If you're outside the US, and have just paid an exorbitant amount of money to an eBay reseller (or a shipping company) to get your iPad, you've probably realized by now that there's a few hoops for you to jump through before you can start using it to its fullest. Read on to find out just how easy it is to get access to the App Store, iBooks and US-only apps like ABC and Pandora.

All you'll need to get started is a US address - and a real one is obviously going to help. If you don't have a friend or relative in the US, you're going to have to be creative with this one.

Update: the iPad App Store can now be accessed by non-US accounts using iTunes on a computer (though not yet on the iPad itself) - so getting a US account is no longer a necessity, unless you want to download iBooks, or be able to grab apps and games at US-only sale prices, which happen far too often.

How to get a US iTunes account without a US credit card

This one is easy. Open iTunes on your computer (not on the iPad) and make sure you're logged out of any existing iTunes accounts. Try to "buy" any free application. Now when you go to create the iTunes account, you'll notice there's a payment option for "None". Use it!

Where to buy US iTunes gift cards

Now you're equipped with a US account, you'll be wondering how you go about purchasing paid apps. Thankfully, this one is easy too. Head over to Maximus Cards. They take Credit Cards or Paypal, and while they charge a small premium on top of the card's value, they consistently deliver the codes nearly instantly. Then open the App Store on your iPad, scroll to the bottom, and hit "Redeem" to enter your code.

How to get access to US-only services like ABC and Pandora

Believe it or not, this one is easy too - provided you're willing to pay a monthly fee for the privilege. Head over to blackVPN, who offer a VPN based in the US for €5 per month. Once you've got your username and password, you'll be up and running on the iPad as soon as you can type those details into its VPN manager - and it's easy to toggle the VPN on or off from the iPad's Settings app.

How to add your existing iPhone apps to your iPad

If you already own one of the few apps and games that have updated to a universal iPhone/iPad app rather than gouged you for a separate HD version, or you're worried that you won't be able to purchase content from your own country once the on-device iPad App Store launches there, fear not - it's not an issue getting content from multiple accounts onto the iPad.

All you need to do is open iTunes on your computer, log in with your existing non-US account, and search for and then download the apps you own. (You won't be charged again - just make sure you're logged in with the right account.) Then select the iPad in iTunes, go to the Apps tab, enable syncing, and hit the Sync button.

How to import an iPad

Anthony Agius from MacTalk (the guy who brought 19 iPads back to Australia, including Gizmag's) has just posted a detailed guide on how you can get your hands on an iPad. It's Aussie-centric, but most of it should apply to the rest of the world.