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  1. #1

    Default Moving to the US - buying a car

    I am South African currently living in Spain and I will be relocating to the US in December 2009. I am a scientific researcher of 30yrs and am accepting a job in Frederick. I was told that there is not much nightlife in Frederick and it was better to live on the outskirts of Washington (e.g. in Rockville or Bethesda) and then travel to Frederick daily. Therefore I will need to buy a car when I'm there.

    I have a South African drivers license (and an international license which expires in February 2010) - will I be able to buy a car with my SA drivers license or would I need to get a US drivers license?

    I will arrive 2 weeks before I start my job and I'm planning to rent a car for a week or 2 until I can buy a car. Could someone please give me some insight as to how long it would take me to buy a car and sort out the necessary paperwork?

    Also with respects to car insurance - what details are needed for insurance apart from having a local address (I read that renting a postal box would be the easiest)?

    I'm assuming it's also better to buy a car from a dealer who will assist (or organize) the necessary tests rather than from a private seller. If the dealer is the better option (in terms of being quicker), how much do the dealer fees normally cost ?

    I would highly appreciate some info on this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Two Necessary (but not sufficient) Conditions

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You will need, at a minimum, a local address and to get in touch with the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. While we can offer general advice in such matters, there is no substitute for getting in touch, early, with the actual governing authorities.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default wellllll

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    While we do occationally have discussions about purchasing a car for roadtrips, we really aren't experts in that field.

    What I can tell you is that each state is a bit different in their requirements, particularly for proving residentcy. You really need to contact the Maryland DMV directly. Getting a state drivers license will make everything else, including insurance, much easier.

    Using a post office box generally is not a valid way to prove that you live somewhere, and If you will have any actual apartment or house, then getting a mailbox is kind of pointless anyway.

    A dealer will not help you with any tests, although they will typically file the other paperwork for title and registration of the car - as long as you have all of the other documents (like a drivers license and possibly insurance) yourself. A dealer may charge a small fee of maybe $100 for paperwork processing, but going through a dealer also generally means you'll be paying more for the car itself too.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    From what I hear of others who have come to the US to work, the initial technicalities, until you get your green card and social secutiry number, should be able to be covered by those who have offered you the job. If this is a long term job, the type of visa you have been given will help.

    Lifey would approach them first

  5. #5
    promoves101 Guest

    Default Welcome to the board.

    you don't need a U.S license to buy a car or drive it if you have another license instead. although after 30 days you need to get a U.S one..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    you don't need a U.S license to buy a car or drive it if you have another license instead.
    Not necessarily true - it depends on the state you are in. Actually, anybody can buy a car - it's getting it titled and registered, and getting insurance that's the problem.

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