Buying a Car in Arizona From Out of State

Purchasing a car across state lines is a little complicated in Arizona and requires some extra paperwork and permits.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Alita Dark
If you live in
but are buying a car out of state, you (or the dealership) will be responsible for submitting some paperwork to the
AZ Motor Vehicle Division
(MVD). If you’re not an AZ resident but are buying a car there, then you’ll need to obtain a 90-Day Non-Resident Permit in order to drive your car home. 
If you’ve ever
bought a car
before, you know the paperwork can seem endless. If you’re buying a car in a state that’s different from your state of residence, then expect some additional paper pushing on top of that! 
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How to buy a car out of state as an Arizona resident

You live in
and have been shopping for a new car, and you’ve finally found the one you want—a few states over. But not to worry, you can still get the car of your dreams! Fortunately, it’s fairly easy for an AZ resident to buy a car in another state and then bring it home. Here’s what you need to know! 
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), if an Arizona resident buys a car at a dealership out of state, the dealership is responsible for submitting the following for the AZ title and registration: 
That’s a lot of paperwork! Fortunately, you can leave the bulk of the work to the dealer.
And remember, you’ll have to pay taxes for the purchase of your new car to the state of Arizona, not the state you bought it in. You can use the
Vehicle Use Tax Calculator
to figure out what you’ll owe, but the dealership should be able to help you out here as well. 
If you’re buying a car from a private party, then you’ll have to take care of your own paperwork. Here’s what you’ll need to get your newly purchased out-of-state car titled in AZ: 
  • A completed Title and Registration Application
  • A completed
    emissions compliance form
    (Phoenix and Tucson areas only)
  • A Level I vehicle inspection, if the out-of-state title and/or registration is missing
  • An out-of-state title (or registration, if the title is held by a lienholder)
  • Out-of-state license plates
  • A lien clearance (if applicable)
  • Power of Attorney from the lessor (original or certified copy), if it’s a leased vehicle
  • Payment of all applicable title and registration fees
You can submit these to the
MVD office
that’s most convenient for you, and you can even make an appointment to speed things up. 

How to buy a car in Arizona if you live out of state

So what about if you live in another state but want to buy a car in Arizona? In addition to whatever requirements you’ll need to satisfy in your home state, you’ll also need to get a 90-Day Non-Resident Registration Permit in order to be able to drive your car home. 
Here’s what’s needed for that: 
  • Ownership documentation: this can be a title and registration, notarized bill of sale, dealership invoice, or a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin
  • Proof of non-residency: an out-of-state driver’s license or a Reservation and Tribal enrollment/census number/identification number
As far as taxes go, what you’ll need to pay will depend on your state of residence. The Arizona Department of Revenue has some extensive information about the
taxation procedures for non-residents
who buy a car in AZ, so make sure to do your homework. But if you’re purchasing a car at a dealership, they’ll be able to help you with the process. 

What if I don’t have a physical title?

If you don’t have the physical title to the car, then you’ll need to
apply for a replacement title
through ADOT (or the state that the vehicle is titled in). 
If your vehicle is a lease or you’re getting it financed, then it will be a little more complicated. You’ll need to contact your lessor or lienholder for assistance, but the process should still be pretty straightforward. 

Tips for buying a vehicle out of state

With the prevalence of online shopping and companies that sell cars on a national scale, it’s easier than ever to buy a car in another state. It can often mean that you’ll get a model or a price that might not be available where you are, but there are still a few extra wrinkles to iron out. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re buying a car out of state: 
  • Always get a vehicle history report. This is particularly key if you’re buying a used car from a private owner. Services like
    provide vehicle history reports that will let you know if the car has been involved in any accidents or had any major damage to it.
  • Get your vehicle inspection done at home. No matter where you bought it, your car will need to meet the vehicle and emissions requirements of where you live. Make sure you know what these are (and how they might differ from where the car is being purchased). 
  • Know your home state’s vehicle sales tax laws. You’ll be paying taxes on your car to your home state, not the state of purchase. Make sure you have an idea of what you’ll owe so you won’t have any surprises. 
  • Buy car insurance before you leave the dealership. Even if you’re headed directly back to your home state, make sure you have the appropriate required car insurance before you hit the road. 

How to save on car insurance in Arizona

Every state has different requirements for the minimum amount of car insurance you must have, and it can be a bit confusing (and annoying) to try to keep it all straight when you’re buying a car out of state! 
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