Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11
  1. Default Buying a car as non resident.

    My wife and I are planning to drive from the East coast to California late next year, we would like to buy a car and take our time driving. The plan is to buy a car after we have crossed the border from Canada so any state down to New Jersey would probably be ok. As you can imagine having never done anything like this before I have many questions, such as how as a non resident would I buy/ insure a vehicle? what actually purchasing a vehicle entails in any given State? What are the pitfalls/ things to look out for. I'm sure I will have many more questions but for now these will do. I look forward to the answers and tips any of you feel I may need to know. T.I.A.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,817

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    What you're asking is not totally impossible, but it is a lengthy process, and may/may not be financially or psychologically prudent, depending on how long you plan to stay here.

    It isn't usually a problem to buy a car. However, buying one that will actually get you across country without a lot of repairs might be a little tricky, and it takes time. If that didn't take enough time, the biggest hassle is yet to come: licensing and registering it, then trying to insure it. The individual states want you to have a permanent US address. The insurance companies want you to have a permanent US address. Not a lot of insurance companies will even think about insuring a non-resident, unfortunately. The final hassle is: what are you going to do with the vehicle when you're done with it? It will take time to sell it, if that's what you plan to do.

    Then there's the question: how long are you intending to travel? If you are here on the normal visitors visa, you can't stay in North America for longer than 90 days. Period. So you plan to buy, license, register and insure a car, which can take weeks. Then sell it later, another week. There goes much of your time in the US.

    We have a regular member on these forums that has been through this routine. She has family here so she is eligible for longer amounts of time on her visitor visa. Every time she comes back to the US, she has to deal with insurance issues and lately, licensing and registration. Hopefully she will chime in with real world experience, very soon.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,052

    Default Think twice.

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    We have a regular member on these forums who has been through this routine. She has family here so she is eligible for longer amounts of time on her visitor visa. Every time she comes back to the US, she has to deal with insurance issues ...
    It was in 2011, when I finally set about purchasing my van. After a decade of coming to visit, I wanted to have my own vehicle. Check out this thread. There was one member here, who had information which he thought might help me. I followed through, and with the help of the members here managed to find a vehicle to suit my needs. Bought it from afar, and organised the registration of the vehicle from afar. Insurance is another matter. There are States where a residential address is not compulsory, but I do not know of any company which will insure you without a US drivers' licene and/or a US social security number.

    In 2011, there was a company which was recommended by AAA. It had a division which would insure non-residents, and for the first few trips they insured my vehicle. Then they went out of auto insurance. Since then it has been a hit and miss each time I come over. This year my insurance was not confirmed until 32 days after I arrived at LAX. The final charge was almost $2K for 12 months. Each policy must be purchased for 12 months.

    Do you really want to go to all that trouble and expense for a mere 90 days in the US? The attorneys who facilitate the registration of vehicles for non-residents, do not take all that long, but charge well over a grand for the work they do.

    This current trip, my ninth in the US is the fifth since I purchased my van, for a total of more than 24 months. I hope to use it for a few more trips in the future. But I would not recommend it for a single trip. The cost would be far greater than renting a vehicle. And don't forget, any problems with the vehicle are all on your time and cost. Rental conttracts cover all of that.

    If you are here on the normal visitors visa, you can't stay in North America for longer than 90 days. Period.
    That is not quite correct.

    If you are flying directly into Canada, then your 90 days do not start until you cross the border into the US. However if your first stop is in the US, before you head to Canada, then your 90 days start counting down from that first stop - even though it may only have been a transit stop.

    Lifey

  4. Default

    If its any help we are going to try for the b-2 visa, so it wont be the esta we normally travel to the states on.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,340

    Default

    A full visa will likely make it easier to to get the car licensed and registered - although there everything is done state by state, so you'll have to see what the rules are in the state you anticipate buying the vehicle. That won't necessarily solve the insurance issues though.

    How long do you anticipate being in the US for this trip. Also, as you noted that you plan to start in Canada, what does your entire trip look like, and for that matter, what is your home country?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,052

    Default Good luck but it is not easy to get that visa for tourism only.

    On what grounds do you think you would be granted a B1/B2 visa? You might like to check this thread. The timing as far as when the clock starts ticking is still the same. If you transit through the US on your way to Canada, then the clock will be ticking all the time while you are in Canada.

    We can't really help with advice here, until, as Michael asked, you post your complete plans for either 90 or 180 days.

    Even with a six month visa, I would still think that your final costs would be as much, if not more than renting a vehicle. You certainly will have much more peace of mind knowing that any accident/breakdown is covered by the rental company, and you'll be on your way a.s.a.p. Renting will also get you a near new vehicle, instead of buying another persons cast off; and you will have it on the day you book it, without having to wait possibly weeks for the paper work to be finalised.

    If you go through one of the consolidators, like carrental.com, there are really good deals to be had. Further ways of saving money with a rental, would be to do a loop trip around the country, rather than a coast to coast trip with a possible sizeable one way drop fee. You have plenty of time!

    Lifey
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 05-30-2018 at 05:46 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,494

    Default

    If you go through one of the consolidators, like carrental.com
    You mean rentalcars.com. Carrental.com is only Avis and Budget.

  8. Default

    The plan at the moment (although it could and probably will change) is to fly to Canada from the U.k. we have a dog which we will bring with us so the flight time to Canada is about 6 hours. we would then cross the border into the U.S.A. and hopefully spend the next 6 months there. Again we have nothing confirmed but we may spend 6 months in Canada after being in the U.S.A. It all depends on getting the appropriate visa first. so my plan would still be to buy rather than rent if im going to keep the car for a year. I hope I'm making our plans clear even though nothing has been put in motion yet. we really do like the idea of travelling from west to east and taking our time with it.

  9. Default

    Woops, ill try the right direction this time, I meant from East to West!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,340

    Default

    If you plan to start and end in Canada, then you should be looking to buy the car in Canada. I imagine you'd want it in both places anyway, but you can't buy a car in one country and sell it in another (at least not easily).

    It might also be a bit easier to buy/license/insure in Canada as a non-resident, at least you might find more government operated insurance options that could be easier, although that's pure speculation on my park.

Similar Threads

  1. Non-Resident Buying Travel Trailer?
    By nomads in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 12-19-2014, 09:06 PM
  2. Car insurance help needed for non US resident
    By lemondancer in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12-10-2011, 09:08 AM
  3. Non-resident purchasing car
    By argentinos in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 12-24-2010, 05:07 PM
  4. non resident car purchase
    By ronkt1944 in forum Fall & Winter RoadTrips
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 09-11-2010, 10:35 AM
  5. non us resident wanting to buy and insure a car
    By Nedkelly in forum Gear-Up!
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 03-01-2009, 09:55 AM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

  • MORE TO EXPLORE