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Visitors purchasing and insuring a vehicle in British Columbia.

You would need to have the following:

  1. A valid driver's license; you may drive with your license for six months as a visitor, at which time you would have to obtain a BC drivers license. You may drive with an International Driving Permit (maximum allowable time to drive with an IDP in BC is 6 months, even though the license is for one year). You would have to confirm with other Provinces/States regarding driving limitations/restrictions for International Drivers.
  2. A letter from your insurance company for the last 10 years informing us of when you had an accident that was your fault, if you have ever had one.
  3. A British Columbia address, even if it is a temporary one, such as the Hotel you are staying at address.

For more information, visit Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), which is the agency responsible for mandatory auto insurance and vehicle registration in BC.

If you insure your vehicle in BC, you are allowed to travel outside of the province, including the USA, providing you insure your vehicle under territory 'Z'. Insuring it with this territory is a little more expensive, but it provides you with coverage in any province or state you may choose to travel through during your stay. The cost of insurance premiums will depend on the type of vehicle you decide to purchase, as well as your driving record from your country of origin. Once you decide to return home you can cancel the coverage, and have a refund sent to your home address. There will be a cancellation fee and some additional non-refundable fees. Registration, tax and insurance is all handled at the same place.

If you are buying the vehicle from a registered dealer, they will collect the tax (which is 12% of the purchase price). If you purchase the vehicle privately then the tax would be paid to the insurance company at the time you register and insure the vehicle.