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Foreigner buying a car in the US

Dublin, Ireland
1 post
Foreigner buying a car in the US

Thinking of travelling to America and possibly doing Route 66.

Would be interested in buying a car for the journey. Do I need a fixed address to insure a car in the US? What state would be the cheapest for buying and insuring a car?

Huntington Beach...
Level Contributor
5,857 posts
481 reviews
1. Re: Foreigner buying a car in the US

It is possible to purchase a car without being a US resident. But, you are usually required to produce a driver's license showing an address in the state that you are making the purchase as well as show proof of insurance.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Level Contributor
8,842 posts
86 reviews
2. Re: Foreigner buying a car in the US

Welcome ti the TA ... How long do you plan on being in North America ? What is your age ?? What will you cash-in-hand budget be ... for purchase,insurance & overall trip expense ??? Finally, what will you do with the heap at tours end ... Inquiring minds need to know ... carracar

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
44,708 posts
1,112 reviews
3. Re: Foreigner buying a car in the US

Sarah K, it can be done but it is quite difficult. It would only be worth doing if you were going to be in the USA for at least several months.

You have to think about the cost of things going wrong. If the transmission fails, for example, it might cost $2,000 or more to fix. Used cars are not as cheap as they may be in Ireland. You'd need to pay in the range of at least $3,500 to $5,000 to get one with lower mileage in good condition.

Lewes, United...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
26,899 posts
38 reviews
4. Re: Foreigner buying a car in the US

Hi

This is an oft asked question on this forum. The simple advice is to reconsider.

Basically, buying a car in the USA as a foreigner is very tricky, and involves needing ties of some nature, fixed addresses, etc that make it very difficult. Plus, you need time at the start of the trip to find a suitable, reliable car, and then presumably at the end to sell it.

You've specifically said you wish this car to do Route 66. Most travellers doing that route are taking about 3 weeks. The cost of car rental and ease of arranging car rental for that kind of trip and that duration are just so much easier, that's what you should be researching and budgeting for.

If you really want chapter and verse on how to buy a car in the USA as a foreigner, and all the pitfalls and paperwork needed, we can tell you.

SWT

Edited: 5:57 am, February 19, 2015
Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
5. Re: Foreigner buying a car in the US

More info please. How long will your trip be? What time of year?

Limerick, Ireland
Level Contributor
5,062 posts
6. Re: Foreigner buying a car in the US

You can comfortably drive Route 66 in three weeks

Don't buy a vehicle, Rent one instead

good luck.

Please update us by clicking on " Reply "

What time of the year are you thinking of ?

Medford, Oregon
Level Contributor
1,111 posts
151 reviews
7. Re: Foreigner buying a car in the US

Yes Sarah, You could easily purchase a car in the US for your adventure. I would recommend buying in Oregon because they do not have sales tax and that feature would save you 7-10% up front. Purchasing thru a certified dealer should make the vehicle purchase less risky. Many dealers offer warranties that cover any future repairs. The purchase & sale process will require some additional time and research on your part but that too may be a fun adventure.

Good luck

Lewes, United...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
26,899 posts
38 reviews
8. Re: Foreigner buying a car in the US

Kingfish - Are you suggesting that the OP, who seems to wish to drive R 66, should start the trip in Oregon, just because there is no sales tax?

For the benefit also of not just the OP but all of us on this forum who get this question asked and usually advise against purchasing a vehicle in the USA if you have no ID, insurance or address, please would you explain all the steps a foreigner needs to be able to purchase a car without complexity in Oregon?

The issues involved would never be a fun adventure so much as PITA to me, but that's just my personal opinion.

SWT

Norwich, United...
Level Contributor
6,219 posts
9. Re: Foreigner buying a car in the US

Sarah, if you're under 25 and worried about the hefty young driver surcharge on normal car rentals, it might be worth investigating renting a campervan. These are relatively small vehicles with only limited cooking facilities and no toilet or shower, so they're normally favoured by youngsters who are happy to rough it a bit in order to save money. Just an idea, apologies if it's not appropriate.

West Midlands...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
17,449 posts
10. Re: Foreigner buying a car in the US

In all the time I've been using this forum, this question has come up many, many times but I've yet ever to see a post in reply from someone who has carried it through, and explains how they went about it, or returns to the forum to say they actually did it, despite being advised its probably too difficult.

There were a couple of Aussies who linked a blog in which they said they would explain how they did it ( in California I recall) but they took the link down before it got that far, for unrelated reasons. Pity really, as it would have been useful. They were however on a six month trip, on a B2 visa.