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  1. #1

    Default Buying a car for a 6-mths period

    I'll be spending 6 months in the US as a postdoctoral scholar (Penn State), and I'm considering buying a car and selling it before my departure. I guess this is the only option since rental deals for such a long period of time just don't make any sense. I'm also assuming that 6 months is sufficiently long enough to justify the expense & hassle of purchasing a car.

    I guess I'm looking for some general advice here. My questions are the following:

    1.) Obviously I'm not an US citizen, but I will have a temporary US address. I also have a valid driving license in my country and a valid international driving permit. Am I allowed to buy and register a car in the US, to begin with?

    2.) I briefly browsed a couple of web sites to check the prices. How much do I have to add to the listed price (for taxes, registration, fees, paperwork, insurance...) to get the car "on the road"? I know this varies greatly, but maybe just a rough estimate would help. The car I would buy would presumably be a 10-15-year-old car, worth no more than $4000.

    2.) Are there car dealerships in the US that take the same car back without making it a condition that another car has to be purchased?

    All other topic-related tips are more than welcome.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    The only thing in PA that might be sticky is insurance. Proof of insurance is required to register a car in PA. They also have safety and emissions inspections. A physical address is required, it appears that you will have that - but post office boxes are not acceptable. You can probably resell the car to a dealer, but at a fraction of the price you paid for it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default exchange

    Since you'll be here as a student, I think you should be able to get a car without too much difficulty. I'd think you'd be able to get a PA drivers license which will make everything else quite a bit easier. I know I had friends who were exchange students when I was in college that were able to purchase a car without too much difficulty.

    There are some buyback companies out there (try searching Adventures on Wheels which is one of them) but for the most part, I think you'll be better off just buying a car and taking your chance trying to sell it on your own near the end of your stay.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    I do not know if you can *buy* a car in PA with a foreign driver's license, but it appears that you CAN get a PA driver's license if your status is "F-1" (foreign academic student). You will need a passport, I-94, a visa, I-20, written verification of school attendance, something from the SSA, and 2 proofs of residency.

  5. #5

    Default

    I will actually be on a "J-1" visa, but that also makes me eligible for a PA license. Thanx glc, this link helped a lot.

  6. #6

    Default Buying an used car - additional expenses

    I'll be in the US (PA) for six months on a J-1 visa (visiting scholar at Penn State), and I need to buy a car that I would re-sell before my departure. I've been browsing car listings and figured I'd need about $3000 for a car in decent condition with more or less reliable engine.

    My question is: how much money do I need to have this car registered on my name, insured and put on the road. In other words, if I pay, say, $3000 for a car, how much extra do I need to pay (sales tax, inspection, registration, insurance..) before I can legally drive it?

    This differs from country to country, and I'm sure from state to state within the US, so please if someone can give me a ball part estimate I'd appreciate it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,272

    Default

    Ballpark guess? PA sales tax is 6%. Title is $22.50, registration is $36.00. If you buy the car from a dealer, they will tack on their own documentary fees, which vary - could be $40, could be $200. Insurance for 6 months could be anywhere from $300 to $1000. Inspection fees are not regulated, it's up to the facility - but they should be fairly nominal - and do NOT include repair costs. Inspection fees must be visibly posted by the facility. Depending on your county, you may or may not have to pass an emissions inspection.

    You will need an International Driver's License - which you get in your home country before leaving - it's basically a translation of your home license into English and other major languages.

  8. #8

    Default

    Thanks glc!

    I already have an international drivers license, valid for 5 years. J-1 visa holders are normally eligible for PA drivers license, but only if duration of their program is at least 1 year. So no PA drivers license for me. I will get a PA ID card, though.

    Certain ads state that a car is inspected until, say 6/2010. Does that mean that I, as a potential buyer, wouldn't need to worry about it until 6/2010, or a car needs inspection every time it changes its owner?

  9. #9

    Default Are there states where you can buy an used car with no state ID / driver's license?

    My situation is the following: I'm an European on a J-1 visa working at Penn State for 6 months. In order to be eligible for a PA ID card (or a PA driver's license), the duration of my stay would need to be 1 year or more. Normally, I wouldn't bother about this, but PA law requires a state ID or a driver's license to be able to purchase an used car. Apparently, there are states that do not have this requirement. Does anybody have any information regarding this issue?

    I'm kind of stuck, because I planned to buy a car for $3000-4000 and sell it before my departure. Rental deals for 6 months are just too expensive.

    I do have a valid passport/visa (of course), valid international driver's license, social security number..

    Any kind of information is more than welcome.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 09-12-2009 at 01:58 PM. Reason: Merged Multiple Threads About the Same Topic

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,067

    Default residentcy

    I'm not aware of any state that will allow you to register a vehicle without a drivers license, and I'm not aware of any state that will allow you to get a drivers license without being able to prove that you reside within the state.

    I do think that you'd find other states that would allow you to get a drivers license, without having to be there for a full year, but I'm not sure which ones and or how you'd even get that to work being in Pennsylvania. If you were closer to a border, say Ohio, you could see what their restrictions and rules are and try to find a place to commute - but State College is pretty far away from any other state to try and do something like that.

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