Buying a car in the USA as foreigner

Travel Forums North America Buying a car in the USA as foreigner

1. Posted by Brambor (Budding Member 15 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


My plan is to buy a car in the usa and then I would drive in about 6 months through the usa, to mexico and then further down to South America (Bolivia).

I wonderd if it is easy to buy a car as foreinger in the usa. How do i insure my car and get all necessary papers.

What do i have to do with the license plate. Do i need a european license plate or one from the us.

Is there anyone who did something like this who can help me with these questions. Maby there is an internet site where i can find all the info i need.


2. Posted by tfafara (Budding Member 12 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

It depends on your status in usa. If you have SSN (social security number) I think it won't be a problem to get driving license and then buy/insure/register a car.
Things get complicated if you go as a tourist (no SSN, no permanent address, etc) - that's my case. Most insurance companies will sell you ins. only if you have US DL. However, AIG has a program for tourists, contact them for details. It's not cheap but they require very few papers. Even if you have ins. it's still a problem to register a car. I've called most of the DMV's in eastern states and only Maryland's DMV said it's possible. Call them and check that out. You'll find phones at


Post 3 was removed by a moderator
4. Posted by JustAnyone (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

i was wondering if you actually bought a car and how you got insurance? how did it work.
i'm planning to go to the states for 2 months and i was wandering if it's cheaper to rent or to buy a car.


5. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3580 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I have several posts on this forum about the rent/buy debate. I think if you are in the US for a month or less, rent. If you are going to be travelling more than 6 weeks, buy a van/car and sell it once you leave. I have helped 2 TP members buy vans in Vegas. Pretty simple here. You do need an International Drivers License. We bought a van, got a smog cert., bought car insurance, (need a local address, mine), went to DMV, registered the van (local address), put the plates on it all in 2 days. This is in Nevada. Other states may have different requirements. You will need special Mexican insurance if you go across the border. US insurance is not valid. Send me a PM if you have questions.