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Author Topic: Brits looking for advice on registering an RV in the US.  (Read 829 times)

St3ve0

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Brits looking for advice on registering an RV in the US.
« on: September 27, 2017, 01:29:13 AM »
We are a couple of Brits looking to buy a small used RV and tour the USA in 3-6 month trips over a period of several years. I understand we need an address in the US to register the rig and for insurance purposes. Is there anyone who has gone through this process - preferably in the last few years - and can advise how they achieved this?

There seem to be two options: Something like the Escapees mailbox service looks interesting but we're not sure if that's all we need for our purposes, alternatively, another Brit we know has a Montana LCC for his rig. This seems expensive and overly complex for someone who is not resident in the US.

South Dakota seems a good option to register a vehicle having zero sales tax - would we actually have to go there and/or take delivery of the vehicle there?

We have international (UK) drivers licenses and I'm fairly sure we don't need US drivers licenses. I've hired cars in the US without a problem. Any advice on this would be appreciated too.

Thanks

Steve & Emma
« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 01:43:11 AM by St3ve0 »

Dreamsend

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Re: Brits looking for advice on registering an RV in the US.
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2017, 05:00:45 AM »
One slight correction, South Dakota has a 4.5 % sales tax rate.  (see below) Still a good deal compared to most states however.  As far as having to take delivery in SD and thereby getting its rate, it depends on the state where you buy the RV.  Most states I think allow you to purchase and then pay tax in the registration state, but not all.  Your RV dealer in the purchase state can tell you what that state's requirements are so you may have to check around.

http://dor.sd.gov/Taxes/Business_Taxes/HB1182.aspx
Linda with kitty Sara
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Tom

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Re: Brits looking for advice on registering an RV in the US.
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2017, 07:56:43 AM »
Quote
We have international (UK) drivers licenses and I'm fairly sure we don't need US drivers licenses.

One caveat - some states (e.g. California) explicitly do not recognize the international drivers license/permit, but your UK license is still good. So, be sure to bring both.
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Brits looking for advice on registering an RV in the US.
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2017, 08:42:31 AM »
Be aware the each US state sets their own rules for vehicle titles and registration, so the requirements of one state may differ from another. Generally, though, for vehicle documentation the states typically require only a reliable mailing address. It's US driving licenses that have more stringent rules on what constitutes a valid address.

In any case, check the rules for the state where you expect to title & register the RV.

Many visitors to the US buy their southwest RV in Florida at large dealers like LazyDays in Tampa and North Trail in Ft Meyers. The staff in places like that know all the ins & outs of paperwork and insurance for folks like yourself. Further, their selection is huge and their sales staff quite professional. [Those aren't the only ones - just a couple prime examples.]
Gary
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Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

didicoy

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Re: Brits looking for advice on registering an RV in the US.
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2018, 12:11:02 PM »
Hi guys I'm just about to do this any updates please

Tom

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Re: Brits looking for advice on registering an RV in the US.
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2018, 12:31:10 PM »
Any updates would be on the respective state DMV (Dept of Motor Vehicles) web site. We don't attempt to keep track of the registration requirements in all 50 states. I see from your other message that you plan to register in Texas. Maybe one of our TX-based members will chime in with any updates they're aware of.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 12:32:55 PM by Tom »
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Murray

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Re: Brits looking for advice on registering an RV in the US.
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2018, 08:51:58 AM »
Steve and Emma,
We are just doing exactly the same, so haven't finished the process yet.
Our plan now is to buy a vehicle which is currently in Arizona but we want to be based in Nevada so we can fly into Vegas. We will use a UPSstore mail forwarding address for the registration.
The state you register a new vehicle is where you pay the sales tax, I don't know about used though - if you google DMV you get a private website which seems well informed and easy to navigate as well as each states own DMV page (which may not be so easy). Arizona/Nevada have a reciprocal agreement for sales tax, you get a refund or pay the extra rather than paying in full twice and getting a refund.
Texas has a couple of other mail forwarding addresses - usa2me is cheap in Houston, but read up how to set it up in full before you commit.
To register for the first time in Nevada you have to physically attend the DMV and they check the VIN on the vehicle matches the registration document.
Check out the registration fees carefully, they look like $20 at first glance, then you see a Vehicle use tax or some other name which is based on various things depending on the state and works out for us to around $1500.

Having sorted that, you need insurance. Good Sam has a broker who state that only Foremost Insurance cover international drivers staying for less than 6 months, which is your limit on a B2 visa, so restricts your choice. They like to use the storage address as that's where the vehicle is 'garaged'. We contacted a few storage places which were full, the two with spaces need a US address (and tel no for U-Haul) and one needs you to physically be there to sign the contract with ID to finalise the space. Luckily I have a cousin in Texas who has agreed to allow us to use theirs for the interim until we get the UPS.
Insurance has to be written by a company licenced in the state you register the vehicle in.

Everyone says you need an International Drivers licence, which you can get from the RAC/AA for a small fee. Its just a translation into several languages though. We've had to produce licences a couple of times (whoops) and never been asked for it.

If anyone reads this and thinks 'that's not right', please let me know cos we're almost committed!

Many thanks to Jackie who gave me some of the above info a couple of weeks ago!

Good luck!
Murray

jackiemac

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Re: Brits looking for advice on registering an RV in the US.
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2018, 01:11:40 PM »
We got International Driving Licences from the Post Office (has to be a main office) for I think 10 or 20 each and they only last for 1 year.  We were stopped once by the police and Steve just gave the officer his normal UK licence - that was in Washington State. I am not sure that anyone would reject your official licence over the International one.

You need to be careful of your licence restrictions, as our licences are old we can legally tow the trailer we have.  Check the back of your licence and look on the DVLA website to ensure you are OK.  Newer licences are more restrictive.  I could not believe we could drive a 54ft long rig with no test but we can, even in the UK!

I had great success emailing questions to the Nevada DMV, there is a website that is not the government one which has info but is not the real thing, use link below to go into the states you are interested in and check out the regulations, or email them to ask.

https://www.dmvusa.com/

We did not want to do anything which could potentially undermine our Visa status so we chose the State we knew we would be in most (Nevada because we store rig here and fly in and out) and just took the hit on the registration and sales tax.  Nevada is a very friendly state for tourists and we had a great experience with the DMV office in Vegas, although they took a bunch of our money.

We had to have the truck inspected first time round for the VIN check but since then we can do the registration online until we need the smog check which will be next year (3 year old truck).  I believe you can get an agent to file the paperwork for you but they have to go in person to the office.  Not sure how this works with a motorhome but expect it will be similar (in Nevada).

I must admit I did spend time trying to get my head around all the different rules and regulations and requirements for other states but found some of the information on various sites and forums confusing and conflicting, particularly about setting up an LLC.  However, we met a couple from Australia a few weeks ago who have done this and they are happy with it and do not anticipate any issues because they are not American so this might be a route to go down.   You need to work the numbers I guess.

I believe some states need proof of residency too and this requires a bill of some kind in your name with the address, not just an address like a PO Box.... 

Lots of homework required depending on where you choose to register etc.

Good luck
Jackie n Steve - Happy Scottish Travellers

2017 Heartland Sundance 288rls
2016 Dodge Ram 2500 6.4L Hemi

Travelling in US until 30th October 2018

Lou Schneider

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Re: Brits looking for advice on registering an RV in the US.
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2018, 01:30:03 PM »
Most states do not require residency for vehicle registration, the qualifying criteria is that the vehicle is "garaged" or normally kept in the state.  This will also be reflected on your vehicle insurance policy which will be issued based on the "garage" address and is usually required before you can register the vehicle.

Where residency does come into play is if you apply for a state drivers license.  The length of time needed to qualify as a resident varies from state to state.  South Dakota is popular with fulltimers because they only require a single night spent in a motel or RV park in the state to qualify for residency.  Most other states require 30 days or more to qualify as a resident and may require other supporting documentation such as a utility bill or a bank statement with your in-state address on it.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 01:34:32 PM by Lou Schneider »

jackiemac

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Re: Brits looking for advice on registering an RV in the US.
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2018, 01:34:28 PM »
Most states do not require residency for vehicle registration, the qualifying criteria is that the vehicle is "garaged" or normally kept in the state.  This will also be reflected on your vehicle insurance policy which will be issued based on the "garage" address and is usually required before you can register the vehicle.

Where residency does come into play is if you apply for a state drivers license.  The length of time needed to qualify as a resident varies state to state, with South Dakota only requiring a receipt for one night's stay in a motel or RV park, up to a receipt for 30 days stay and other things like a utility bill or bank statement with your in-state address on it in most other states.
Thanks Lou, I know that I saw this for some things when doing my research but cannot recall exactly why it was required. I wasn't researching drivers license though so it was something to do with the registration or perhaps the LLC.....  I just mentioned it as something to check.  I don't want to confuse folk with erroneous info.

As I said everyone needs to do their own specific research for their combination of requirements and I guess things change with time too.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2018, 01:39:52 PM by jackiemac »
Jackie n Steve - Happy Scottish Travellers

2017 Heartland Sundance 288rls
2016 Dodge Ram 2500 6.4L Hemi

Travelling in US until 30th October 2018

Tom

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Re: Brits looking for advice on registering an RV in the US.
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2018, 03:04:24 PM »
Quote from: jackiemac
We got International Driving Licences from the Post Office (has to be a main office) for I think 10 or 20 each and they only last for 1 year.  We were stopped once by the police and Steve just gave the officer his normal UK licence - that was in Washington State. I am not sure that anyone would reject your official licence over the International one.


More like the other way around; Many states don't recognize an 'international driving licence' because it's not a licence per se, just a 'translation' of your home licence. California specifically mentions on their web site that they don't recognize an international driving licence/permit.

We drove on our UK licences prior to taking the CA driving test within the specified number of days, and I was waiting/hoping to be stopped; I really wanted to see the officer's face when I handed over my UK licence back side up (all in Welsh).
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jackiemac

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Re: Brits looking for advice on registering an RV in the US.
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2018, 12:59:06 AM »


More like the other way around; Many states don't recognize an 'international driving licence' because it's not a licence per se, just a 'translation' of your home licence. California specifically mentions on their web site that they don't recognize an international driving licence/permit.

We drove on our UK licences prior to taking the CA driving test within the specified number of days, and I was waiting/hoping to be stopped; I really wanted to see the officer's face when I handed over my UK licence back side up (all in Welsh).

Yes I meant that, I think the "International" one is just a waste of money.  We didn't bother again.  I've probably just jinxed us!

That Welsh one would have been really funny Tom  ;D
Jackie n Steve - Happy Scottish Travellers

2017 Heartland Sundance 288rls
2016 Dodge Ram 2500 6.4L Hemi

Travelling in US until 30th October 2018

Tom

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Re: Brits looking for advice on registering an RV in the US.
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2018, 06:26:39 AM »
Quote from: jackiemac
That Welsh one would have been really funny Tom


Aye, it was the old A4 type/size licence with English on one side and Welsh on the other. Thank the folks who went to jail in the 60's to help revive the language and force things like dual language road signs.

Tesco supermarkets also have their welcome signs in two languages  ;D
« Last Edit: October 14, 2018, 06:49:21 AM by Tom »
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jackiemac

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Re: Brits looking for advice on registering an RV in the US.
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2018, 04:08:28 PM »


Aye, it was the old A4 type/size licence with English on one side and Welsh on the other. Thank the folks who went to jail in the 60's to help revive the language and force things like dual language road signs.

Tesco supermarkets also have their welcome signs in two languages  ;D
Scotland are doing it in Gaelic now too. I'm not sure how many Scots speak it though, probably very few....
Jackie n Steve - Happy Scottish Travellers

2017 Heartland Sundance 288rls
2016 Dodge Ram 2500 6.4L Hemi

Travelling in US until 30th October 2018