All officers, their families and their staff who drive must carry adequate liability insurance to cover losses and claims for accidents involving loss of life or limb, or property damage. US State Department regulations require officers owning private vehicles to insure themselves. The levels are set by the State Department at $300,000 liability coverage per accident.
Immediate cover can be obtained by phone during normal business hours. The cost of insurance is typically higher than in the UK and can vary from state to state. Some local insurance agencies will make a reduction to the premium upon production of a no claims bonus letter from your UK insurance company. The following are some suggested companies:
|Geico Auto Insurance:||800 861 8380|
|Reed Insurance Agency Inc:||703 914 4891|
|William Cartwright & Associates:||301 656 3116|
|Sentinel Insurance Company:||860 547 5000|
|Harleysville Insurance:||800 338 8301|
Registration of Vehicles – A1 and A2 Visa Holders Working at the Embassy
All staff on A1 and A2 visas who are working at the Embassy and accredited with the State Department are entitled to buy two vehicles free of local sales tax. You should be aware that when you sell that vehicle, unless it is sold to another member of the diplomatic community you will be liable to pay a surcharge.
You will be guided through this process by Protocol during your induction programme.
- The buyer must request that the seller/leaser contact the Tax and Customs Programs Office of the Office of Foreign Missions (OFM) for a determination on the tax-exempt status of the purchaser. OFM will provide a letter to the seller stating that the purchaser is eligible for tax exemption.
- The only legal means of obtaining a diplomatic tax exemption on the purchase of a vehicle is through the issuance of this letter by the OFM.
- You should not under any circumstances pay tax on a vehicle as it cannot be reclaimed after the purchase.
- There is no limit on the number of vehicles which may be purchased, however, only two vehicles per officer may be purchased tax free
When the application has been processed, the new number plates (tags) will be handed to the officer together with a computer printout giving full details of the registered owner and of the vehicle. For legal purposes this will serve as proof of the ownership and must be kept with the vehicle.
Please note: if you buy a second hand car through a private sale you will not be able to drive it until your diplomatic tags are issued by the OFM. This process can take a few weeks as it is dependent on you first being accredited with OFM. Cars purchased from local dealerships will be issued with temporary tags allowing you to drive the vehicle until your diplomatic tags are issued.
Vehicle Tags and Decals
Registration tags are valid for 12 months. Stickers (decals) are attached to show the expiry date.
- It is an offence to use a motor vehicle with expired decals/temporary tags on public roads.
- It is the responsibility of the officer to request renewal of a decal each year. Proof of insurance will be required.
- It is the responsibility of officers to keep the State Department informed of their insurance policies by submitting a copy to the Protocol team, Paula Walker/Amanda Gurney.
State Department will not issue replacement decals if there is an outstanding fine for driving offences on the vehicle.