We often find ourselves explaining a lot about Full time RV living when we meet new people. It’s fun to spread the knowledge we have found over the years of research but one question takes us a little bit longer to explain than others…residency when you live full time in a mobile vehicle serving as your home is a bit tricky. You see most of our great 50 states do not take kindly to you not having a physical address to file taxes, use on your driver’s license or to use on employment forms. However there are 3 states that allow for people to use Commercial Mail Receiving Agencies (think of it as a PO Box that will box up your mail when requested and forward it to any address you chose) as your official “physical” address. The 3 states that allow for the CMRA agency address to act as your official physical address are Florida, South Dakota and Texas. For us when trying to decide which of the 3 states would be our home it was quickly narrowed down to FL and TX (sorry SD we love you but snow is a no go for us :p) and we ultimately chose TX for a number of reasons:
We spent 6 months in TX as the CFI (Center for the Intrepid) for J’s rehab when he was injured in Afghanistan and we fell in love with how much Texans love their state and the state loves them back, How much TX honors Veterans, Police, and Firefighters, the food (Oh GOD the food!) and they have pretty good VA systems which is something we will forever be tied to (to get J’s prosthetics leg built, repaired and for general limb care.)
Texas’ conceal carry laws are very similar to our home state of NC (reciprocity in 38states, require classes (4-6hrs), background check and fingerprinting)
Texas is dead center of the (warmer) USA, we figured if we were out on the road and needed to get back for appointments and such we would be much more likely to be able to get back quickly.
To become a Texan in the eyes of the law you must:
- Set up a mail service (Commercial Mail Receiving Agency)
- Get Vehicle inspected in TX (for us it was super-fast and only $7)
- Register your vehicle (and pay appropriate taxes, get license plates ordered ) All of this is done at the County Tax office
- Get your driver’s license and Register to Vote (done at the Department of Public Safety office) Bring:current DL, Birth Certificate, SS cards, Marriage license if name changed,proof of TX insurance, Vehicle registration, if Veteran bring your DD214/VA disability decision letter
- Go to a lawyer and have an Affidavit of Domicile completed (saying you plan at some point in the future to live in Texas-it cost us $160 total)
- Form community relationships (we have family and friends in the State and that counts)
- If you have a business be able to show that your business papers are addressed to your TX address
- Complete estate planning (ok so this one is a Debbie downer but seriously, make sure your stuff is in order for your family! Wills, a security placed copy of all accounts you have, Your wishes regarding organ donation/burial/etc)
- When the time comes you will buy Real Property in the state of TX
- Personality(ok so this last one is a bit weird but basically when you decide to make TX your domicile state you must see yourself eventually living here… so don’t go into the office talking about how great life is “back home” saying you hate the heat or any such craziness… love Texas the way Texans do!)
Note about Former fellow Marine who is now a Law Enforcement Officer reached out to us to remind us that though we are very into keeping our information secure we absolutely must give real contact information for our emergency contact when filling out our Driver’s Licenses as they are used by LEO in the event of an emergency.