Buying a car in the US as a foreigner

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#1 Wed, 04/13/2016 - 12:19

Buying a car in the US as a foreigner

Hey everybody, first post here, hope to post much more in the future!

Me and my wife are from Argentina and we're planning on flying to the US, buying a car and drive it back home. We've never done something like this before and we're really excited about it. Been doing a lot of reading.

There's one thing with wich I've had trouble finding good info: How feasible is it for me to buy a car as a foreigner, being in the US with a temporary visa? Of course I'd have all my personal documents in order (Passport, argentinian driver's license and international driver's license). Buying in Canada would also be an option.

I've read that it depends on the state laws, does someone know in which states this can be done?

Thanks in advance,


Tue, 04/19/2016 - 20:37

HOLA THAROS, soy alberto yo

HOLA THAROS, soy alberto yo tambien soy ARGENTINO , y e vivido en LOS USA CALIFORNIA 45 anios ,y e viajado desde california hasta   ROSARIO dos veses y en junio boy de nuebo. la contestacion a tu pregunta es muy senciya no hay nungun drama para nadie en estados unidos ,para q pueda comprar un vehiculo de cualquier clase q quiera ,bas a una agencia de autos usados  COMO EJEMPLO lo cual hay miles y con la guita compras lo que quieras, hay cantidades q ablan espaniol con eyos te podes entender mejor .y podrias arregrar que le compras el auto si te lo puden  entregan a tu nombre de una ves,de otra manera tenes q ir con los papeles al departamento de vehiculo ( DMV ) y vas a necesitar darles una direccion para q te manden el titulo de propiedad ,lo cual tarda de 2 a 3 semanas en yegar ,una bes q tengas el auto a tu nombre. podes viajar con el a cualquier lado libremente incluyendo cualquier  pais .si nesesitas datos del viaje para la ARGENTINA preguntame y te pongo al tanto de todo porque si lo ases en panama bas a nesecitar ayuda en panama tenes que embarcar el auto asta cartagena colombia si o si ay un tramo entre pan y colm sin carretera todo el mundo tiene q embarcar para seguir, yo conosco una argentina muy gaucha q tiene mas de 20 anios trabajando con los turistas ,eya es agente naviera y tiene todas las soluciones q vas a nesecitar yo soy miembro del club de DRIVE THE AMERICAS ,Y SI nesesitas mas imformacion mi correo es     (  [email protected]  )   ........SALUDOS    ALBERTO.........

Sat, 04/30/2016 - 15:42

Hey Bruno,

Hey Bruno,


I asked the same question in the LP forums only a week ago. These are the steps you need to follow:

Sun, 05/01/2016 - 12:57

Hey Steve,

Hey Steve,

this is great info. Just what I was looking for. Thanks a lot.

Alberto, gracias por tu respuesta. Es lindo ver otros argentinos en el foro. Saludos!

Sun, 05/01/2016 - 15:47

Have you checked what will

Have you checked what will happen when you reach Argentina? I know a couple who drove a large motorhome back to Argentina and they were hoping to get it in duty free because they had been away from Arg for two years living in the US so it could come in under a special duty free classification. Otherwise they said it would be too expensive to do.

Sun, 05/01/2016 - 16:53

Good question, didn't mention

Good question, didn't mention any of that here:

I don't know anything fist hand. I've been doing some research, though, this is what I know from the internet: If you've been out of the country for more than two years, you have declared residency in another country and have declared that you bought a car in said country, you can bring it back to argentina when you move back here. If it costed less than US$15.000, you can import it duty free.

Official source:

More info:

Personally: I want to make the trip, I don't care much for the car after that. If I can't import it legally I'll just ditch it I guess. Haven't put a lot of thought into it.

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 05:43

You may be OK right up to

You may be OK right up to when you enter Argentina so maybe do all the travels you want to first just in case you have to get rid of it.

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 16:50

Hi! Tere is lots of good info

Hi! Tere is lots of good info!

I am from Europe and also palning to go to usa for 3 to 12 months or something... And want a buy a car from California. I know I can be only 3 months in a row but I have planned to go home or shomwere for couple of days in every 3 monhts. Or take a 6 months visa.

So I have couple of questions because I wanna be sure am I undestood right. I dont speak really good English.

1. I buy a car and then go to register it right? I need have to had adress (I could have friend) were "pink slip", plates and insurance things comes? Plates and pink slip takes 3-5 weeks to come. Can I drive at all in that time??

2. About incuranse. I don't have no idea yet what insurances I need in USA and were I should take those. How much car insurances would cost in USA?

3. I have planning to buy for example Ford Transit Cargo XL 2010-2013 wich would cost about 7000 dollars (droved about 100 000 miles). What do you think is it a easy to sell after like 6 months of use? And how much I can get back? Maybe 5000-7000 dollars? I have no idea about American car business.

That's all what I have in my mind right know.

Thanks a lot for help and all answers!

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 03:59

Hello friends

Hello friends

Did you know that you can head-start your driver license training with all the information on this page. Just in case you needed it:

Have a nice day

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 03:28

Not for every foreigner, but

Not for every foreigner, but we bought our vehicles using a Montana LLC. No sales tax and no annual inspections either and if the vehicle is 10 years old, you can get permanent license tags.

Insuarance is provided by Progressive.

We use our Australian Licenses.

Mon, 11/21/2016 - 19:36

Its seems as if

Its seems as it is possible for a Foreigner to register in CA, once you get proper insurance.

I have a question regarding a techincallity, in the CA pinkslip it asks for California ID, what do you put there? Do you put your passport number or do you just leave it blank?


Also regarding the purchase, do you pay the private seller and leave or do you make him go with you to the DMV?