Buying / Insuring and driving your own vehicle USA

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WANDERER
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Buying / Insuring and driving your own vehicle USA

Post by WANDERER » Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:16 pm

Off to the US in May for 33 weeks, looking at buying a car, hear I may have some trouble though, anyone here done it and done it legally?

Lookin at buying a For Econoline or Dodge Ram Conversion van.

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Re: Buying / Insuring and driving your own vehicle USA

Post by alakaboo » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:35 am

hey mate
you'll probably struggle without a social security #, i'm assuming you won't have one? doesn't mean it'll be impossible, but it's harder. particularly legally.
the SSN is used on all forms, so without it they don't know what to do with you.
I had one from a stint in the ski-fields when i was a student (they never expire), without it we would've been waiting at least 3 (prob 6) weeks for it to come through, that's assuming you actually get one.

get a local licence as soon as you get off the plane, you'll need it for rego and insurance. depends where you are going, all DMV conditions are different, in California you could book them online and they had a wait of 2 weeks, cost less than 20 bucks.

get a car from the local site of http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites that site is gold. don't forget the s in the middle of Craigslist at work...

whatever you do, don't get the minimum insurance, get a large 3rd party allowance, because if you even ding someone's car and they get whiplash, it'll cost thousands in medical expenses, the health system is exorbitant.

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Re: Buying / Insuring and driving your own vehicle USA

Post by WANDERER » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:52 am

Not being a US citizen I'd suggest it would be impossible to get a SSN...

What's entailed in getting a 'local licence'?? got down the DMV with my Aussie and international Drivers Licence's and ask for one??

From speaking to some seppos in Seattle they are telling me that buying a car privately is easy (like anywhere) but driving it legally including insurance is the hard part... pretty daunting.

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Re: Buying / Insuring and driving your own vehicle USA

Post by alakaboo » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:18 pm

local licence means doing the test, you have to do the written one first, then drive around the block and try not to speed...

actually, thinking back, you needed a SSN to do the written test... doh!

it's not impossible to get a SSN, you just need work authorisation and a reason to be there. and to not be on a visa waiver entry.
if you are there for more than 3 months you'll probably need a business/tourism visa (B1), unless you duck out to canada or mex and re-enter.
easiest legal way to get a SSN is normally on a J1 (sponsored) short term work visa. if you have a mate over there with a company, see if you can get them to sponsor you on a pretend work contract.
but the process takes a few months normally...
an E3 visa (aussies only, free-trade agreement) is faster, but depends on which centre you apply to, 4 years ago noone knew what it was because it was new.

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Re: Buying / Insuring and driving your own vehicle USA

Post by alakaboo » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:38 pm

think rego might be the challenge, you normally need a local licence for that, which needs a SSN or at least a local address.
If you got a buddy over there you can use theirs. with their permission of course, as it is dodgy and they are more strict these days...
try out all the DMVs for the states you are going to, and see which one is the most lax, could be worth flying there first?

I think AIG does insurance for foreigners without SSNs, it isn't cheap apparently.

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Re: Buying / Insuring and driving your own vehicle USA

Post by Legion » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:19 pm

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Last edited by Legion on Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Buying / Insuring and driving your own vehicle USA

Post by WANDERER » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:29 pm

I've already got a B2 visa approved, I think I may go down the road of having our friends buy a van ( we give them the money) and then make sure it is insured for us to 'borrow' and drive for 30'000klms... Might follow up on the AIG lead, even if it's not cheap, I wan't to make sure we are covered and safe. Thanks for your help.

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Re: Buying / Insuring and driving your own vehicle USA

Post by Karlos » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:10 pm

It's been awhile & I'm sure things might have changed, but I bought cars over there in 1991 & 1994 with no problems at all. In fact the first one was a shitbox Datsun which I bought off a friend in New Jersey for $200 & despite it failing to pass inspection, I was still able to register it & even get insurance. Back then they would register your car but place a 'defective' sticker on the windscreen that gave you 30 days to get everything fixed. We scraped the sticker off once we left New Jersey, & despite being pulled over countless times (the car tended to attract attention) we were always OK as we had valid rego & insurance. Because there was (is) no cooperation between the states, no cop was the wiser when they ran our details through their computers. And I only ever used my Australian drivers license. I'm sure there would've been hell to pay if we got into an accident, but being young & stupid meant we didn't bother worrying about that. Both of those cars were great investments by the way, in terms of seeing the country & not having to buy plane, train or coach tickets.

Seeing as you're generally not going to have a problem hiring a car on an Australian drivers license, I can't see why you wouldn't be able to buy one.

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Re: Buying / Insuring and driving your own vehicle USA

Post by WANDERER » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:18 pm

Buying one was never going to be a problem, driving it legally and being insured seems to be a bit trickier from what I've heard so far.

At this point in time the main plan is to purchase a car in our hosts and friends name in Seattle (US Citizens) then make sure that 'their' insurance extends to cover them lending their car to us for the purpose of our roadtrip.

FWIW some of the seppos I've been talking to online in Seattle say that legislation on vehicle ownership and registration has changed significantly post 9/11.

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Re: Buying / Insuring and driving your own vehicle USA

Post by alakaboo » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:43 pm

Toby wrote: I thought the U.S. was "special" and to prevent overstayers they didn't count Canada or Mexico as valid for restarting visa durations?
think you're right, actually.
last few times i've been on different visas, but think NAFTA did scotch a few of those options.

Costa Rica has surf...and flights in the US are cheap as.
WANDERER wrote: FWIW some of the seppos I've been talking to online in Seattle say that legislation on vehicle ownership and registration has changed significantly post 9/11.
definitely agree with that. went before and after and it was worlds apart.

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Re: Buying / Insuring and driving your own vehicle USA

Post by WANDERER » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:51 pm

alakaboo wrote:
Toby wrote: I thought the U.S. was "special" and to prevent overstayers they didn't count Canada or Mexico as valid for restarting visa durations?
think you're right, actually.
yep, I have secured a B2 tourist visa which facilitates a longer stay than the visa waiver program, however I was told at the consulate that it will be up to immigration to decide the length of my stay, that is not effected by my travel into and back from Canada (and possibly Puerto Rico) the period allowed at the start of my trip stands and is not effected, but obviously allows me multi entry within the period.

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Re: Buying / Insuring and driving your own vehicle USA

Post by alakaboo » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:10 pm

yeah, i had the same. sucks to think that after going to the consulate and jumping through all their hoops it can all come down to the one sitting at the desk when you get there...

dress nice, and keep talking about how much money you're going to spend on your roadtrip....

sounds like you have got it figured out, you'll have a blast.

grab a tyler while you're there. geez they're sweet.

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