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Old 15 Jan 2008
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Question Can I buy and ride a bike in US if I'm a tourist

Couple of my friends from Moscow, Russia are planing to visit US as tourists for 4 weeks in Feb-March this year. They plan on buying bikes in The US (don't know what state they will buy them in yet) They want to ship them to California unless they buy them in California and then ride from California to Florida. What are the procedures to transfer ownership, getting temporary license (for how long is it valid) and were and how do they get insurance for this bikes to cover them through their stay in US. Is there an easy way of solving all this problems. I know that in US every state might has it's own rules?
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Old 15 Jan 2008
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It is possible...each state has their own separate rules...California rules will be different than Florida...

The good news is that the hardest part is buying/registering the bike. Selling the bike afterwards is VERY easy...

Pennsylvania is near impossible to buy and register as a foreigner unless you have diplomatic privelege...
93 BMW K75s

Last edited by MotoEdde; 15 Jan 2008 at 20:48.
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Old 15 Jan 2008
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You need an international drivers licence which you can get in Russia. When you buy a bike, you need to register it. This will take a couple of weeks. You need an address for the government to send the registration to. You also need insurance, which is easy to get. Look at craigslist classifieds: jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, events, forums to find a used motorcycle. The SF bay area and Los Angeles sections are particularly good.
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Old 16 Jan 2008
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Thank you for you information, but the thing is that we know all that the problem is we are trying to find out specific uinsruance companies that work with foreign tourist, the companies that will be willing to sell the motorcycle insurance to foreing tourist for a bout a month. The price is a factor, but considering our situation we willing to pay higher premiun. Guys if somebody can tell us specific companies that sell insurance, and maybe companies that can help in buying (title transfer and so on) We would really appreciate your help.
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Old 16 Jan 2008
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Unless you buy from a dealer, you transfer the title at any Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. Every american has been to one, so where ever you are, ask someone where the local DMV is (the person you buy the bike from will know where to go). You just walk in and tell them what you want to do. They give you the forms to fill out and you take a number. An eternity later they call your number and you pay whatever. One thing you need to know is that the registration fee is partly based on sales tax for the vehicle. When they ask how much you paid you should lie. Don't say a dollar, but maybe $300. If they say that's too little, tell them it was crashed and you are restoring it. This will save you a great deal of money. I don't think they will care that you are a forigner as long as you have an international licence, but you need an address to sent the title and registration to. If you are near San Francisco, you can use mine.

Note: in California, you have to have proof of insurance to register a vehicle. You can get insurance over the phone in about ten minutes through Progressive Insurance- Progressive Auto Insurance - Car Insurance Quotes Plus Boat, RV and Motorcycle Insurance Quotes. You can pay with a credit card and they can fax or e-mail the proof of insurance to you right away. If you are used to Russian bureaucracy, this should be a breeze.
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Old 17 Jan 2008
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Here you'd have to buy the insurance for a year. When you sell the bike ... you get a refund on the unused boit of the insurance ... minus costs.

As some one said - get an international drivers permit .. then you will not need to get a local licence in the USA.


For the documents .. if they are going to take a while .. and you probably want to ride away .. have the documents sent on to you (give several addresses at different times .. say a week apart) AND do take copies of reciepts just in case someone askes!
Regards Frank Warner
motorcycles BMW R80 G/S 1981, BMW K11LT 1993, BMW K75 G/S
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