How to Change State Residency When Moving

Why your state of legal residence matters

After a move, you'll want to take steps to cut ties with your former state and establish residency in the new one. Being an official resident will allow you to do many things, like get a driver's license, vote, pay in-state tuition rates for college, pay property taxes and file state taxes. And there could be penalties for having dual residency. Because U-Pack® specializes in state-to-state moves, all our customers must establish residency after moving. We're here to help you understand the process.

Front door of a permanent residence in a new state


How to change state residency

There isn't a standard procedure to show that you're a resident of a particular place — it varies from state to state and city to city. However, typical guidelines involve having a physical presence there and showing intent to live there. This can be as simple as moving to an apartment, transferring utilities, getting a job and changing to a local bank. However, it can involve filing official paperwork in some places. Find out what you need to do based on where you're moving:

Check the requirements

Each state (and even many cities) has their own guidelines for being a local citizen. Once you know where you're moving, you can check the state’s official government website to find out how to qualify. Examples of requirements include:

  • Florida allows you to make an official Declaration of Domicile in front of a notary public or the deputy clerk of a Florida court showing that you've established your home there.
  • Iowa has a form to change residency, which requires that you live in state for 90 days, show documentation of housing and bills, and change your vehicle registration and driver's license.
  • Louisiana considers you a resident after establishing permanent residency and living there for more than half the year.
  • New York City counts residents as those who have their domicile there or spend more than 184 days there in a permanent home.

If you don't find anything specific for your new city or state, check the driver's license requirements since those are usually for residents only.

Trying to establish residency for college?

If in-state tuition is a priority, check the specific institution's residency requirements. Some colleges have more criteria than a state or town might have.

Establish domicile

You’ll often see the term “establishing domicile" when reading state requirements. This simply means setting up a place as your permanent home. While you can have multiple houses, like a vacation home somewhere else, your domicile is where you spend most of your time. One way to establish domicile is  changing your address to receive mail there.

How long after your move are you a resident?

It varies from place to place. It could be as short as 30 days or as long as six months after moving. It's important to know the date you moved so you can ensure you've met the local requirements.

Show intent to live there

In many places, another part of changing state residency is showing close connections, like having your children attend school locally and moving membership in professional and religious groups to local chapters. In short, you just need to do life in a new place to prove you plan to stay there.

Make the necessary changes and updates

Another step to becoming a resident is updating essential documents to show that you now live in a new place. These may include:

Know the things that change based on residency

Each state may handle these things differently:

  • Estate planning, including wills and trusts
  • Assessing property for personal taxes
  • Liens on vehicles (some states hold the title if there's a lien)
  • Fishing and hunting licenses
  • Union memberships

Knowing the standards in each state will help you meet appropriate deadlines.

Can you be a resident of two states?

It's possible, but it's pretty rare. To do this, you'd have to spend more than half the year (typically over 184 days) somewhere besides your domicile. Having dual residency can mean double the taxes, though.

If you're splitting time between multiple places, talk with your lawyer and accountant about what to do.

Keep track of everything you’ll need to update when moving

If you haven't moved yet, we're here to help! Moving involves many steps, from comparing moving companies to telling friends and family your new address. U-Pack can help you keep track of everything with our comprehensive moving checklist.