How to Change State Residency

July 13, 2021
A woman opening a cardboard box

You just packed up your life and moved it into another state. You’re tired, but you’re relieved. The boxes are all inside, you’ve got the keys in hand and you’re having a seat now to soak it all in. But there’s something still nagging at you, what’s left to do? Oh, that’s right! You still need to tell the government you moved!

One of the last things you need to do when moving out of state is to change your state residency. It sounds simple, but this is a process most people who’ve never left their home state have never considered. When do you have to change state residency? How long does it take? What do you need to do it? These questions often come up when people undertake an out-of-state move for the first time. But knowing how to change state residency is crucial. Being registered as living in the wrong state can create all manner of problems, from voting issues to tax fraud. Here are the six steps you’ll need to take to change your state residency.

1. Check state requirements

State residency requirements vary depending on what state you’re in. Your state’s official government website will have the specifics on what is required of you to establish residency. Your new home state may handle items such as estate planning and taxes differently than the last state you lived in, so updating your address on documents relevant to those items is very important.

2. Establish domicile

Your “domicile” is the home where you spend most of your time. For most people, this is just the home/apartment where they live, however, if you own multiple properties, the one where you spend the majority of your time is considered your domicile. Some states require you to fill out an official “Declaration of Domicile” document to declare the residence you are establishing.

3. Change your mailing address with USPS

Always notify the USPS when you move so that your official mailing address changes. You’ll find that failing to do this will result in a large stack of mail accumulating at your former residence. Besides being a burden to the new resident, this also creates a myriad of privacy concerns for you. You might even accidentally miss important bills and incur late fees. Fortunately, changing your official mailing address is very easy and you can do it in mere minutes on the USPS website.

4. Change your address with utility providers

Updating your address of record with utility providers who bill you every month is also crucial. You should likewise notify your insurance provider of your recent move. Nationwide customers can make address updates through their personal accounts on Nationwide’s website.

5. Register your car and get a new driver’s license

Changing your state residency means changing your car’s residency too. Every state has its own specifications on how this needs to be done. You will likely need to bring your current driver’s license, proof of your new address, and another form of identification like your birth certificate or social security card.

6. Register to vote

Technically speaking, you don’t have to be registered to vote in your new state in order to be established as a resident, but you certainly won’t be a complete resident without taking that final step. Luckily, this is another step that you can take completely online. Just visit your state’s website to learn how.

If you’ve done a good job of keeping your personal information and identification documents organized and accessible, establishing residency in your new state is not an overly difficult process. Use this change of address checklist to make sure important contacts know your new address.

The information included is designed for informational purposes only. It is not legal, tax, financial or any other sort of advice, nor is it a substitute for such advice. The information may not apply to your specific situation. We have tried to make sure the information is accurate, but it could be outdated or even inaccurate in parts. It is the reader’s responsibility to comply with any applicable local, state, or federal regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates and their employees make no warranties about the information nor guarantee of results, and they assume no liability in connection with the information provided. Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are services marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2021 Nationwide.

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