buying a US car from another traveller in PANAMA... do and dont's ??

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#1 Mon, 12/12/2016 - 17:55

buying a US car from another traveller in PANAMA... do and dont's ??

hi , i'm considering to buy a car from another traveller in Panama, drive it through central america and at the end of the trip sell it either in Mexico , or maybe in California (depends how the trip goes..) so the car is registered in California, US, the owner and i are both foreigners (European). does anybody know if this is actually legal, or will i get in trouble with this ? And what is the procedure to follow ? i checked the website , where the car is registered. There is a lot of information but it's all about selling and buying when you are IN the USA. they also mention 'visit a DMV office within 10 days of purchase to transfer ownership' ... which of course i can't do when i'm in Panama. i tried to contact DMV but no chance to get in. No email , no contact form on the website , there is a hotline but waiting time is half an hour and costs me too much since i'm calling international. so how can i get this car on my name without having to go to California ? Next, what about Panama laws ? how does it work to get the stamp for the temporary import permit from the owner's passport to my passport ? If the car changes owner, does it mean that the seller , or the buyer, needs to pay import tax first ? or does this only apply when a local wants to buy the car ? i've found this link with info about foreign cars in Panama , but my spanish is not good enough to really understand these kind of text. ( i can order dinner and book a room in spanish, but reading gouverment rules and procedures is something else) sorry, a lot of questions , i know. but i want to be well informed and not ending up stuck at some border with a lot of fines to pay. if there are any other tips, or experiences from people who already did this, pls let me know the do's and don'ts thanks a lot ! Michele

Sun, 10/20/2019 - 14:08


Did you end up buying that car with the US license plates? What was the process?