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  1. Default in-transit permit and temporary registration

    Hello everyone!

    I am 21 year old guy from Finland and Im planning a roadtrip with my friend to the US. We wanted to add some excitement to our trip and instead of a rental car we would like to buy one. Ive been doing some research about the interstate in-transit permit issued by the New York state DMV. Ive called some car dealers and some of them say that it is possible for us to get it and some of them say it is not. Can anyone of you help me on this? Is it possible for no US citizen to get the in transit permit and what are the requirements? Some people have also told me that lacking a valid address could be an issue. I ve got some friends living in California, will their address be any good to me if I happen to need an "address"?. What about temporary registration in New Jersey. I received an email from the local DMV telling me that its possible for non US citizen to temporarily register a vehicle as long as he/she provides a title, poof of insurance and a licence. Will international driver licence be good enough an how easy it is to get the insurance?
    Thanks in advance!
    J. Kaira

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Always Difficult

    There are always significant hassles for foreign tourists to try and purchase a car in the US, and you are discovering many of them.

    i can't really tell you anything about New York or New Jersey's specific rules for transit permits. Your best bet there would be to deal with someone directly with the DMV who can not only give you straight answers, but can also help you in person once you arrive in the US.

    Not having a fixed US address will be an issue, and typically to get a transit permit, you need to report where you plan to transport the vehicle, and then register it there. So, if you use your friends address in California, you will have to register the car, pay taxes, go through inspection, etc once you do arrive in California and before you can resell the car.

    Insurance will also be difficult. You need an address to say where the car is being kept, which if you are going to use California, it may be hard to find a New York agent who can sell you a California policy. Whatever you do find will be expensive. 21 Year olds typically pay a pretty high rate in the first place, but since you will have no US driving record, you will likely have to go through a high risk insurance company, which will have very high rates.

    Ultimately, I think it would be a lot easier to start your trip in California. That way you will be right at your "address" from the start. That will make things like registation and insurance a little easier. You will also benefit from a slightly better resale price at the end of your trip, because California cars don't suffer the weather abuse like cars from the northeast.

    Another option, that could be easier than any of the above, would involve going through Adventures on Wheels, or a similar company. They will sell you a car, with a promise to buy it back at the end of your trip. I believe they will also deal with any of the insurance and other paperwork you need for a successful trip.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 01-10-2007 at 05:12 PM. Reason: Added Info

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default It Doesn't Take Long to Reach an Impasse

    Tervetuloa! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I had a look at the requirements and forms for in-transit permits on the New York DMV website, and found what I think would be an insurmountable hurdle in very short order. The in-transit permit form specifically states that the applicant's ID info (specifically their address) will be taken from their driver's license. Since this permit is intended for the temporary registration of otherwise unlicensed New York cars by New York state residents, neither your Finnish license, nor your fictitious California address will be of use to you. I also checked New Jersey and the information you received seems to be correct but the only people who can tell you whether your Finnish license will be acceptable are the New Jersey DMV, so I think you're in for an email 'conversation' with them. Note that essentially no one here speaks Finnish, so an International License, which is nothing more than a translation of your actual license, will be required. It is your actual license, though, which will be the document of record, along with your Finnish address.

    Even if that all works, there are a few things working against even wanting this to go through. Insurance is typically sold in 6 month blocks at a minimum, and as a young driver with no US driving record, you are looking at some rather hefty rates, many hundreds of dollars, especially trying to get it in New York or New Jersey. Secondly, even if the cost of insurance doesn't scare you off, you will be buying retail and selling wholesale, and will be the 'motivated' party in both cases. I would plan on this costing you around one quarter to one half of the price of the vehicle. Finally, California has stricter emission control laws than the rest of the nation, so there is no guarantee that a car, even though legal on the east coast, will be legal in California, making selling it even more problematical. In short, even if you can legally pull this off, unless you are going to be driving this car for close to 6 months, it makes no financial sense to try to do it.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Buck - I'm not quite sure how you stumbled on this one, but this is a thread from 2007!

    However, since it has been revived, it is noting that additional changes in the laws in the past 3 years have made it even more difficult to get a car licensed at a friend/relatives address, since now most states require some sort of proof that you are actually living at said address (such as providing a utility bill)

  5. Default Try LLC route ?

    One could set up an LLC (Limited Liability Company) in Montana (or similar jurisdiction) and registering the vehicle there. Insurance is still a tap dance but can be done. Yes you will pay a premium. The LLC will cost a couple of hundred (unless you fall prey to the many sharks who charge a lot more) and registration in Montana will cost a bit (few hundred depending on car value and age). But the end result desired can be achieved. Since there is no State tax in Montana that savings will go a ways to paying the other costs. For a hundred bucks a year or so you can keep it going and use it to buy more tax free vehicles. maybe you can set up an Import business for your home country LOL. Good luck !


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