Have you recently relocated to Virginia or are preparing to move to the Cavalier State? While you have a lot to do as you settle in, it’s a good idea to work on establishing residency in Virginia as soon as possible.
What qualifies you as a Virginia resident? To establish a domicile in Virginia, you must show you have legal residence in the state with the intent to remain indefinitely. For tax purposes, you are a Virginia resident if you live in the state for more than 183 days in a year. For in-state tuition purposes, you must live in Virginia for one year.
Here’s how to establish residency in Virginia and the Virginia residency requirements you need to meet.
Why Is Establishing Virginia Residency Important?
Many people never give much thought to residency rules and proving their residency. You may move to a new state, lease or buy a home, start working, and file taxes in your new state without any issues. However, knowing how to establish Virginia residency is important because it affects income taxes as well as state tuition.
If you fail to establish residency in Virginia, your prior state may try to challenge residency and come after you for income taxes they claim you owe. If you spend part of the year in another state or work in another state like Maryland, establishing Virginia residency is even more important. You may have two states attempting to claim you are a resident – and it may be many years before you receive a notice from a revenue department. You’ll definitely want clear proof that you met Virginia residency requirements as early as possible if this happens.
You will also want to know how to become a Virginia resident to vote in national and local elections and qualify for any state programs like grants, business incentives, and benefit programs.
How to Become a Virginia Resident – Step-by-Step Guide to Establishing Residency
Ready to become an official resident of Old Dominion? Here is how to establish residency in Virginia. Some of these steps actually establish residency while others are used to indicate your intent to remain in Virginia indefinitely. The latter is most important for tax purposes.
Establish a Virginia Place of Residence
The most important of all Virginia residency requirements is actually having a place of residence in the state. You can do this by buying a home in Virginia or signing a lease.
You’ll also want to have the utilities connected in your name. Utility bills are an important form of proof of residency to get your license.
Have Your Mail Forwarded
Now that you have a new address in Virginia, make sure you change your address and have your mail forwarded. You can change your address with USPS online below. You can also inform the IRS and other organizations rather than relying on forwarded mail.
- USPS Change of Address
- IRS Form 8822, Change of Address
- Social Security Administration Change of Address
Get a Virginia Driver’s License
One of the most important ways to meet VA residency requirements is getting a Virginia-issued state ID or driver’s license. The state requires new residents to get their Virginia driver’s license within 60 days of moving.
If you already have a valid driver’s license in another state, you can easily transfer your license to Virginia at a DMV location. You will need to meet Social Security, identity, residency, and legal presence requirements.
Getting a Virginia driver’s license requires the following documents:
- Two forms of proof of Virginia residency
- One form of proof of legal presence
- One form of proof of identity
- One form of proof of your Social Security number
- Valid driver’s license from another state
- Proof of name change (if applicable)
To prove Virginia residency, you need a primary form of proof such as a residential lease agreement, mortgage, mortgage statement, or deed; USPS change of address confirmation form; or a recent utility bill. Secondary forms of proof of residency include billing statements or official documents, postmarked mail, or official documents or correspondence from a local, state, or federal government agency.
You can use the DMV Document Guide to make sure your documents will be valid proof.
Register to Vote in Virginia
With a Virginia home address, you can register to vote in the state. This is an easy way to prove your intent to make Virginia your state of residence.
You can register to vote online with the Virginia Department of Elections. You can also visit your local voter registration office or register to vote at a registration drive or the DMV.
Register & Title a Vehicle in Virginia
If you have a vehicle, you’ll need to register it at any Virginia DMV customer service center.
Before your car can be registered, it needs to be titled in Virginia. You need to do this within 30 days of moving to the state. You will need:
- Out-of-state title
- Proof of address
- Proof of purchase price if purchased within the last 12 months
You will pay a $15 titling fee. You can receive a paper title or an electronic title in Virginia.
Before registering, you will need an emissions inspection if you live in certain counties like Arlington and Fairfax. You will also need proof of minimum car insurance. Finally, your vehicle needs a valid safety inspection sticker from the Virginia State Police.
With your vehicle titled, insured, and inspected, you can register it at any DMV location.
How to Prove Virginia Residency in Other Ways
If your residency is ever called into question by another state trying to claim you owe taxes, remember that intent is important when determining residency. It’s important to take as many steps as possible to show your intent to make Virginia your home. Here is how to establish residency in Virginia in other ways.
- Get a professional license in Virginia
- Get a dog license through your county or city
- Get a new bank account in Virginia
- Enroll your kids in a Virginia school
- Join a local church or religious organization
- Renew or get a passport with your new address
- Rent a safe deposit box at a bank
- Notify the Department of Revenue in your old state of your change of address
Virginia Residency for Tax Purposes
What are Virginia residency requirements? There are a few ways to be considered a resident of Virginia for tax purposes.
You are a resident and subject to Virginia income taxes if:
- You live in or maintain a home in Virginia for more than 183 days during a year
- You are a legal or domiciliary resident of Virginia
Even if you aren’t living in Virginia, the state can consider you a domiciliary resident and subject to state income taxes in some cases. This can include students attending school outside the state and people who have moved temporarily for work.
If you have moved to Virginia during the year and intend to become a resident, but you haven’t yet lived here for 183 days, you are a part-year resident for tax purposes. You will need to file a part-year return to report Virginia sources of income while living in the state and a non-resident return reporting Virginia sources of income while a non-resident.
Domiciliary Resident vs Actual Resident
Under Virginia tax laws and in most states, there are two types of residency:
- A domiciliary resident has their domicile in Virginia and it is their permanent state of residency.
- An actual resident physically lives in Virginia or spends 183 days or more per year in the state while maintaining a place of abode.
You may have a home in more than one state, but you can only have one domicile. Your domicile is the state where you intend to return and make your permanent home. You do not necessarily always live in your state of domicile, but it is where you consider your home.
If you own a home in Virginia and spend most of your time there, it is not necessarily your domicile. Intent matters. That’s why it’s important to take many steps to show that Virginia is your permanent state of residence if you have a home in another state or spend a lot of time out of the state.
Virginia Residency for Tuition Purposes
Do you plan to attend college in Virginia or send your kids to school? Establishing Virginia residency for college is crucial to qualify for in-state tuition.
How long does it take to establish residency in Virginia for college? You must be a Virginia resident for at least 12 months after establishing residency before the first day of classes.
Universities and colleges can consider many factors to determine if you intend to remain in Virginia. They may ask about employment, social and financial ties in the state, property ownership, voter registration, and where you pay income taxes, for instance.
If you are a dependent student, your parent’s state of domicile is presumed to be yours. By law, institutions must presume that students and dependents have the same domicile of a supporting parent. Virginia law does allow for exceptions so students can qualify for in-state tuition even if their parents are not domicile residents.
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You are a dependent student if you receive most of your financial support from your parents or legal guardians. You are presumed to be a dependent if you are under 21 when classes begin unless you are married, in the military, or have legal dependents other than a spouse.
You can learn more about qualifying for in-state tuition here.
Virginia residency requirements are fairly basic and you shouldn’t have any trouble establishing yourself as a resident and proving intent to remain in the state. Just keep in mind special rules regarding income taxes and in-state tuition!
Are you planning to relocate to Virginia in the near future? Call On the Fly Moving Guys for a free moving quote so we can help you get settled in your new home without the stress.