Having organised my tickets, various forms of insurance and motorcycle shipping to Canada I was starting to feel like my adventure this summer was a little too easy to arrange. Could it really be this simple? After all British visitors to Canada and USA can get VISAs on arrival.
Little did I know that I had missed one important piece of paper work – an EPA Approval letter for temporary import into the USA! Whilst I was at the Touratech UK Travel Event on the May Day back holiday, I was chatting with the guys from James Cargo and it was during this conversation that they mentioned the EPA letter. Thankfully they were able to provide me with the details of the process, who I had to contact and that I was able to do it all via email… Which is very handy as I’m going to be on the road before the approve letter comes through!
On the face of it the process is very simple. First, send an email to email@example.com with details of myself, the bike, my trip and scanned passport and ownership document. Second, they send a form. Third, print, sign, scan and return the form. Finally, they issue the approval letter.
So I sent the initial email with all the details. The reply I got back, whilst polite, was that they couldn’t accept the first email as it needed to be signed but the content was OK. So I printed out the initial email, whacked a signature on the bottom, scanned it in and emailed it off again. I got an email back to say it had been accepted. That was a week and a half ago and I’m yet to get the form back to sign and return.
Given that the initial email required my passport and ownership document to be attached, I’m a little confused as to why I had to prove a scan of a letter with a wet signature.
I suppose I should be grateful that I’m able to do this over email and that I’m not having to run around from office to office with triplicate forms in yellow, pink and green as would probably be the case in Africa or India! Still, it makes you think that there must be a better way of getting these things done.