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Buy Your Vehicle


Buying a vehicle in the US as an international visitor can be fun and easy, if you're prepared.

Below are all the things you should know before buying a vehicle in America.

A vehicle's title is its official ownership document

The ownership document for a vehicle is called a title.

A vehicle has one - and only one - title document at a time.

A vehicle's seller will have a title in his or her name. calls this document the prior title, to distinguish it from the title that will be issued to you after your vehicle's registration.

You transfer ownership of a vehicle by signing its title and giving it to the buyer. The buyer registers the vehicle by submitting the title and registration application to the authorities in the US state where the buyer has a presence. That state issues license plates, a registration document, and a new title to the buyer.

The US states, not the national government, issue vehicle titles. Each state's vehicle title looks slightly different.

Examples of vehicle titles from different US states:

A Florida vehicle title
A New York vehicle title
A Texas vehicle title
An Illinois vehicle title
A Tennessee vehicle title
A Michigan vehicle title
A Pennsylvania vehicle title
A South Dakota vehicle title
A South Carolina vehicle title

Signing the paperwork and paying for the vehicle

When you're ready to buy your vehicle, you'll need to sign the seller's paperwork and pay the seller.

Signing the paperwork

Individual seller

If you're buying from an individual seller, they will probably ask you to sign a Bill of Sale, a contract that simply documents the vehicle and its mileage, the buyer, the seller, and the sale price.

Some US states require vehicle sellers to sign an additional document that notifies the state of the change of ownership.

Electronic signatures should work for all individual sales.


Dealerships will likely ask for signatures on multiple documents - a bill of sale, disclaimers, waivers, disclosures, etc.

Many dealerships accept electronic signatures these days, but some still need "wet ink" signatures.

Asking about a dealership's signature requirements - electronic or "wet ink" - early on in the purchase process may save you time and headache.

Paying for the vehicle

Whether you are buying from an individual or a dealership, it makes sense to plan for the payment step, as it might be harder than expected.

Make a payment plan ahead of time. US banks do not use the IBAN system, and payments into or out of the US financial system can take between seven and 14 business days.
Individual seller

Individual sellers will usually accept funds in cash (US dollars), Paypal, Facebook Messenger (if bought on Facebook), or bank transfer.

An individual seller will not release a vehicle or its title (its official ownership document) until receiving payment in full.

Unless you pay for a vehicle in cash in person, there will always be a gap in time between initiating a payment and receiving the vehicle and its title. If you're buying a vehicle remotely, take steps to protect yourself against fraud.

Dealerships accept payment in cash (US dollars) or bank transfer.

Because credit card processors charge merchants (usually 3-4%), and because credit card charges can be reversed, dealers don't usually accept payment via credit card.

Setting up a US bank account

Because payments into the US financial system can be slow and stressful, you should consider setting up a US bank account through a service such as Wise (formerly known as Transferwise) or Revolut.

International banking services like Wise (formerly known as Transferwise) and Revolut allow you to set up a US bank account and a bank account in your home currency, under one umbrella. This can shorten the payment processing time from weeks to days.

If your home currency is the euro, you can transfer funds from your home bank's euro account to your Wise euro account - this domestic transfer will happen very quickly.

Then, transfer funds from your Wise euro account to your Wise US dollar account - this transfer happens instantly.

Finally, you can transfer funds from your Wise US dollar account to the seller - this domestic transfer will take 1-2 business days.

Vehicle's seller signs the prior title

Ownership of a vehicle cannot be transferred until the vehicle's owner completes the necessary steps on the vehicle's title (its official ownership document).

The US states, not the national government, issues vehicle titles, and each state's title is slightly different.

These are the main steps that the seller needs to carry out to transfer ownership of the vehicle to you:

Sign the seller's section of the prior title

Every vehicle title has a seller's section, which lists the requirements for the owner to transfer the vehicle. At a minimum, all owners listed on the vehicle's title must

  • Write his or her name(s) in blue or black ink where indicated, and
  • Sign his or her name(s) in blue or blank ink where indicated.

Complete the odometer disclosure (for vehicles model year 2011 or newer)

If a vehicle is model year 2011 or newer, the seller must list the vehicle's current odometer reading.

Some titles require the owner to sign again to certify the odometer reading.

Notarize the seller's section of the prior title (only for certain US states)

If a vehicle's prior title was issued by any of the following states, the seller's signature must be notarized to transfer ownership of the vehicle:

  • Arizona,
  • Kentucky,
  • Louisiana,
  • Montana,
  • North Carolina,
  • Ohio, or
  • Pennsylvania.

The seller must appear before a licensed notary public, who will verify the seller's identity, witness their signature on the title, and countersign and stamp the title.

Free the vehicle's title of liens (for vehicles with loans against them)

If a bank has loaned a person money to purchase a vehicle, the name of the bank (or other creditor) will be written in the Lien section of the vehicle's title.

A vehicle cannot be transferred to a new owner unless all liens against the vehicle have been satisfied (i.e., paid off).

If a lien is listed on the vehicle's title, the title must be accompanied by a lien release letter, written on the letterhead of the lender, and signed by an authorized representative of the lender.

Submit your vehicle's details on the Dashboard

When you purchase your vehicle, enter its details on the Dashboard.

The Dashboard is your portal to view all items related to your vehicle - its title, license plates, registration, and more.
Submit your vehicle's details on the Dashboard

Sending your vehicle's prior title to

In order to transfer ownership to you, the vehicle's prior title must be submitted for registration.

Only original titles - not photocopies or images - are valid documents.

When you enter your vehicle's details into the Dashboard, we automatically generate a Fedex shipping label to send your vehicle's Prior Title to

Using your Fedex shipping label to send your vehicle's prior title to emails you a Fedex shipping label
Print the shipping label and insert it in the pouch of a Fedex envelope (printer and envelopes can be found at any Fedex Office location)
Enclose your prior title in the envelope and drop envelope in a Fedex dropbox

If the vehicle's seller hands you the vehicle's title, you can visit any Fedex Office location and use this shipping label to send your vehicle's title to for registration.

If you cannot physically accept the vehicle's title, simply forward this shipping label to the seller, and they can use it to send your vehicle's title to for registration.


Vehicle ownership in the US is determined by the vehicle's title - you need this document from the seller to actually own the vehicle.

Make a plan to pay for the vehicle ahead of time, as it may be more difficult than you expect.

Make sure the vehicle's seller properly signs the vehicle's prior title.

When you submit your vehicle's details on the Dashboard, will generate a Fedex shipping label for you.

Use the Fedex shipping label to send the vehicle's prior title to, and we'll register your vehicle to your Montana LLC.

Next steps

You're on Step 2 of 5: Buy your vehicle.

Read on to learn Step 3 of 5: Register your vehicle.

US vehicle ownership made easy

Let the experts at handle your US vehicle admin.


Answers to common questions about buying a vehicle in the US as an international visitor.

Have a question that's not listed here?

How will my vehicle be stored before my arrival?

Dealer vehicle inventories are near historical low levels - they don't have a lot of vehicles on their lots right now.

This means there's plenty of storage space.

Dealers are generally happy to keep a vehicle for you for a few weeks until you can come pick it up.

If I'm buying a vehicle with my Montana Limited Liability Company, does my LLC need a bank account?


It's quite common for a parent to buy a vehicle for a child, for example. In this case, the name of the vehicle's owner doesn't match the name of the person paying for the vehicle.

For reasons like this, dealers don't require that the name of the vehicle's new owner (your LLC) matches the name of the vehicle's payor (you).

Therefore, setting up a bank account for your LLC is not necessary to buy a vehicle in the LLC's name.

I found a vehicle that I want to buy, but the dealer won't respond. What do I do?

Most dealers are set up to sell vehicles to the local community. When someone from overseas inquires about a vehicle, dealers often don't know how to handle the sale.

If this happens to you, vehicle brokerage from can help.

We pick up the phone, give the seller our dealer's license number, and tell the salesperson that we're ready to make a deal. Dealers know exactly how to handle this type of sale. buys the vehicle from the dealer and sells it immediately to you - it's as easy as that.

Can you register a vehicle that I buy in Canada?

In order to register a Canadian vehicle in the United States, it needs to be imported into the US, and then registered in a US state.

The process for importing a vehicle into the US from Canada must at a US Port of Entry.

You must demonstrate that 1) you own the vehicle, and 2) that the vehicle conforms to US emissions and safety standards by completing and submitting forms DOT Form HS-7 and EPA Form 3520-1. After paying applicable duties, you must complete and submit CBP Form 7501.

In order to register your vehicle in a US state, you must bring proof of ownership, your stamped CBP Form 7501, and your presence and identity documents required by the state in which you wish to register your vehicle to that state's DMV.

All US states require an inspection by an authorized official to ensure that the Vehicle Identification Number on the vehicle's paperwork matches the Vehicle Identification Number on the vehicle's chassis. This must be done by an official authorized by the state where you wish to register your vehicle - in other words, the vehicle has to come to the state in which you wish to register your vehicle.

Buy a vehicle in America, even if you're just visiting.

How it works

Five easy steps

1. Create your Montana presence

Your Montana LLC is the presence that allows you to own a vehicle in the US.

Tax-free vehicle registration.

US driver's license not required.

Vehicle never has to come to Montana.

2. Buy your vehicle

Buy any vehicle for sale in America.

New or used.

Car, motorhome, motorbike, van - anything you want!

Vehicle never has to come to Montana.

You are here.

3. Register your vehicle registers your vehicle in Montana.

Temporary registration emailed to you within one business day.

License plates, registration, and title couriered to you en route.

4. Insure your vehicle

Policies available from top-rated insurance companies that don't require a US driver license.

5. Sell, keep, or export your vehicle

It's your vehicle - do whatever you want with it at the end of your visit!

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Bozeman, Montana 59715

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