Ownership Procedures

Procedures for the Transfer of Ownership and Title

Update: A lot of people are asking about this confused.  Let me clarify.  Foreigners can legally own and license US plated vehicles in California.  This isn’t a problem.

Unless you can get your hands on a piece of paper that shows the Tundra passed the California smog test, we will transfer the ownership to you and leave it registered in my name under Planned Non-Operation until you enter the US, get it smog checked, and registered with the DMV.

It is that simple. We create a grey area.

Original text:


People from countries outside of the US can legally license vehicles in the state of California and most states.  There are two options to receive proper ownership:

Transfer Ownership with the Truck Abroad: We complete all of the paperwork and you pay all of the taxes payable upon the transfer.  However California requires smog test certification to be sent in with the registration fee on a yearly basis.  This is very difficult to accomplish (but not impossible) when the vehicle is not in California and thus most do not go this route.

Transfer Ownership with you and the truck back in California: This is the more popular method.  I’ve spoken with many other Europeans and Americans that have gone this route when selling a vehicle abroad.  While you are driving in South America, Central America and Mexico, my name remains on the California title.  Once you are back in the US, we fill out the necessary paperwork and you are the legal owner.  In the intermediate we draw up legal documents showing that you are the rightful owner.

More information on these forums:

Drive the Americas

Expedition Portal

Taxes Payable

One advantage of US licensing are the low taxes and lax laws compared to most European and South American countries.  With the US registration it would be easy to sell in the US at the completion of your trip.  You could even sell the camper separate from the Tundra.

Registration on the Tundra is approximately $350 per year payable each March to the State of California.  The camper does not need to be licensed or registered and thus no taxes or fees apply.  When not operating the vehicle in California or the US there is a “Planned Non-Operation” option which can be utilized and the fee is $20 per year.

Upon transfer of ownership/title the State of California levies a 10% tax on the sale price of of the Tundra only.  The price of the Tundra on this paperwork can be negotiated as it relates to only a portion of the sale price.

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