Registering a Vehicle

How to own a vehicle in


as a non-US resident

Address requirements
None required.
Identity requirements
A valid, current government-issued photo ID.
Average cost to own a vehicle
9.25% of the vehicle's value
Plus registration fees of:

Presence requirements

The US states, not the national government, control vehicle ownership in the United States.
In order to own a vehicle in any US state, you must establish a presence in that state.
These are the presence requirements to own a vehicle in this state:


California address required to own a vehicle in California.

Proof of Residency at Address

None required.


A valid, current government-issued photo ID.

Cost of owning a vehicle

When you register a vehicle - apply for ownership and permission to drive it on public roads - two costs are due:
  • Sales tax
  • Registration fees
Sales tax and registration fees are due in the state in which the vehicle is registered, not where the vehicle is purchased.
These are the costs to own a vehicle in this state.
Sales tax is due where a vehicle is owned, not where it is bought - so owning a vehicle in Montana can save you hundreds (or thousands) of dollars.

Sales tax (state + local average)

9.25% of the vehicle's value

Registration fees


Inspection Requirements

In order to register a vehicle (or renew a registration in this state, the vehicle must meet the following inspection requirements:
Smog inspections are required when you register or renew registration for a vehicle in California. California DMV personnel must verify the vehicle’s VIN if not previously registered in California. Smog inspection must be current to register vehicle. Smog check required for all out-of-state vehicles.

Want an easier way?

Let register your vehicle in Montana, which has:
• No US driver's license requirement
• No vehicle inspection requirement
• No sales tax (purchase your vehicle in any US state)

Let's Get You on the Road

We make US vehicle ownership easy so you can enjoy your visit.