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  #1  
Old 24 Apr 2012
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Buying a Motorbike in USA

Hi
I am an Australian who works in Pennsylvania every year for about 4 months.
I am hoping to buy a harley this May and ridding across america in september when i have finished work. I have done a lot of touring on Push Bikes over the years through Europe America Asia but this is my first time on try it on a motorbike. I have an australian Motorbike license.
So i have been searching the internet for awhile to try to find out what i need to do to simply buy a bike in Pennsylvania or New York and everyone makes it out to be so complicated and no one can seem to give a straight answer.
My question is in 2012 How to I go about buying a bike what do i need to do.
I plan on being in America for about 4 months if this makes any difference.
I have a SS number I have american Bank Acc I don't really have prof of Address but i do have a permeant address while working. I have a J1 Visa.
Please can any one point me in the right direction on what i need to do.
Thanks
Dylan
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  #2  
Old 24 Apr 2012
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Dylan,

There isn't that much to tell. All you do is walk in and buy the bike, transfer the title, get registration and insurance, same as you would do in Oz.

A foreigner can easily buy a bike in the US, many people do it every year. One issue to be aware of is that you have to have an address to which the title will be sent. The time that it takes for this to be forwarded varies from state to state so look it up for the states you are considering on purchasing the bike in. While you are at it, look around at neighboring states to see what the state tax on motorcycles is as this adds to the overall purchase cost.

In regards to insurance, check out progressive.com.

Only otehr thing that you may want to look up is whether or not you require getting a US drivers license based on your visa status. For foreigners travelling through, no need but since you have visa and will be staying for a while, this may be a requirement. Look up the DMV for the state in which you will be working.
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  #3  
Old 24 Apr 2012
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The part Mountain Man left out is that you need to check purchase and registration requirements in the specific state where you'll be buying. In some states, as a nonresident you will NOT be able to do what you propose. In other states it's easy (with a local address).

Google up the registration requirements for Pennsylvania and New York (and Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey just for the hell of it). You'll end up a sites like this one: Motor Vehicle Information Center. Read carefully. Act accordingly.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark
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  #4  
Old 25 Apr 2012
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Foreigner buying bike in either PA or NY

thanks moutainman and mark for getting back to me
I really do hope it is as easy as you say it is moutainman but i have a a feeling in PA and NY it is a little harder then that for a foreigner to do (i hope I'm wrong) I have been searching the DMV website and as for any government website it is not easy to find what you want. So if any one has done this in either PA or NY i would love to hear how it went and what i need to do. Im leaving for america in about 3 weeks and i am going to make this work some how.
Thanks dylan
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  #5  
Old 25 Apr 2012
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I took a quick look at the Penn. site, and it looks like you can't do it without a Penn. license or ID card. I didn't look any further, but you might: for example, with your visa, address and job can you get a Penn. license? With a local license you can probably insure and register a bike. Note, however, my use of the word "probably."

There are certainly states where this can be easily done, but the ones I know of are not near you--Florida, Montana, Washington, California. If you get stuck, give that some thought.

On the other hand, it's not necessary to actually own the bike in order to ride cross country. Someone else could own it--just make sure you're covered by whatever insurance applies, and come to whatever arrangement you like with the (actual or paper) owner. This part would work differently if you wanted to sell the bike or take it into Mexico or Central America.

Good luck.

Mark
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  #6  
Old 25 Apr 2012
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Ah yes, the dreaded state by state rules. I can't speak for NY but have bought a bike in Illinois (Chicago) as a foreigner (Canadian) no problems. You may also want to try Ohio, I registered the bike there, again no problems. If you do get some questions about a non local license, your story is that you have just arrived and have yet to put all that into place. Worked for me!
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  #7  
Old 25 Apr 2012
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Hi Dylan,

I'm not sure about your particular driving licence being valid but just to let you know I did it without problem in 2008. I bought a 1982 Honda on ebay (from the comfort of my chair in the UK) and was in a similar position to yourself. Could I register / insure it as I couldn't find any details on the www. Anyway, I got myself to Alpena, Michigan (A fantastic place and great people), saw the bike, insured the bike and registered it at the DMV next door (all within a couple of hours). It was easy (fortunately) but all states are different. I used a friend's place in San Diego as my official address. I hope this helps and good luck!

Simon
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  #8  
Old 30 Apr 2012
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buy it in Maryland.

go to the post office in MD get a PO Box and get the tittle sent to this box. You should be able to register your bike with your foreign license and passport over there and it is not too far from PA
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  #9  
Old 30 Apr 2012
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Hi Everyone
Thanks so much for all the info it has been a great help
I sent an email to the NY DMV and this is what they replied


Dear Customer,

Please see the list provided in the link. As long as you can provide 6 points of ID ( including your passport and eithe a social security number or a letter from social security that you do not qualify for a number) you can register a vehicle here in the US. You will also need to provide NY based insurance proof as well as the title and bill of sale for the vehicle. This can all be done in one visit.

Thank you

http://www.dmv.ny.gov/forms/id44.pdf

jtd


So I can provide 6 points of ID so no problem with the DMV in New York that is.
The only thing I need now is insurance from a new york based Insurance company I am assuming that progressive will fall under this.

Or if anyone knows of another insurance company that will give insurance to a foreigner i would love to know.

I hope this helps other people out there.
Thanks
Dylan
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  #10  
Old 5 May 2012
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Location: Eumundi, AUS
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As an Aussie I bought 2 bikes 2 years ago in the US.

As the others have said its pretty straight forward but a local address is required. I used a mate's.

PS: If you'd like a BMW F650GS in California instead of a harley in Penn then please drop me a line or checkout my sales page San Francisco Motorcycle
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