overseas visitors registering RV's

Good morning America, I am in New Zealand and am in the process of buying a '88 minnie winnie in Ca. I'm doing my home work and have found out that, as I have no address in the US I can register in any of the following....SD, Florida, Oregon or Texas.by using a mail forwarding company.
Which is the best [easiest, cheapest, less hassle ] There is a pretty good chance I will not qualify for an American licence [no ss number]
I will be in the US for about 6 months every year [until I have run out of road]Also do I have to do the change of ownership in Ca [expensive] or can I do it in one of the above states.
The sale should complete in a week or two, but I wont be in the states for about 8/10 weeks.
I think with Oregon I can change ownership on line with certified vin number.
Would really appreciate all advice, please remember, laws regarding motor vehicles are probably different for tourists.
Many thanks,
Re: overseas visitors registering RV's

Thanks Kirk,
Well I have been spending a lot of time researching this and escapees does look good. Is there much difference in cost [title,registration etc] between, Florida ,SD. Oregon and Texas.
The other big question is, will I have to turn up in person or can this [reg , title] be done on line or via snail mail.
The problem that I have is Minnie Winnie is in Ca, I am in New Zealand . I will be in CA mid September- mid October {wedding and a bit of Camping with mates. ]Then wont be over again till about April/May 2010 [for about 6 months] and every year from then on.
A flying trip to Texas for the sole purpose of Reg and Title could work out expensive.
If you are still in touch with your Aussie mates it would be great if I could get in touch with them.
Many thanks
Re: overseas visitors registering RV's

Hi Len,
Thanks for the info. I have actually called [Skype] a few DMV's and nobody really knows for sure what the ruling is. In theory I need an SS No but of course I am not eligible for one as I am traveling on a tourist Visa. Good Sams offer a mail forwarding service in Pensacola Fl. that they say works fine for people in my position. Escapees say that I would need a drivers licence [and of course an SS No] SD. say a licence. I think Florida is probably more used to this type of dilemma, so would probably be easier, but as I said to Kirk, if I have to travel across the US just to do title and reg, then its not really cost affective. The Minnie Winnie is not that expensive, I'm wondering if I would be better to stick with Ca plates.
I think pretty much whatever I do it will involve some sort of "white lie" about my address [which I would sooner avoid] but it does appear that the US is not that well geared up for tourists buying RV's I would appreciate any advice from any one.
The difficult takes time, the impossible a little longer.
Thanks folks,
I'm getting excited about this US travel. :)


Senior Member
Re: overseas visitors registering RV's

What would happen if you lic in NZ. My insurance was good there on rental cars so I would think your insurance would be good here. Dealer could mail you the title and you could get the plates or you could run on the state side plates or temp permit until you could get plates.

Re: overseas visitors registering RV's

OK Texas clodhopper, can you explain this to me. Every non American who owns and drives an RV in the USA must be breaking the law, because if you are on a tourist visa, you are not eligible to have residence in the USA, ergo ,no residence, no title no registration. So I guess what you are telling me is that every non American who owns a vehicle in the USA is a lair!!!!!!
Re: overseas visitors registering RV's

Hi Len,
It wouldn't be possible to licence the vehicle in NZ without importing it and going through all the rigmarole that is involved. NZ has really tough bio security levels, along with every thing else, then it would have to be re exported to the US.
My drivers licence is valid in all of the states, insurance is not a problem, as a commercial item, you will always find someone to insure you as long as you pay.
The stumbling block is to change title and register you need to be resident in the state that you choose to register in. To become a resident in a state you need a residency visa, and I guess half of the world would like a USA residency visa.
Good Sams say that it is legal to use their mail forwarding in FL as an address.
But can FL title and reg be done out of State.
I'm going to give FL DMV a call when they open.
I don't agree with Texas clodhopper that every non American RV owner is a lair.
There has got to be a way but its just a matter of finding it.
What are state side plates or temp permit , this is something that I haven't come across yet.
Thanks for your positive efforts, much appreciated.
Florimondo :) :)
Re: overseas visitors registering RV's

I didn't call anyone a "lair", Chris. You're the one that posted that you would lie to get a driver's license here in the USA.

I suggest that if you don't want to get crosswise with the laws of the USA, then you should contact our Department of Homeland Security and ask them how to obtain a vehicle and drive it legally here in the USA.

There's no way in hell that I would go to your country and tell a lie to get to do whatever I wanted to do just because I wanted to do it.

I would be insulting YOUR rule of law as you are contemplating insulting ours.

You're welcome to come here and visit, but do it legally and we'll all get along a lot better. (Especially if you crash into one of us, and we have to find you to collect the damages.)
Re: overseas visitors registering RV's

Its not my intention to come on a crime wave as you seem to suggest, rather I started this forum to discuss how people deal with this problem.
Every non American that I know uses a friends address when they register their RV, this works but strictly speaking is not legal, I am trying to explore legal ways via this forum and people like Len and Kirk are being helpful, whereas people like you are adopting a holier than thou attitude.
If you have never told a white lie, I would guess that you would be the first person that I have ever met that I could put in that category.
If you want to help this forum move forward may I suggest you ask the English man who you share a web site with how he registers his 5th wheel.
Who knows maybe he uses your address.
You know if you visited my country and you were walking around and you saw an old person struggling with there trash can and you helped them, technically you would be breaking the law, as your visa would state categorically that you are not allowed to engage in work, paid or otherwise.
So as you are so strong on law and order I guess that you would see them struggle, me I would say to hell with it I'll give them a hand.


Senior Member
Re: overseas visitors registering RV's

Oh Boy is right! Well florimondo I hope you got all the answers you needed. Don't think anybody will be to quick to help you now. Tex is a very well respected member and friend to a lot of us. Go back and read your own post and tell us what got your panties in a wad!
Re: overseas visitors registering RV's

If I offended then I apologies.
My point is that I started this forum to get information on a point that effects a lot of visitors. I felt that Len and Kirk were trying to be helpful and that Tex was calling me a liar, naturally I was offended. It happens that Tex shares a web site with an Englishman who owns a 5th wheeler, that being the case I feel that he could have offered some positive information instead of calling me a liar.
Re: overseas visitors registering RV's

florimondo - 7/11/2009 7:10 PM ... I think pretty much whatever I do it will involve some sort of "white lie" about my address [which I would sooner avoid] but it does appear that the US is not that well geared up for tourists buying RV's ...
If you can quote from my posts where I called you a "lair", I would like to see it.

You might try going to some government officials for your solution as there is no one on an RV forum that can change the legal requirements for getting a driver's license in the USA. Most of us got our licenses when we were kids. Perhaps a forum in your own country would have better information.


Senior Member
Re: overseas visitors registering RV's


Have you read the page that I sent the link to? Escapees does not say that you need a social security number, and neither does the State of Texas. But you must have a legal address in the US in order to register/license the RV and to buy an insurance policy on it, which you are required to have in order to drive the highways here. The page that I referenced is written by a citizen of Australia and on my website is another by a citizen of the UK, both of whom own RVs that are legally registered and insured in Texas with an address from Escapees and neither of them have a Social Security number.

If you wish to send me a private message with your email address, I will gladly put you in contact with the authors of both of those pages and they are always happy to help others who wish to do as they have done.

The reason that Texas, Florida and South Dakota are popular with RV folks are the fact that none have any state income tax, (which would not effect you) and that none of they require you to actually live in the state to qualify for a legal domicile, which is what you are looking for. In addition, if you do not have a real address in the USA, then you will not receive notification when it is time to renew the vehicle registration or the bill for insurance. Also, any insurance that you buy with a fictitious address will not be valid and in the event of an accident it probably would not pay off.

I strongly suggest that you make contact with the two people who's help I am offering since they are doing exactly what you wish to do. We who live here can't tell you what you will need other than in general terms since it is different for citizens of other countries than for we who live here. But my friends Bruce from Australia and Keith from UK both own RVs here in the US and have done so now for several years. Both know what is required and have been doing so for some time. Both have legal address with Escapees RV club and have vehicles (two each) which are registered in Polk County, Texas. Either one or both will help if you contact them.
Re: overseas visitors registering RV's

OK I have gotten quite a lot of information.
The one thing that I have found out is that a lot of Govt agency's aren't to sure of the legislation.
I recently spoke to an operative at DMV CA. who assured me that I could register in CA using a PMB address, I asked him to double check, he asked his manager and re affirmed.
This in fact is not correct, if you look at the forms it states categorically that you must have a street address.
Oregon states that you can register in Oregon without being a resident as long as you can prove that you are full timer. I phoned Oregon DMV but no one was able to comment on that.
South Dakota, allows PMB as legal address, but you have to visit in person and have a SD licence.
Escapees, Texas informed me that I would need to register in person and get a TX licence.
Florida seemed the easiest and most user friendly. Good Sam's have a mail forwarding in Pensicola, FL DMV are happy to use this for title and registration, everything can be done out of state, and 100% legit so I am told.
I haven't actually done it yet as I am still waiting on insurance quotes, but will up date if there are any hic cups.
Thanks to all for your help, much appreciated.
Tex I'm truly sorry we got off to a bad start, I take full responsibility. If I see you on the trail the beers are on me.
Thanks again. :) :)