How to Establish Residency in Another State

Updated on November 14, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish offers 30 years successful experience in medicine, psychology, STEM courses, and aerospace education (CAP).

Do You Need to Establish Residency in a Different US State?


Tax Benefits of Living in Different US States

Because every state has its own tax policies, you may want to take advantage of certain financial benefits available in another US state through establishing residency there.

For example, for lower personal taxes, business taxes, or to eliminate state tax altogether, you may want to claim residency in a state other than your own. You might alternatively wish to incorporate your business in a state having no state income tax.

In addition, you may choose to seek residency in a different state for the purpose of securing in-state tuition at a university or college that you would be unable to attend otherwise, because of the expense of out-of-state tuition and fees.

Other states might offer more beneficial tax breaks, making it easier to grow your business.
Other states might offer more beneficial tax breaks, making it easier to grow your business.

Establishing Residency for in-State Tuition

You may be interested in paying lower, in-state college fees rather than higher, out-of-state tuition.

In this case, check with the college or university you plan to attend and determine their specific requirements for state residency. These must be followed exactly for you to reap their benefits.

Some schools require proof that you have lived in the surrounding local community for at least two years prior to even applying to the college or university. Check your chosen school's website or call its Registrar's Office in order to make sure that you understand these types of residency requirements. On handy alternative is to enroll in and complete online classes while you decide on a move and for a short time after moving, if you are waiting for time requirements of residency to be fulfilled.

Refrain from taking advantage of in-state residency status for college in two US states at once, because this will create a problem. A student may claim residency for in-state tuition and fees in only one state at a time. If a student is found to be double registered for residency status in two states, cost privileges will end and a fine or prosecution for fraud may result. Further, this double residency may raise a red flag for voter fraud.

However, if you are in the US military, many universities and colleges will offer you nonresident (out-of-state) tuition waivers. This benefit is often extended to dependent relatives living with you as well. This lowers the cost of an education for the entire family at once.

Higher Education Facilities in States in Yellow Provide Lower Costs to Neighboring States in Yellow

Some groups of states offer in-state tuition to neighbors.
Some groups of states offer in-state tuition to neighbors. | Source

How to Establish Residency in Another State

Establishing residency in a new state can be performed generally in the same manner in all of the 50 US states. However, you need to check any specific state and the particular part of the state that interests you for more details, which include the length of time one must live in that state in order to qualify legally as a state resident. Be sure to examine a state's specifications for making actual residency complete. Some US states require that you live in the location for only six months, while others require a full year to establish residency.

You will need an actual street address in your new state, and not a P.O. box or a private mail box (PMB) address, which is often listed as only a street address. The US Postal Service can determine fraudulent residencies in this way and it can cost you at least a hefty fine.

You may not claim residency in two different US states at the same time, because this could lead to multiple voting in federal elections, which is a crime. Even if you own homes in two or more states, you must choose one as your primary residence.

Steps to Establish Legal Residency in Another US State

  1. Locate a place to live in the new state. Find an apartment or purchase a home if you can.
  2. Spend substantial time in the new state during vacations and holidays.
  3. Maintain social and business relations in the new state.

  4. Have at least one bank account in the new state.

  5. Establish a living address with the U.S. Postal Service by going to the nearest post office and filing a change of address form.

  6. Have your important documents transferred to your new address (insurance, memberships, licenses, etc.).

  7. You will then need to find a job, pay taxes, and file tax returns in the US state in which you seek residency.

  8. Obtain a driver's license and car registration in your new US state, or apply for a non-driver's state ID card if you do not drive.

  9. Register to vote in your new state.

  10. If you have professional licenses, have them transferred to your new state. Do this by contacting the governing board of your occupation in the new state (nurses, physicians, social workers, attorneys, etc.). Temporary licensing can often be granted immediately while you are waiting for the permanent license.

You may be able to cut your taxes by incorporating in a different state.
You may be able to cut your taxes by incorporating in a different state. | Source

Which States Offer Which Tax Credits?

Different states offer different kinds of tax credits for businesses, which may include breaks for job creation, research and development, and/or investment.

Changing State Residency After Retirement

If you're planning your retirement and thinking about moving, you may want to consider the tax burden you'll take on in different states. Of course, state taxes are important to everyone, but retirees must take extra care since their income may be fixed.

What brought you to this article?

Are you considering a change of residency and, if so, why?

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  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish 24 months ago from North America

    @KAgi MariJade - I know several people who have done this move successfully from my state to another state and have kept their disability payments going. They asked their current disability case workers to help them do it and the case workers helped every time. It all went very smoothly. Best of success!

  • Kagi MariJade profile image

    Kagi MariJade 24 months ago

    I am disabled and trying to relocate to Montana as I have friends there I can establish a street address with as a roommate, but I am unable to work, I am looking for info about how to establish residency in order to qualify for state benefits in my new state and complete my disability application, since I am in Kansas where it is incredibly hard to do so. Do you have an article that addresses this?

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish 3 years ago from North America

    What a nice surprise! Thanks for alerting me; I hope the Hub is helpful to many people -- I hope you love Oregon if you move to that state. There are so many states I'd like to occupy, that I better get and RV and travel.

  • mary615 profile image

    Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

    I am thinking of moving to Oregon from Florida. I Googled Oregon's laws on residency, and your Hub was #1!!

    Great info here. I think my answer was six months.

  • u-turn profile image

    Arthur George Rettell jr. ( 5 years ago from AZ. STATE

    Great time spent and informative, but i was wondering about people whom are homeless and cut out of there State and or circle/click workforce due 2 UN foreseen or known circumstances, as it is very hard for people whom even had jobs and homes and lost out.

    The fact of being clean enough to be able to go into a business to ask. The hygiene thing is of utmost importance. Hard to start over with out help or under table employment with out the hassle of people not looking at people as a decease or druggy and the such.

    Impressive history and like that you like knowing the family tree. Were do you find the time i could say, but people do not surprise me as time can go by in ones life and all of sudden we add up, and see, my god i done or they done all that. As a trucker and the hundreds of thousands of miles and USA COVERED. thnku

  • profile image

    francisid 6 years ago

    another great hub!

    seems like living your US dream would take a lot of effort before it materializes.

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

    Much success to you both! It great when Hub Pages information helps osmeone. :)

  • adrienne2 profile image

    Adrienne F Manson 9 years ago from Atlanta

    Hi Patty, I really appreciate the information, and will pass it on to her, I already spoke to her this morning, but will definitely give her these links. Thanks!

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

    Hi adriene2 - there are some areas in California that are better for success than others; I did Hubs for them recently; perhaps they can also help your friend:

  • adrienne2 profile image

    Adrienne F Manson 9 years ago from Atlanta

    Hi Patty, I just happened to come across your hub, very interesting, a friend of mine really needs to read this she is determined to make California her residency. She lives in Illinois, but thinks moving will give her better options according what the state has to offer. I am afraid she may be making a mistake, I advised her to please do her research before doing so.

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

    HI Kay! it depends on what your goals are, I think.

    For example, during the part of Welfare Reform occuring in the late 1990s, some folks moved from state to state as benefits ran out in one and were still available in another.

    For the rest of us, I think it might depend on where we want to work, or to start a business, or to retire. Then it probably takes a Google search about those aspects.

    Best regards!

  • Kay Kerns profile image

    Kay Kerns 9 years ago

    Very interesting hub Patty, I never even thought of the benefits.. do you have any reccomendations as to which states are the best to establish residency?

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish 10 years ago from North America

    Earth Angel! I look forward to reading this new Hub of which you speak. There is something particularly and peculiarly wrong with a stalker. I'm not sure this condition can even be cured. I am very glad you are safe!

    Be Blessed.

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 10 years ago

    Yes it was Patty!! Thanks for the response!! My stalker tracked me for over 3 years with the express intent of killing me or having me killed!! I was looking for a new topic for a new Hub and when I saw yours about Establishing Residency in a new state, I knew exactly what to write about!! You are always an inspiration Patty!! Thank you so very much for all the GREAT Hubs you produce!! Blessings, Earth Angel!!

  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    As usual a great HUB

    regards Zsuzsy

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish 10 years ago from North America

    Stalking is a horrible circumstance. I'm glad you found a way out of it. Thanks for the comments and welcome back!

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 10 years ago

    Another GREAT Hub Patty!! Thank you!! I've been away for a few days and it feels good to be back in the saddle!! I set up residency in another state because I was being stalked!! It was a hassle and yet the benefits were sooooooooo well worth the effort!! Thanks again for the GREAT Hub!! Blessings, Earth Angel!!

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish 10 years ago from North America

    Thanks. I have a friend that can access his adoption records only if he establishes residency in another state, where the records are kept, and he can't do it. His job is too good here - he's a master jeweler and manager with the largest jewelry company here - it does more bsuiness than Tiffany's!

  • gabriella05 profile image

    gabriella05 10 years ago from Oldham

    Great hub

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish 10 years ago from North America

    It might be easier! :)

    As a special project in the early 1970's, a local high school class set up a fake person (a paper man) and got that person accepted to collge on a full ride scholarship.

    Couldn't do that as easily in the US today, I think.

  • Lissie profile image

    Elisabeth Sowerbutts 10 years ago from New Zealand

    Wow that's even worse than changing states in Australia and having to register the car! You might as well just change countries!

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