There are many reasons that you might want or need to prove proof of residency in Virginia.
Some of these include:
- Ensure that you pay taxes in Virginia and not in a state where you previously lived.
- You want to vote in state or national elections
- You want to apply for a residency-based grant, incentive, or benefit
- You are applying for a license – most commonly a driving license
- You are registering for school or college
- You are opening a bank account
- You are applying for credit – for example, for a consumer goods purchase
- You are renting or leasing a vehicle
The Tax Implications of Establishing Residency
When you move to another state, it’s important to firmly establish your new residence. If you don’t, you may find that your previous state of residence will chase you for state taxes. So you need to work at creating as many proofs of residency as you can to establish a very convincing package. States can be avid to collect taxes that they believe they are owed, and these disputes can drag on for a long time. It’s a great idea then to make your defense to accusations from the tax authorities that you still live in your old state as watertight as possible.
Some of the things that you might consider doing that will support your change of residency to Virginia include:
- Obtaining a professional license to practice your occupation in Virginia. For example, a license to practice law, to be a realtor, or a doctor.
- Join a church or a community organization
- Get a license for your dog
- Open a bank or credit union account
- Obtain a passport, or renew an old passport, at your new address
- Enroll your children in a Virginia school or college
- Get a bank deposit box
How Can You Establish Residency In Virginia?
The first thing is that you should actually be a Virginia resident. Just owning a property in Virginia is not sufficient. (Think Dr. Oz). If you own a property, you will have title deeds that you can show as proof of property ownership. You may also have a mortgage document. If you have signed a lease for a home (not a business premises – that doesn’t count), you can use this as supporting evidence of residence too.
It is helpful if you also have a record of a utility connection in your name.
Applying For a Virginia Driver’s License
You need to apply for your Virginia driver’s license within sixty days of beginning to live in Virginia. The proofs of residence that you will need to have available are:
- A USPS change of address form
- A residential lease document
- Title deeds for a residence
- Mortgage documents for a residence
- A recent utility bill in your name
- A driver’s license does, of course, constitute proof of residence.
Can You Be Resident in More Than One State?
It may be that you spend part of the year in one state and part in another. Maybe you have a family you like to spend time with. Perhaps you are a snowbird, escaping the rigors of a northern winter. Or maybe your work takes you away from home for an extended period in another state.
In Virginia, there are considered to be two kinds of residents; domiciliary and actual.
A domiciliary resident intends to eventually make Virginia his or her permanent home, even if they spend time away from the state or owns a home in another state. You may only have one state as your domicile.
An actual resident spends at least 183 days a year in the state and has a home there. That person does not consider Virginia as the state that they will eventually live in permanently.
If you want to claim Virginia as your domicile, then one of the things that will be considered is intent. It’s important that you acquire as many proofs of residence as you can.
Residence For In-State Tuition Support
In order to receive support from Virginia for tuition, you must have been resident in the state for at least twelve months before the day classes begin. As a dependent, you will be assumed to have the same state of residence as your parents or guardians do. However, if this is not the case, you can get tuition support on your own behalf.
Early Action Makes Sense
In all the hustle and bustle of moving to a new state, it’s easy to let things like proof of residence slide. Make it a priority in your plans, and you will be glad that you got this relatively simple thing in place; it will make it so much easier down the line.