Buying a Car in the USA as a Foreigner - What You Need to Know - Arvian Immigration Law Firm
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Buying a Car in the USA as a Foreigner – What You Need to Know

Foreigners can purchase cars in the USA regardless of their status in the country.

Foreign driver’s licenses are recognized in the USA, but in some cases you may need an international driving permit. However, it is best to get an American driver’s license, as we have covered in previous posts.

Car insurance costs for foreigners can vary depending on the state, your age, driving experience, and past claims. On average, car insurance costs $500-$1500 per year. The USA requires a minimum level of liability coverage that can differ by state. This means if you cause an accident, your insurance will cover a certain amount of damage to the other driver, passengers, or property, but if the accident causes more damage than your insurance covers, you may have to pay the remaining amount yourself.

Taxes and fees. Depending on the state, sales tax on a car purchase can range from 2% to 8% of the car’s price. Additionally, some states may charge extra fees like a title transfer tax or registration fee.

After purchasing a car, you must register it at the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). Typically to register a car you’ll need to provide the bill of sale, insurance, valid driver’s license, and proof of address.

If you can’t pay for the car upfront in cash, you can get an auto loan, but will likely need good credit history. You may have to put down a significant deposit.

Before buying a car, it’s important to check its condition. You can ask the seller for a vehicle history report (CARFAX), inspect it, and test drive it.

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