the application form from here I could have picked one up from just about any Australian Post Office, but found that out after printing them out, doh! ;) Then it was just a matter of getting the required documents for ID, making an appointment at the PO and forking out some dosh. In my case it cost me $300. This was because I wanted the passport with the extra amount of pages, otherwise it would only have cost $200. The actual passport process is trackable online but if there are no issues with the documents supplied it will only take 10 days. It worked for me, my new 64 page passport is here, it also includes an electronic chip embedded in the middle, could be a tad hard to forge or copy.
Visas – which explains what visas are and a link on that page which lets you see whether the country you are wanting to enter needs any special requirements and how much it will cost you. A very useful resource!
US Visa – I have changed my plans and decided to do the US first. This is a major undertaking, trying to get a visa for the US is a PITA. I can get a 90 day visa straightaway, as we in Aus are part of the Visa Waiver Program or VWP. As long as you have a new chip embedded passport, you just fill out an application online and usually you are accepted right away. I had confirmation within 1 day, I think from memory and it costs nothing.
But, and a big but it is, this is only useful for 90 days and cannot be extended, you have to leave the country then re apply online for a new one. This can only be done once more, so a maximum of 180 days. I wanted to be able to have more than this so I had to go down a slightly different and longer path.
I applied online as before, then selected the extended visa, there are heaps of different types of these, but mine was a non -immigrant one for personal use, this means no work, no school, fine with me, I was on holiday :) When you login on this site you have to register and pay an $11 fee for the privilage and the login is only valid for about 4 months.
The process then is to fill out an online application form called a DS156, once it is complete it can then be printed out and has to be brought to an interview. All males between 16 and 45 have to also fill out another form called a DS157, this is downloaded and printed and them completed. I have just now realised I do NOT need to do one of these as I am 46 :) This is after spending all that time filling the damm thing out, DOH!!! Oh well, itis done now. The DS157 is a complete record of your last few jobs, all your senior schooling including TAFE, Uni etc, all organisations that you have had contact with since forever, like Red Cross, or SES, contact could mean donate to, work with etc The form also wants to know about whether you have been involved in any war zone or were you a defense force personel etc They want to know everything!
Once these forms are complete, you need a passport photo, you also need to go to the nearest Post Office and pay the current exchange rate of $131US which for me was $196AU. The receipt needs to be kept and taken to the interview. Note, this fee is for a US Visa application and cannot be paid for by any type of credit card, cash only. It is also non- refundable, do not lose the receipt as you will go nowhere without it!
I took a screen shot of the online info needed:
Once you have the above information sorted, you can then log back in online and book an interview. This is a must and for me being a Queenslander, I have no choice but to go to Sydney, 2000km away for a 15 minute interview. So, with the appointments page open and findaflight open I sorted out a flight to Sydney which is booked for the 10th March. My appointment is 9.30am Wed 11th, so I booked a return at 14.30. The problem is, when I went to the next confirmation page on the US visa website, it says prepare yourself for a 4 hour wait!!!
Bloody idiots, they could have said that on the previous page, I had to cancel the return flight time and rebook it for later on at 17.30 grrrr. Anyway it is done now
In the above photo you can see an red outline. This is a bit I am concerned about as I have no idea on a couple of them. I can obviously show a printed out bank statement showing funds, no worries there, but it is the other two bits I am stuck on. With only a few days left as well.
The first one asks for documentary proof of my purpose in going. Well, I don’t have any, I have no idea what to do here except go empty handed and write my web page address on a piece of paper? That is all the proof I can think of as I have no itinary. I could phone them up, but at $4/min, not interested.
The other one is to prove that I am intending to leave the country. Well, they specifically say don’t buy or book anything like plane tickets etc in case the visa is not given out, so a return ticket could have been shown, but not at this time. I think I can prove I have relatives here, so hopefully that will do.
This is a grey area and the information supplied is a bit vague.
Well, it was all an anti climax! It cost some money, $200 for the application, $250 for the return flight, another $110 for the motel and I won’t talk about the drinks bill :) The process was simple and a bit time consumimng. Go through security, after taking a drink out of my water bottle to prove it was not poisened. Then take a number, wait until called, hand over the required documents and get your finger prints scanned. NB: I did not need any of the supporting documents! But, you never know eh! Then take a seat and wait for the number to come up again, this is the interview, through a plasglass screen at a counter, there was 8 of these. Why do you want to go to the US? I want to ride around for a year. OK, what would you like, a 12 month visa for free or a 5 year multiple entry visa which will cost you $25US, ummm, let me think, OK, I will have the 5 year visa thanks. OK, take a seat and wait for your number to be called again. When it is called for the 3rd time it is to the payment window where they take my credit card and say, thanks, we will send the passport back with visa soon.
That was it, painless. Now I had 6 hours t wait until my return flight home.
Carnet de Passages en Douane(CPD) – This is basically a passport for your bike/car, whatever transport you are using. It assures the countries that you are visiting, that you are bringing in a vehicle for private use and intend to take it out when you leave. If you don’t, you have to pay full import and any other duties/taxes that are required for that country. I have downloaded an application from the Australian Automobile Association They only last 12 months, so I won’t apply till late November. I have since done some more study from the HUBB and travellers who are or were there just recently are saying they are not needed for South America. If I can save a few thousand dollars without one I won’t bother. I d not want to be limited too much in where I can go though, more study needed.
International Drivers Licence Another item that is needed for some countries, but not others, best to have one. Application form here, this also is only useful for 12 months, I will do it later. Renewing these while overseas will be needed, more study on that is required.
Immunisation -So, this is quite important as I will be travelling to quite a lot of under developed countries. I have already had a number over the past few months as some take time to take effect, example Hep A+B. Anyway, the Horizons Unlimited site was quite useful, but I also did a search on the Aussie government site and found this site Also more information about the shots and the diseases can be found here