Buying a car in the US as a foreigner: what & how ?

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Re: Buying a car in the US as a foreigner: what & how ?

Postby Rice » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:10 am

illy dilly wrote:Its probably been covered in this thread and I over looked it, but what are the rules for foreigners and US driver's licenses?
Do their driver's license work in the states? or are they required to get a US license from what ever state they land in? I've heard of international driver's license, but have no knowledge of what its all about.

gyre wrote:Illy, I've seen surface rust that seems to come from long time exposure to moisture from sticking snow.
Mud and snow on the lower part is another problem.

Salt on the coast is definitely the worst issue I've seen.

I don't know if they use salt on the west coast.
I actually own a Denver car.

I guess I've never noticed 'unusual' surface rust from the from snow. Besides for late 70's and early 80's models when the auto companies were still figuring out non-lead based paints- but thats its own story.

Mud and snow on the lower part is another problem.

I actually just got a recall notice from Nissan regarding snow/salt/ice build up causing damage and corrosion to front suspension. It mentioned certain states where old school NaCl was still used.


A person from Europe would need a International drivers Licence to drive in the US. As a Canadian, I can just drive (no special requirements). The International license is given after the person has written a test. I have used this when travelling in the Middle east.

Snow by itself does not do much damage to a vehicle. The main culprit of rust in a snowy climate is salt. I see lots of vehicles with salt damage where they get a lot of snow but do not get the extreme cold temperatures. Where I live it gets colder than the effective temperature for salt, so here, we use gravel on top of the ice. Out east, where it does not get that cold, they use salt.

To clarify, I live in Saskatchewan Canada. We have snow for about 1/2 of the year. Frequently the temperatures can drop below -40C (-40F) and salt is useless at that temperature.

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Re: Buying a car in the US as a foreigner: what & how ?

Postby Elliot » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:42 am

You are pretty safe from rust the length of Interstate 5 -- Seattle to Los Angeles. I've bought two old school buses in Portland, Oregon, and they were absolutely free of rust.
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Re: Buying a car in the US as a foreigner: what & how ?

Postby inthecolumbiagorge » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:50 am

No sales tax in Oregon but they have fairly strict regulations on registration. You can purchase a reasonable vehicle for around $1500 on the Portland craigslist and we have even gotten good rigs (work well, lights, brakes, heater, windshield wipers and no terrible dents or damage) for $500 after looking for about 3 days.
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Re: Buying a car in the US as a foreigner: what & how ?

Postby illy dilly » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:00 pm

stretch80 wrote:
illy dilly wrote:Its probably been covered in this thread and I over looked it, but what are the rules for foreigners and US driver's licenses?
Do their driver's license work in the states? or are they required to get a US license from what ever state they land in? I've heard of international driver's license, but have no knowledge of what its all about.



A person from Europe would need a International drivers Licence to drive in the US. As a Canadian, I can just drive (no special requirements). The International license is given after the person has written a test. I have used this when travelling in the Middle east.

I've always wondered how that whole thing worked.
So are the written tests for Asia, Europe, and lets say Africa, different? Or is one "international Driver's License" good across every continent?
How long are they valid?
I think that would be a really cool form of ID to have, just for shits and giggles.
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Re: Buying a car in the US as a foreigner: what & how ?

Postby Canoe » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:30 pm

illy dilly wrote:...I think that would be a really cool form of ID to have, just for shits and giggles.

Typically not recognized as ID in any jurisdiction. Typically MUST be accompanied by your unexpired driver's license from your home jurisdiction, and often must be accompanied by your passport, which you'd be having with you anyway. View it as a temporary permit to recognize your driver's license from your home jurisdiction.

Often it is a convenient folding permit, roughly the same size as a passport. This is convenient in some countries you travel to as it is a convenient place to forget that you placed the equivalent of a $20 bill (whatever the local going rate is) inside it when you hand the closed permit over... and look somewhere else while it's opened. :)
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Re: Buying a car in the US as a foreigner: what & how ?

Postby SnowBlind » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:31 pm

stretch80 wrote:A person from Europe would need a International drivers Licence to drive in the US.


I'm pretty sure that's not the case. I've rented many cars in the US with a German drivers license, no international license required. I think most states have a rule where they recognize other country's licenses if you are here for less than x days and under non immigrant visas.

The international license is really more of a translation of your native license. In Germany, you'd apply for it, and get one issued that was valid 2 years. It's only valid together with the original license, never alone. The only reason to carry it is if you get pulled over in an area that doesn't get a lot of tourists, and the local cops don't know that you are allowed to drive with a foreign license.

This is for the US, it possible that other countries *do* require it.
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