Texas, South Dakota, and Florida are the three most popular states to use as your domicile if you are a full-time RVer. These states are popular for 2 main reasons. One is because they have no state income taxes, which means more of your hard earned money that you make on the road ends up in your pocket! Cha-ching! But they are also the states that Escapees RV Club can assist you with achieving residency.
We don’t know many details regarding the differences between the 3 states and what factors to consider when determining which state you should choose for your domicile, but here are a few things we’ve heard from fellow RVers.
- Florida is great for insurance, if you are needing your own independent plans
- With Florida residency, you receive discounted tickets to Disney theme parks
- Texas is a good option for families who are homeschooling
Other than that, we have no clue! We chose Texas because Dan was born there so we have a little bit of a history to back up our “story” in case our residency were to ever be questioned. Also, it’s close to our home state of Colorado, which will always be our home base for travel. Also, Texas is just more centrally located. Which basically just means that if we needed to be there for any reason regarding our residency, it won’t be too far out of the way!
Sorry, we can’t be much help to those of who are trying to decide which state, or end up choosing Florida or South Dakota. But, if you choose to make Texas your domicile like us, we’ve got you covered!
While Escapees does a great job of laying out the steps on their website, we still found the process to seem a little overwhelming. That’s why we decided to document our experience in this video, as well as write this blog post, in hopes of helping other’s who may feel the same way!
Here are the 6 steps you’ll need to take in order to achieve Texas residency
Step 1: Get a Texas address from Escapees RV Club
- You can do this in person or online and through the mail
- First, you’ll need to purchase a membership with Escapee’s RV Club (be sure to select Follow Your Detour as your referral!)
- You’ll need this paperwork and some of it will need to be notarized
- You’ll receive an address immediately upon completion of the paperwork!
- Choose the mail service you’d like to receive (here are the different options)
Step 2: Change your address with USPS
- This can be done in 5 minutes online at usps.com
- You can choose the exact date of when you’d like to start receiving mail at your Escapees address
- You will also want to change your address on all your accounts – credit cards, cell phone providers, insurance, etc.
Step 3: Get a Texas insurance policy for your vehicles
- Call your insurance (side note: we use Progressive’s full-timer RVer coverage) and inform them of your new residency
- Have them email you a policy declarations page from your new policy as soon as possible
- The effective date of your new policy cannot be later than the date you plan to register your vehicles
Step 4: Get your vehicles inspected
- Not all auto shops can do this, you will need to go to a certified inspection station. You can search for a station here.
- This is a basic safety inspection to ensure that all major systems are functioning properly (blinkers, brakes, windshield wipers, etc.) Some counties also require an emissions test (but, Polk County in Livingston, TX where Escapees headquarters is located, does not)
- You will receive a certificate after your vehicle passes the inspection. This certificate is needed for step 5.
Step 5: Register your vehicles
- You must do this within 30 days of establishing your Texas residency
- This is done through Polk County’s Tax Office and can be completed in person or by calling and mailing in the necessary documentation.
- You must register your vehicles in the county of your residency.
- Here’s what you’ll need to bring:
- The vehicle registration application you can find and download here
- Your proof of insurance on the vehicles
- Proof of ownership with your current title or registration
- Inspection certificate
- Money to pay registration fees
- About the Annual Inspection: We were told that there is a way to get around the annual vehicle inspection requirement. The women at the tax office mentioned that if you renew you tags online, you can indicate that you are out of the state traveling which will remove the restriction and allow you to get renew without an inspection. She mentioned, however, if you return to TX at anytime, you need to get the inspection completed.
Step 6: Get your Texas driver’s license
- You can do this in ANYWHERE in Texas at country’s Department of Public Safety within 90 days of establishing your residency
- Here’s what you’ll need in order to apply (although we recommend checking the requirements straight from the Texas Department of Public Safety website here):
- A completed drivers license application (this application will be provided to you upon arriving if you cannot print it ahead of time)
- Proof of Texas vehicle registration for each vehicle you own
- Proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a passport OR your birth certificate
- 2 documents proving your Texas Residency. Since this is a new address for you, chances are you won’t have very many documents to prove this. Therefore, we suggest presenting your Texas motor vehicle registration or title (that you received in step 5), and a copy of your insurance policy with your Escapees address on it (which should have been emailed to you after completing step 3). Note: If you are a couple, make sure BOTH names are on your vehicle’s title in order to use it as residency proof for both people.
- Proof of identity, such as your current driver’s license, military ID card,
- Proof of your social security number, such as your SSN card, a w-2 form, Medicaid card, etc.
- Proof of insurance for each vehicle you own
- You’ll also need to:
- Pass a vision exam
- Provide your thumbprint
- Have your picture taken
- Pay the application fee
- You’ll receive a temporary driver’s license and your actual card will be mailed to you
And that’s it! In these 6 “easy” steps, you’ll be a true Texan! Yeehaw! Let us know if you have any questions about the process, we’re happy to help!
Disclaimer: We are not lawyers and this is not legal advice! Before changing your domicile, please consult with your own legal and tax experts. The information in this post is accurate to the best of our knowledge and is best solely on our experience. Please consult with state and county websites for the most accurate, up to date information..