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Old 06-05-2021, 09:01   #1
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Info on how non US citizens can buy an RV

Hello. We are British sailors with US long stay visas. For a change we want to buy a RV to travel in the US, Canada and maybe down to S America for a couple of years. So for this we need to buy (or lease), register and insure a RV. We don't have an address in the US. We are aware of people registering boats in Delaware and wondered what people do for RVs. We have the time, money and experience, we just don't know how to make it happen.
So the first question we need an answer to is whether as non US citizens we can even buy a RV. Until we can address this, there is no point moving onto other detail.
It seems that a way some people might do it, is to set up a Limited Liability company in Montana where there is apparently no need to have residency and no sales tax. Sales tax varies a great deal from state to state, but the establishment of an entity that we can buy, register and insure a RV against is the first step.
This is off pitch for this forum, but as there is cross over between cruisers on land and on sea, we thought that it was worth asking the question here. Thanks if you have any info.
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Old 06-05-2021, 09:59   #2
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Re: Info on how non US citizens can buy an RV

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So the first question we need an answer to is whether as non US citizens we can even buy a RV. Until we can address this, there is no point moving onto other detail.

They're vehicles. Vehicle ownership is the purview of the states, so rules vary from state to state.


That said, I can assure you that if you had to be a US citizen to buy a vehicle, there would be 20% less traffic on the roads.


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It seems that a way some people might do it, is to set up a Limited Liability company in Montana where there is apparently no need to have residency and no sales tax. Sales tax varies a great deal from state to state, but the establishment of an entity that we can buy, register and insure a RV against is the first step.

I don't think there's any reason to go through all that. Just register the RV in the state where you intend to keep it most, under your own names. You may be able to use your foreign address. If not, use the address of a mail forwarding service. It does not have to be in the same state as the address where you register the RV.
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:06   #3
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Re: Info on how non US citizens can buy an RV

If you plan to go to South America you will probably want a true expedition camper rather than a plain RV: something built on a military or commercial truck chassis and preferably 4x4 or 6x6.
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:08   #4
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Re: Info on how non US citizens can buy an RV

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Originally Posted by bobt4 View Post
Hello. We are British sailors with US long stay visas. For a change we want to buy a RV to travel in the US, Canada and maybe down to S America for a couple of years. So for this we need to buy (or lease), register and insure a RV. We don't have an address in the US. We are aware of people registering boats in Delaware and wondered what people do for RVs. We have the time, money and experience, we just don't know how to make it happen.
So the first question we need an answer to is whether as non US citizens we can even buy a RV. Until we can address this, there is no point moving onto other detail.
It seems that a way some people might do it, is to set up a Limited Liability company in Montana where there is apparently no need to have residency and no sales tax. Sales tax varies a great deal from state to state, but the establishment of an entity that we can buy, register and insure a RV against is the first step.
This is off pitch for this forum, but as there is cross over between cruisers on land and on sea, we thought that it was worth asking the question here. Thanks if you have any info.
Go over to RVnetwork.com, you will get plenty of help over there.

David
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:13   #5
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Re: Info on how non US citizens can buy an RV

As for South America from the US - I don’t think the Darien Gap has been bridged with a road yet. From vague memory of an article I read recently, the ferry cost for vehicles was $$$$$$$.
You might be better off selling that RV in the States, sailing to South America, and buying yet another one for terrestrial exploration.

I don’t know about you, but inter-city bus service in the areas of Mexico that I have explored has been fantastic. Petty crime and vehicle break-ins are endemic
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:55   #6
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Re: Info on how non US citizens can buy an RV

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So for this we need to buy (or lease), register and insure a RV. We don't have an address in the US.
The rules vary by states, and some are much more oppressive than others.



It's mainly the states that don't charge sales tax upon registering a vehicle, which tend to care about proving a home address within the state, although they will probably be happy to issue the title and temporary registration for removal to another state.



Insurance is trickier, as they require that you specify a home address. They do not care which state it is registered in or even if registration is current, but they absolutely require a primary address.



You could buy it in the U.S., get title and temporary registration for removal from the state. With that, you could go from state to state, and get a temporary registration in each state good for 30 days. Some states will still charge sales tax for issuing the title. I bought one in Arizona, and they did not charge sales tax on an RV that already had AZ plates, and the title and temporary registration were cheap. California would charge you sales tax at 8% or so, I believe.


A leased RV could not be removed from the U.S.


You can get a temporary import permit at the border for entry into Mexico, good for 6 months. There are many sellers of Mexican insurance on the US side of the border, but online is cheaper. You will need to do a lot of research before going any further south.



You would avoid a lot of problems by renting an apartment or long-term trailer site for a few months while you get a state drivers license, title, and insurance. You can get a mail drop to use as your mailing address, and they will forward mail to you anywhere in the world, for your insurance and renewal tabs. Most states require annual emissions tests, so you would have to come back for that.


Used RV's can be an incredible bargain. There are lots of scams on Craig's list to watch out for as well.


Don't drive into Death Valley without doing a lot of research first, and preferably in a convoy. It's got its name for a good reason.
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Old 06-05-2021, 12:24   #7
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Re: Info on how non US citizens can buy an RV

1) Yes a non-citizen can purchase an RV and register it in the State in which it is used. Not having an address may complicate the matter as the department of motor vehicles will need at least a mailing address and many States impose property taxation associated with the county in which the vehicle resides. You will need to contact the DMV for the State in which you will make the purchase for details. 50 States / 50 sets of rules / nothing complex about that.

2) Insurance is also a State by State matter. Your apparent lack of residency complicates which subsidiary of an insurance company has to underwrite the policy. Insurance companies are regulated as to cross State lines, but once a policy is written it avails coverage for interstate and intrastate travel. As to crossing national borders, most USA insurance coverage avails limited coverage for temporary near border travel. But you will likely need to purchase separate insurance for each and every country you enter as that is customarily a mandate for entry of the vehicle.

3) Sales and Use taxation. Most States have sales and use taxation on purchases of goods [and some on services]. You will be required to pay sales tax upon the purchase of an RV purchased from a dealer at the time of purchase. If you purchase in a private sale [non-dealer seller] then you may owe Use tax, in lieu of Sale tax if the State in which the purchase or use has Sales / Use taxation. All depends on which State you purchase and which State you use the good / RV. Simple to determine on line once you determine which States you have established transactional connection as to purchase and use. Just go google. Devil is in the details but not as complex as the USA Income Tax Code which is over 46,000 pages long. If you pay Sales tax in one State, you will receive credit against any similar taxation that may come due by transferring the good / RV to another State which may impose use taxation. Proof of Sales/Use taxation payment is typically required when you go to a State to have the vehicle registered and / or titled.

Unless you actually bring your vehicle to The Last Best Place, a.k.a. Montana, you will not be exempt from paying Sales / Use taxation on the RV you purchase, nor will you be allowed to register your vehicle in Montana. Taxation and registration are based on the situs of the vehicle. So you can forget the whole Montana LLC phony baloney attempt to evade taxes. Evading taxes is illegal, avoiding taxes is legal. Hey, you just reminded me that my ten year old Montana Driver's License has expired this week and I need to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new one; this time it will be one of the new Federal approved "Smart Licenses". The DMV being open Tuesdays and Thursdays to process license renewals, that gives me the remainder of this afternoon.

Hey, your British, so you have Brexit experience and know the complexities and issues with leaving a Union. Well the USA Brexited coming on 245 years ago and now have 50 sets of jurisdictions and rules.

You also likely need to get a State issued driver's license, typically only short stay visa holders are exempt from being required to obtain State licensing when they reside in a State.

By way of example:

New Resident – Welcome to Florida!

You may be considered a resident of Florida when you:

Have started employment or engaged in a trade, profession, or occupation in this state.
Have enrolled your children in the public schools of this state.
Have registered to vote in this state.
Have filed for homestead tax exemption on property in this state.
Have lived in this state for a period of more than six consecutive months.

As a new Florida resident, you must obtain a valid Florida driver license within 30 days of establishing residency to drive on Florida roads. In addition, you must obtain insurance from a Florida insurance agent that is licensed to sell insurance in Florida in order to title and register your vehicle(s), vessel(s), and mobile home(s) within 10 days of establishing residency.

As to the long-stay visa, due realize that can be cause to invoking tax residency in the USA both for Federal and for State taxation. That is a separate can of worms.

Enjoy your motor touring.
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Old 06-05-2021, 14:00   #8
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Re: Info on how non US citizens can buy an RV

When we bought a camper van in Austraiia, we just had one of our Aussie friends buy it, register it, and cover it on their insurance. No worries mate, they even had cousin Vinnie take care of the roadworthiness certificate nonsense, which you won't have in a lot of US states.
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Old 06-05-2021, 14:33   #9
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Re: Info on how non US citizens can buy an RV

Australian friends of ours bought an RV and toured much of the US and Canada. Friends let them use their address. Others use the address of the marina where they leave the boat. If you get the license shortly after entering the state, they may accept your British license as proof of knowing how to drive. Just remember to "think right", because we do drive on the other side of the roads, and round abouts are different, too.

Ann
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Old 06-05-2021, 14:48   #10
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Re: Info on how non US citizens can buy an RV

FYI:

Info as to dealing with establishing domicile for nomads / RVers

https://gnomadhome.com/domicile-for-nomads/

Snipets:

What is a domicile? Domicile is a legal term that refers to the place you intend to make your permanent home, and the place you intend to return to after temporary absences. Your domicile is the state where you “live,” pay taxes, have a driver’s license, obtain health insurance, register your vehicles, and conduct your banking. It is different from your residence – because while you may have multiple residences, you can only have one domicile.

"Many auto insurance companies want you to have a “garageable” address for your vehicle – so that either cuts down your options or forces you to fudge the fact that you are using a mail forwarding address. Some mail forwarding services (like America’s Mailbox in South Dakota and Escapees in Texas) operate their own campgrounds, and you may be able to argue that these are “garageable” addresses.

The Patriot Act requires banks and other financial institutions to have a physical address on file that is not a mail forwarding address. This is a security measure to combat fraud and money laundering. You can still use your mail forwarding address as your mailing address, but it’s a good idea to have the address of a friend or family member to use for your physical address. If you use a mail forwarding address and they find out, you could wake up one day to find that your accounts are frozen.

Note on the above: If you use a physical address that is not in the state where you are claiming domicile, this could cause other issues for you and potentially open you up for a domicile challenge. As we said, there are a lot of factors in play here."
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Old 06-05-2021, 14:52   #11
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Re: Info on how non US citizens can buy an RV

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Australian friends of ours bought an RV and toured much of the US and Canada. Friends let them use their address. Others use the address of the marina where they leave the boat. If you get the license shortly after entering the state, they may accept your British license as proof of knowing how to drive. Just remember to "think right", because we do drive on the other side of the roads, and round abouts are different, too.

Ann
Ann, in other words that would be to say "the proper side of the road", i.e., the starboard side of the traffic channel.
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Old 07-05-2021, 00:09   #12
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Re: Info on how non US citizens can buy an RV

Thanks Ann. We don't have friends in the US or a Marina address. That is why we are asking on this forum for other suggestions. We need to find another way.
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Old 07-05-2021, 04:34   #13
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Re: Info on how non US citizens can buy an RV

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Thanks Ann. We don't have friends in the US or a Marina address. That is why we are asking on this forum for other suggestions. We need to find another way.


Get a PO Box at a ups store. Use the store address as a physical address and the PO Box as your mailing address.

http://www.city-data.com/forum/autom...ess-how-2.html

I would also look at the cost of registering the RV in various states. Being originally from Montana I know how expensive the vehicle registration is there. I would instead opt to register in Texas or Florida.
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Old 07-05-2021, 05:17   #14
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Re: Info on how non US citizens can buy an RV

A week ago I purchased a used camper van in Portland OR and drove it to Colorado where I have a small mountain property that has no mail service. When I registered in Colorado, they requested a physical address which I gave as my cabin, and a mailing address which is a private PO Box (I use St Brendan's Isle out of Florida as they have a good forwarding service). You will need a PO Box to update annual (or in the case of Florida, biannual) registration. Frankly, the clerk didn't seem to care what my address was - she just needed to fill out the forms. I left 10 mins later with a new Colorado title, tags, and registration. I did need to show proof of insurance and have a policeman verify the VIN matched the title.

In short, because vehicle registration is handled by each state, you will likely need some sort of address within the state. Private PO Boxes give a street address so that problem is solved. The only remaining question is whether your UK credentials would trigger a concern. I doubt it, but it might.

Finally, depending on how much you plan to spend, sales tax is levied on a state level. Buying in a low/no tax state could have a large savings attached.

Peter
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Old 07-05-2021, 05:25   #15
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Re: Info on how non US citizens can buy an RV

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As for South America from the US - I don’t think the Darien Gap has been bridged with a road yet. From vague memory of an article I read recently, the ferry cost for vehicles was $$$$$$$.
https://www.drivetheamericas.com/wik...arien-gap-urge
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