What Documents Do I Need To Buy A Car

What Documents Do I Need To Buy A Car?

Buying a car can be a big event for everyone. After all, who would not be excited to go into car shopping and walk outside as a brand new car owner? That excitement can be put on pause, though, if you don’t know the several steps to take for this process along with the documents, requirements, and paperworks involved in order to purchase a car. Aside from all these, you should also know what deciding factors you should consider before hopping into the car shop. Being well-oriented in all that information can save you lots of time as it will make the process go more smoothly.

Avoid that hurdle and extra hassle by getting your burning question, “What documents do I need to buy a car?”, answered now by reading this article. No doubts this will help you be prepared to drive off the lot and kick start your car ownership.

Documents Needed to Buy a Car from a Dealer

This list will help you gather all the documents needed to buy a car from a dealer before you go into the process of buying your car, whether it’s new or one that is used. Check them out:

  • Your Driver’s License – You should always be bringing a valid and unexpired driver’s license with you. The dealership needs this to confirm that you’re a licensed driver before they let you drive your new car.
  • Proof of Insurance – Avoid delays by bringing your proof of insurance with you. Call your insurance agent and make sure how you can add your newly purchased vehicle to your policy.
  • Form of Payment – Whether you’re using cash, or loan for your purchase, have it ready on that day. Be prepared to pay a downpayment for your car as well. If you’re going for a loan with the dealership, it might take you a bit longer to sign relevant paperworks to process your loan. 
  • Recent Payslips – If you availed the loan through the dealership, they may require you to show proof of employment, so bring your recent pay stubs with you to be prepared.
  • Credit Score and History – Check your credit score and history and review it in order to spot if you have late or unpaid bills and resolve them before you purchase a car.
  • List of References – Be ready for a list of names of your most trusted people who do not live with you. Be able to supply their business addresses and contact numbers with you. Make sure these are people who can vouch for you as well.

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Used Car

If you’re planning to save and buy a used car instead, the documents are equally the same. However, you might want to prepare ahead and look at this overview of what you need to know before buying a used car: 

  • Know Your Budget – If you’re paying cash, budgeting will be pretty simple. Just don’t spend all your money and save some for future repairs. On the other hand, if you are planning to get a loan, use an auto loan calculator to lay out and calculate the best loan that would fit you. 
  • Pick the Right Car – This is where the fun begins. Be able to make a list of your must-have features; then, check for models with those features along with used car guides which you can find online.
  • Check for Reliability and Ownership Costs – Not all used cars are created equal. Some might have less or more miles to it; the bottom line is to choose models known for their dependability. 
  • Check the Vehicle History Report – With the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN), you can look at a detailed record of the car’s history. Basically, check if it has a clean title or if it’s been in some serious accidents. 
  • Test Drive the Car – Check if the car has blind spots as well as its acceleration, brakes, and mechanical conditions. 

Buying a Car in the USA as a Non-Resident

The question, “What documents do I need to buy a car?” is not only for locals, but also for immigrants or visitors from other countries who want to purchase a car in the U.S. Just keep in mind that buying a car has several requirements even for U.S. citizens; so, buying a car in the USA as a non-resident might require more steps. Check them out:

  • Plan Your Payment Options – As a foreigner, you should look for some expat car financing companies first. Choose a company that offers leasing rates to non-residents at competitive prices.
  • Get Car Insurance – In the U.S., it is highly required to obtain car insurance before they allow you to drive.
  • Buy Your Dream Car – Consider your needs in a car and research it carefully; try to negotiate the best price with them.
  • Register Your New Car – You can leave this to the dealer. 
  • Ship Your Car Overseas – Choose the type of transport you prefer, whether through RORO or containerized shipping; make sure go through the U.S. customs to clear your car and have it shipped.


Shopping for a car can be likened to a treasure hunt. Amazing deals are always out there. And, with the addition of online apps as a shopping tool, your luck will never run out on finding the best deal that meets your needs. From looking for the perfect deal and filling out paperworks, to submitting the documents, registering your car, paying for the down payment, and signing the contract, buying a car is definitely not a process you can rush. If you know someone who still asks themselves, “What documents do I need to buy a car?” be sure to have them read this article and have their question answered, just like you! After all, being prepared with everything you need to seal the deal can keep you from hiccups along the process of buying your car; so, in the end, you can enjoy cruising away in your new ride.