RV Full-Timing Tips: Setting up Residency when you have no Fixed Address
Author: Blog Editor
By Stephanie A. Mayberry
You are about to hit the road – or you’re already there, living the full-timing life – what happens when you have to renew your driver’s license? Your vehicle registration? This is a pretty common question and the answer is actually easier than you may think. It does require a little research, a little dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s, but it is completely doable.
Choosing your State of Residency
You need a permanent address for all that legal stuff like driver’s license, banking accounts, vehicle registration, passport, insurance, credit cards, filing your taxes and all those other things that require an actual address be attached.
The first step is choosing a state. The “Big Three” for full-timers are South Dakota, Florida, and Texas – I’ll explain more in a bit. You don’t have to choose any of these, though; you can select another state as long as you comply with their residency laws. Each state has its own laws regarding residency. Some states require that you have a domicile there, a house or apartment, or that you live there at least part of the time. If you can’t comply with that then steer clear of the states that have those laws.
Some of the things to check out before deciding on a state for residency:
There are some other things to think about in your quest for residency. For instance, if you set up your residency in one state, but spend most of your time in another state that state where you hang out more often could come knocking on your door looking for state taxes or sticking you with a ticket for not having the proper inspection or registration for your vehicle.
- Income tax (several states have no state income tax, making them very attractive to full-timers looking to establish residency)
- Insurance rates (check rates for the specific zip code, not just the state as a whole.)
- Vehicle registration requirements and fees
- Driver’s license requirements, term length, and fees
- Various taxes and fees including sales, corporate, property, retirement, dividends
- Vehicle inspection
- Homeschooling laws
- Jury duty rules and obligations
When in doubt, seek out the advice of an attorney who specialized in residency.
Acquiring a Fixed Address as an RV Nomad
You have several options here once you have chosen your “home” state.
“Live” with a friend or family member. You can use their address, but consider this; all your important, legal, official mail will be landing in their mailbox. Is this someone you can trust to forward that mail to you in a timely manner and let you know when something that may be time sensitive (like a jury summons) arrives? You also want to make sure that it is their fixed, permanent address. If they have to move, then so do you – remotely. That means changing everything, and if you have to do that often, well, you see where this is heading. If you do ‘live” with them, make sure you express your appreciation – often.
Sign up with a residency service. In many states you can set up residency through a service – and you can even do it remotely. These services are designed to accommodate full-timers so they have it all pretty well down and can be an invaluable resource as you transition. Each service has its own set of fees, but they are usually pretty reasonable. Also, make sure you read the FAQs on the sites to get a better idea of what the service entails and what to expect.
Check out these companies for state residency:
Escapees RV Club has services in Texas, Florida, and South Dakota. They also have a lot of perks and are a popular choice for full-timers.
You don’t have to be physically tethered to one location in order to be a legal citizen. There are ways to make your RV your home and the open highway your back yard. Happy trails fellow full-timers!
What other considerations do you think are important for establishing residency as a full-time RVer? Please share your thought and experiences with us in the comments below!
So is it possible to make South Dakota to your homestate and get mail thrue friends and family in Louisiana?