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6 Essential Things You Need to Know About Buying a Car and License

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5th May 2021

Owning a car is a good option for people living in the U.S. Even if you don’t have a car, there could be a tipping point when you will need it. 

For most Americans, buying a car is a big purchase. If you have found your dream car and are ready to make the purchase, it’s important to get the best deal possible. However, navigating the financing and negotiating of a car purchase can be complicated. Let’s look at a few things you should consider if you are shopping for a car:

1. Choosing a good dealer

The first thing to do before buying a car is to choose a good dealer. It will be useful to make a list of dealer addresses where you can go to find the right car. It is worth giving preference to organizations whose prices are fixed, excluding the possibility of bargaining. As a rule, they provide a one hundred percent guarantee for a month - if a defect is found in the purchased car, it will have to be quick and free of charge fixed. 

2. Payment and required documents

To buy a car, you must have an SSN. Formally, it is possible to buy a car without this document, but it will not be possible to get insurance. Car insurance is compulsory. If the owner does not purchase insurance, then they are not entitled to use the car.

The payment method depends on where and from whom the car is purchased. If the seller is an individual from an ad site or a small car dealership, then you can pay in cash. Large dealers usually don’t take cash. 

In most cases, payment is made by bank check. If the buyer's checkbook is temporary, the payment might not be accepted. 

It may be unprofitable to pay for the purchase with a bank card of another country, and even more so with an account in foreign currency tied to it. First, American banks may find the transfer amount too large and might be suspicious and block the transaction. Second, the commissions for such operations and conversion of a large amount are usually very high.

Depending on the state, the rules related to the documents required for such a transaction might differ slightly, so it’s best to check all the information in advance exactly at the actual place of stay.

3. Additional costs: insurance and taxes

You’ll have to pay sales tax and consider the cost of re-registering the car and its number plate, as well as take out insurance. The cost of insurance depends on:

  • car model
  • driving license history
  • driving experience
  • the rates of the insurance company.

Usually, the first installment is no more than $ 180. Further, as soon as the foreign driver's license will be replaced by local, you will have to pay 40 dollars less.

4. Annual re-registration

Every year, you will need to go through a re-registration procedure and car inspection. It costs about 50-60 dollars, the transport tax is already included in this amount.

5. License

A driver's license is issued by the authorities of the state in which the person lives. Granting agencies have different names in different states. For example, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Motor Vehicle Administration is the Department of Motor Vehicles, or the Department of Public Safety is the Department of Public Safety. State-specific information can be found here.

To obtain a driver's license, you will have to visit one of the DMV centers, where you need to fill out an application, pay an exam fee and pass all tests (theory and practical driving skills). Holders of an international driving license will only need to pass the theoretical part of the exam. Those who get a license for the first time, after passing the theoretical test, receive a temporary driver's license (Learner’spermit). It gives the right to drive a car, but with many exceptions and restrictions. But this document will help you develop driving skills and prepare for the practical part of the exam.

At the DMV Center, prospective drivers will also be asked to be checked by an ophthalmologist and to be fingerprinted.

To get a license, you must have an SSN. An exception is F-1 student visa holders, which are not subject to Social Security Number. In this case, the student in this case, in order to obtain the rights, must provide a certificate to the DMV office confirming his status and the absence of the need to have an SSN.

6. Auto loan and leasing

Leasing a car for a fixed period is a quite costly option. This includes an initial payment of about $ 200, monthly lease payments, and penalties for their late completion. In addition, all other costs associated with the operation of the car you should pay for as well. These include monthly payments for insurance, registration of the car with government agencies, annual re-registration, various technical inspections, and state tax.

Nonresident aliens need a surety from a citizen of a country with a good credit history in order to be able to lease or loan a car.