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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Posts
    6

    Default Non-resident purchasing car

    Hello everyone!

    A friend and me from Argentina are planning a 2 month roadtrip across the US, from Atlanta to Los Angeles. I know that it's not nearly enough time to see everything we'd like to, but it's all we have.

    Anyways, I was wondering if anyone here knows if it is difficult for a non-resident to purchase a car. I am a US citizen, but as I've been living abroad my whole life I am not a resident of any state. I've been calling DMVs and talking to friends and it seems that most states require you to be a resident. ¿Is there any way around this? I've seen several posts about non-residents planning to purchase a car, and wanted to know if anyone had some first-hand experience...
    How difficult is it to establish proof of residence? I will be staying with a friend in Atlanta and I'm sure she'll offer whatever help she can give... Does anyone know the best way to get around the "residence requirement"?
    Otherwise, does anyone know what the legal ramifications of registering the car in her name would be?

    I know that rental is also an option, though it seems less attractive. Does someone know where can I find information about rentals for two-months to persons under 26 (We're 23)?

    Thanks very much!

    Once this is solved, I would love to talk about / hear suggestions of places to go and things to see.

    Cheers!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default No Reported Successes So Far

    Bienvenido al bordo RoadTrip América foros! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    This question has come up numerous times in the past and we have always had to report on the seemingly insurmountable difficulties that one would encounter. First and foremost is the need for a permanent residence in whatever state you intend to register and license the vehicle. If you are to be the owner, then you will have to show proof of residence. Normally this would be accomplished with your driver's license, but I'm assuming that you won't have a Georgia (or any other US) license. You can also establish residency in many instances by showing several examples of commercial correspondence at an address, such as electric bills, phone (land line), banking activity tied to an address, etc. Again, I'm assuming that you have no such record. Your friend can certainly be the purchaser of record, and register and license a vehicle in her name, but then she is accepting full responsibility and liability for the vehicle and all your actions as its driver. Any damage or personal injuries you cause while driving her vehicle are her responsibility. Period. Whether she, as your friend, is willing to take that on is, in my mind, immaterial. You, as her friend, should not be willing to saddle her with it.

    Each time we have given this advice, we have asked the questioner to report back if, despite all the legal and financial difficulties in their way, they have been successful in such an endeavor. We have never had a single positive feed back. We make the same request of you. Good Luck

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Thanks for answering so quickly AZBuck! I appreciate the information. I did notice that nobody seems to return to the forum and talk about their experience. I promise to do so. For now, it seems that purchasing a car is incredibly complicated, and we will have to settle for renting. But I wont give up just yet!

    It seems from some accounts that people have actually managed to purchase cars (for example, "dbulmer" in this post: http://www.roadtripamerica.com/forum...cle-East-Coast). Do we have any idea how they did it?

    I have a few follow-up questions.

    1) What would you say is the easiest way to establish a GA residency? I am a U.S. citizen, so i have a social security number, and also a bank account. According to the state of Georgia, a bank statement can serve as proof of residence. If I base my bank account in GA, how long would it take until I got a statement, which I could then use as proof of residence to register the car?

    2) What is the cheapest way to rent a car over two months, for a person under 26?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default a loophole in your case

    Everything Buck said is completely true, however in your specific case you could have more luck.

    Because you are a US citizen it will be much easier for you to establish the residency you need to get a licence, and do all the other paperwork. The big issue for most non-residents is that without a green card, there is no way to establish an intent to live in the US (or any state there in) but since you are a US citizen, there is no restriction on how long you can be here.

    You will have to see what it takes to get a Georgia License, but I would take the approach that you are moving in with your friend and use that as your home base. I do completely agree with Buck that "borrowing" would put her at a tremendous liability risk if something were to happen. There's also the fact that you would not be able to sell the car at the end of the trip if it is not in your name.

    Having said that, it will be a time consuming and expensive process to get a roadworthy car, pay for taxes, insurance, and do all the other paperwork that goes along with purchasing a car. For a trip that is 2 months long, it still might not be worth it. We usually figure it takes at least 2-3 months on the road to "break even" on purchasing vs. renting, and with an underage surcharge, you'll be closer to the 2 month side, but still, when you factor in your time along with all of the extra charges, renting could still be the better deal.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    with regards to the "others" who've claimed they've been able to do it on this forum, we have had a few, but none of them have every explained how they got the paperwork to work - and we've asked many times.

    I will say it also should be noted that the laws have been making it progressively harder to purchase a car as a non-resident, so even if there was a way to do it a few years ago, its quite possible that those ways won't work anymore.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default another thought

    One other option to relatively easy way to get establish residentcy is to figure out where you are already a de-facto resident.

    Put simply, where do you vote, or if you haven't voted, where would you vote? That would generally be the last place in the US where you lived, or if you've never lived in the US it would be the last place in the US where your parents lived. It would likely be worthwhile to contact the DMV in whatever state that is and see if that would be an option.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Posts
    6

    Default Maryland

    Thanks for the help guys!

    My "de facto" state would be Maryland. I did vote in the last elections, but I don't think it would help me establish residence: I still don't have anything that proves I live there. I've contacted several DMVs and they have very specific requirements, such as a rent contract, proof of employment, or utility bills.

    I've decided to fall back on renting - it's significantly more expensive, but seriously reduces uncertainty and liability. Do you have any recomendations regarding the rental? We are "underage" (23), so there seems to be a $15 / day premium which just makes the price fly up. Do they make any sort of special deals for two month rentals? Because 15 / day for two months is just madness...

    The best price i found was on priceline.com and I used a promotional code to get a 20% discount. Do you have any ideas on how else to reduce prices? THe total cost turned out approx. U$S 2000, plus 900 for underage premium plus 600 in collision insurance (11 / day).

    Any thoughts?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default unavoidable

    Most places charge $25 per day for an underage fee, so $15 is actually a pretty reasonable rate.

    There's really no great way to get around it. You might try looking at some of the UK/Europe based brokers. Sometimes they'll offer better prices and deals, where the underage fee is rolled right into the rental rate.

    You'll also be better off if you can get your insurance from anywhere other than the car rental company. If you have car insurance in argentina, see if that covers you in the US, if you're using a credit card, see what coverage that provides, and finally you can look at 3rd party companies that offer short term insurance for rental cars.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Posts
    6

    Default Short-term insurance

    Can you recommend any companies that offer short-term collision insurance?
    I assume that basic liability insurance (I don't know what you call this in English: I mean insurance that will pay the other vehicle in case of an accident) is covered by the rental, right?

    Thanks again for all the answers!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Liability insurance is not included in the rental. If you cause a crash without insurance, you will be held liable for any and all damage done to other cars.

    Here are a few options for 3rd party insurance
    .

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