Sell a vehicle

How to sell a vehicle in the US as a non US-resident

A buyer and a seller signing a purchase and sale agreement for a vehicle.


All good things must come to an end.

If you buy a vehicle in the United States, and don't plan to export it, you will likely sell it at some point in the future.

This is an article about selling a vehicle in the US, written for travelers, tourists, travelers, foreigners - anyone who doesn't live in the US, but wants to own (and eventually sell) a vehicle here.

If you want to learn about finding a buyer for your vehicle, check out our guide, How to find a buyer for a vehicle as a non-US resident.

There are five things to consider when planning a vehicle sale in the United States:

  • The vehicle's title,
  • Receiving the money,
  • Handing over the vehicle,
  • The bill of sale, where required, and
  • Making sure you're not charged for the buyer's tickets and tolls.

Let's get started.

How are you going to register your vehicle?

Buying a vehicle is the easy part. But how are you going to register it?

Vehicle registration is done by the US states, not the national government.

Let register your vehicle in the best US state.

The vehicle's title

A vehicle's title is its official ownership document. Transfer of ownership is not complete until the title is "assigned" to the new owner.

"Assignment" is the term for releasing your ownership interest in a vehicle.

Vehicles in the US are owned at the state level, not the national level, and each state has a slightly different process for assigning a vehicle's title to a new owner.

If registers your vehicle, your vehicle will be titled in the US state of Montana.

Vehicle title example

Let's look at an example of a Montana vehicle title:

Example of a Montana vehicle title
Example of a Montana vehicle title


If you want to assign a Montana-titled vehicle to an individual, your first step is to bring the vehicle's title to a "Notary Public." More on that below.

If you want to assign a Montana-titled vehicle to a licensed dealership, notarization is not required, so you can skip over this section.

Note the section of the title that says "Notary." A notary public is state-appointed official that verifies identities and serves as a witness to signatures on important documents.

In order to assign your title, a notary public must sign and stamp the title. The notary will only do this after verifying your identity and witnessing your signature on the document.

So when in front of a notary, all owners must sign in the subsection labeled "All owners must sign" within the section labeled "Seller completes in ink."

The notary is witnessing your release of your ownership interest in the vehicle, not the new owner's assumption of ownership interest in the vehicle. So the new owner does not have to be present when you notarize your title.

After you sign the title, and the notary public signs and stamps it, your vehicle belongs to either:

  • The person listed as the Buyer in the section labeled "Seller Completes In Ink," OR
  • If the Buyer in the section labeled "Seller Completes In Ink" is empty, the vehicle belongs to the person who physically holds the vehicle's title.

So, if you choose to leave the Buyer's section blank after notarization, be very careful with your vehicle's title.

Odometer disclosure

For vehicles 2010 or newer, the current owner must disclose the current odometer reading.

Signing as a company owner

Finally, if registers your vehicle, it will be registered to a Montana Limited Liability Company (LLC). Owners of a company should sign a vehicle's title as follows:

      Signature: Example LLC by John Doe, president

      (where the italics are the owner's signature)

      Printed name: Example LLC by John Doe, president

Now that we've covered the document portion of a vehicle sale, let's talk about the money.

How does 0% sales tax sound?

In the US, you pay sales tax where you register a vehicle, not where you buy it.

Let register your vehicle in Montana, where sales tax is 0%.

Your vehicle never has to come to Montana.

Receiving the money

If you're selling a vehicle, receiving the money is usually the most important step of the process.

The process differs slightly, depending on whether you're selling to an individual or a dealership.

Accepting payment via bank transfer

Whether you sell to an individual or to a dealer, bank transfer is one of your payment options.

Bank transfers into and out of the United States can be incredibly stressful, time-consuming, and expensive - our banking system just doesn't work well with other banking systems around the world.

If you don't already have an account with Wise (formerly known as Transferwise), you should get one for your vehicle sale.

With a Wise account, you can get a US Dollar account at a US bank. This allows you to accept a domestic US bank transfer.

The magic of Wise is that it allows you to instantly (and at rates 2-4x cheaper than traditional banks) funds from your USD Wise bank account to your home currency Wise bank account.

From there, you can make a domestic bank transfer from your home currency Wise bank account to your home bank.

Selling to an individual

Individuals usually have a number of options to pay for a vehicle, including

  • Bank transfer
  • Cash
  • Paypal

It's pretty easy for individual buyers and sellers to work out the method of payment that makes sense for both of them.

Selling to a dealership

Auto dealerships have processes and controls to follow, and can usually only pay for a vehicle in one of two ways:

  • Bank transfer (usually only to a US bank account), or
  • Physical check or bank draft.

Because bank drafts are a specific type of physical check that is hard to cash outside of the US, you should avoid this method.

Most dealers use the US Automated Clearing House, or ACH, payment system for bank transfers. ACH cannot be used for international transfers.

*Important note about selling to a dealership*

Many dealers have policies that require them to make payment to the registered owner listed on the vehicle's title.

(Think about it: if Bob Smith brought a vehicle titled to Alice Jones into Ford of New York for sale, this vehicle may be stolen or otherwise ill-gotten. If Ford of New York paid Bob Smith for the vehicle, they may be abetting a crime. They don't want that trouble, so they'll usually only make payment to Alice Jones.)

If registers a vehicle for you, the registered owner of your vehicle will be your Montana Limited Liability Company (LLC), not you, the individual.

Setting up a bank account for your LLC is a hassle, which you probably don't want to go through if you're about to leave the country.

So how can you most easily receive the proceeds of your vehicle sale?

Here's the solution: most dealers can make payment to agents or owners of a company, if documentation of that agency or ownership is provided.

So when you approach a dealer to sell your vehicle, bring your printed Montana Articles of Formation, which prove that you own the LLC that owns your vehicle.

Give this information to the dealership at the start of the conversation, before they inspect your vehicle. If they can't make a deal work, find another dealer.

Now, let's discuss handing the vehicle over to the seller.

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Handing over the vehicle

This step is simple: give the buyer the keys and the vehicle.

Easy, right?

We've done this a time or two has been helping international visitors register vehicles in the US since 2017.

Buy any vehicle for sale in the US. Let register it for you.

The bill of sale

Depending on the state where the vehicle is titled, a Bill of Sale (a simple sales contract) may or may not required.

If you hire to register your vehicle, your vehicle will be titled in Montana.

A bill of sale isn't legally required to transfer ownership of a Montana vehicle, but it can be a good idea.

You want to walk away from the sale of your vehicle with no further commitments.

Signing a bill of sale with the vehicle's buyer, in which you document that the vehicle is sold "As Is," with no warranties, closes the door on the buyer's ability to make claims against you in the future.

At a minimum, your bill of sale should document the following:

  • The vehicle's year, make, model, and VIN,
  • The date of the sale,
  • The value paid for the vehicle,
  • The buyer's name and signature, and
  • The seller's name and signature.

Hire the experts

Don't leave anything to chance - hire to register your vehicle in the US.

We register your vehicle in a US state with 0% sales tax, so you'll probably save money, too.

Making sure you're not charged for the buyer's tickets and tolls

From the date of the sale onward, the buyer should be responsible for all tickets and tolls on the vehicle.

Tickets and tolls are charged to the registered owner tied to the license plates on the vehicle when the ticket or toll is charged.

So there's a simple solution: remove your license plates from the vehicle. Take them home as a souvenir - they're yours to keep!

Removing your license plates upon the sale of your vehicle ensures that any tickets and tolls are the responsibility of the vehicle's buyer.

Hire the experts

Don't leave anything to chance - hire to register your vehicle in the US.

We register your vehicle in a US state with 0% sales tax, so you'll probably save money, too.


With the vehicle in the seller's possession and the money from the sale in your account, you're done!

Congratulations - you've ditched the rentals and bought and sold your own vehicle in the United States!

If you hired to register your vehicle, we set up a Montana Limited Liability Company (LLC) for you.

If you don't plan on using your LLC to buy another vehicle, will terminate your LLC and provide documentation for your records at no charge to you.

Let's Get You on the Road

We make US vehicle ownership easy so you can enjoy your visit.