You have just moved from another state to your brand new home in Tennessee, and you have a million things to think about. Getting the kids settled in school. Starting your new job. Figuring out where the best stores are. Finding a church that you like. Opening a local bank account. It’s not going to be long before you realize that for many things that you want to do in Tennessee, you have to have proof of residency.
The State that you moved from is very likely to be missing you. Especially, they are going to be missing your tax payments. So it’s really important that you can prove that you don’t live there anymore and that you, therefore, don’t owe them a dime. You do this by establishing residency in your new home state of Tennessee.
Establishing residency also allows you to vote in local and national elections – a precious right that has never been more important. It also means that you will be governed by Tennessee state laws. This could be important if, for example, you are considering a divorce. For example, a non-Tennessee resident cannot file for divorce from a Tennessee resident.
To hold a Tennessee driving license, a concealed carry gun license, or a hunting license, you must be a Tennessee resident. Other reasons for establishing residency might be to obtain support for educational costs, for a new business, food stamps, and for other benefits to which Tennessee residents are entitled.
How Do You Establish Residency In Tennessee?
First of all, you actually have to be a resident of Tennessee. That means you must have your home there, your possessions, and even if you are away, you should intend to return to Tennessee as your permanent home. Generally, you must spend more than 183 days a year to establish that you are domiciled in the state. (If you are away on government business, in the armed forces, or to obtain an education, and you have a residence in Tennessee, it is assumed that you are still a resident of Tennessee.)
What Proves That I Am A Tennessee Resident?
There are a number of documents that will establish you as a genuine resident of Tennessee. It is strongly recommended that you obtain as many of these as you can, as quickly as you can, when you move to Tennessee. Remember that you will usually have to provide more than one proof of residency document.
The following documents are accepted as proof of residency for a driving license application. They are a good indication of the types of documents that will help prove that you are a Tennessee resident. You will need to provide two of these to get your driver’s license. Remember, though, that not all of these documents will apply to all situations where you are asked to prove residency.
- A utility bill from the last month. Utility bills are regarded as electricity, water, landline telephone (cell phone bills are not accepted), and cable.
- A current bank statement. If you bank online, then you should print out your last statement and take it to an actual branch of your bank, where they will be able to stamp and certify it for you.
- A mortgage or rental document for your residence. If you are presenting a mortgage document, then you must also provide a deed of sale.
- A letter from your employer on company letterheading, signed by your employer. If you work for a small company that doesn’t have a letterhead, then your employer’s signature will need to be notarized.
- A paycheck or other proof of salary, just so long as the employer’s address appears on the pay slip.
- Your company id tag that shows your full name and the company’s address
- A health, property, or automobile insurance policy in your name and with your Tennessee address
- Current Tennessee driving license for a spouse, legal guardian, or parent.
- A registration document for a vehicle in Tennessee
- Valid Tennessee registration for voting
- An IRS tax form from the past twelve months
- A receipt for property taxes
- Students can supply their student id or a letter from the Dean or Bursar confirming the student’s residence in Tennessee.
In addition, for a driver’s license, you will have to show proof of citizenship. This is not generally a requirement for proof of residency.
How Long Does It Take to Get Tennessee Residency?
Although Tennessee doesn’t have a specific time that has to elapse before you can become a resident, it generally takes around six months to gather all your documents together and go through the formalities. This means that the sooner you get going with the process, the better.
Can I be a Resident In More Than one State?
The short answer is no. It may be that you have a winter and a summer home or that work takes you away for part of the year. You need to live in a state for more than half a year – 183 days – and have the intention to be a resident of that state, to be a resident of that state.
Even if you travel away, if you have your main domicile or home in Tennessee, and spend more than 183 days a year there, then you can claim Tennessee as your home.
Advantages of Living in Tennessee
Tennessee has great music and literary culture, is very beautiful and has a favorable cost of living. The cost of living is around 20% less than the national average. And don’t forget the whiskey! There are plenty of festivals year-round, as well as interesting historical and natural sites to visit. The food is legendary, and the barbecue is the best.
You don’t pay personal income tax in Tennessee, and taxes on investment income are planned to be phased out too. Suppose your child graduates from a Tennessee High School; your family may qualify for zero-cost college. So make sure that you secure your status as a resident of Tennessee as soon as possible, and begin enjoying all the advantages of living in your exciting new home.