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What is the difference between a Florida domicile and Florida residence?

Florida ranks highly as one of the best states to visit and live in. The Sunshine State boasts pleasant weather, fantastic beaches, great outdoors, vibrant nightlife, and diverse culture. The majority of the year, including winter, is warm and sunny, and that’s why it is a popular vacation destination.

Besides, Floridians take life easy, and it is not surprising to see locals wearing flip-flops to formal events.

Most importantly, Florida has no state income tax so setting up residence in Florida is a reasonable choice if you want to enjoy the tax-friendly laws the state has to offer. You have two residency options as far as living in Florida is concerned. You can file a declaration of domicile or apply to become a permanent resident.

This post explains everything about the various residency options available and the set requirements to become a resident in Florida. Continue reading to discover more.

What is a Florida Domicile?

Florida domicile refers to anyone who is not a permanent resident of Florida but residing in the state intending to set up permanent residency.

If you are a resident of another state but intend to move to Florida and make it your permanent, fixed home, you can file a sworn declaration of domicile. This document shows that you are relinquishing links with your previous state, meaning you won’t be filing your taxes with them.

To become a Florida domicile, you should maintain your physical presence in the state for at least six months, approximately 183 days. Although this is not a compulsory requirement in Florida, it will cement your intention to become a permanent resident.

Typical Southwest Florida concrete block and stucco home with palm trees

What is a Florida Resident?

A Florida resident is anyone with a fixed, permanent home in Florida, and you have lived in the state for over six months. You can prove your residency if you have a valid Florida identity card or driver’s license. 

You can consider yourself a bonafide Florida resident if you pay taxes, have a valid mailing address, and are a registered voter in the state.

If you moved from a different location before changing your residency, you must file an affidavit to sever ties with your previous state. Vehicle owners must cancel their old registration and obtain Florida license plates or buy and register a new car in their new home state.

Differences between Florida Domicile and Florida Residence

While Florida domicile and Florida residence might have striking similarities, their meaningful differences are as clear as day and night.

A domicile is anyone from another state who wants to move and set up residence in Florida. They do not have a permanent home yet, but they intend to buy one and turn it into their primary residence. You can have homes in several states, but the one you declare as your domicile will be your permanent home.

A resident is anyone with a permanent home in Florida. They were probably born in Florida and have lived in the state for a considerably long time. You can become a Florida resident by first becoming a Florida domicile through a sworn declaration. After approval, you may consider yourself a Florida resident.

Luxurious yacht and waterfront homes in Florida

How to Establish Your Domicile in Florida

Before you become a Florida resident, you have to file a Florida domicile declaration. This sworn document shows your intention to set up permanent residence in the Sunshine State. Here are the steps to establish your domicile in Florida:

  1. File a declaration of domicile with the court clerk of the Florida county you intent to live
  2. Cancel your old driver’s license and register for a Florida driver’s license
  3. Register your car in Florida and obtain number plates
  4. Register as a voter in Florida
  5. Purchase a permanent home in Florida
  6. Update your Trust agreements to adhere to Florida laws
  7. List Florida as your primary residence in all your documents
  8. Notify the social security administration of your address change.

How to Become a Florida Resident

From the sunny weather to the low taxes, there are so many reasons you may want to become a Florida resident. The good news is that the process of establishing residency is relatively easy. Here are the steps:

  1. File a sworn declaration of domicile as described above
  2. Buy a home or sign a long-term lease agreement
  3. Register to vote in Florida

Other ways to become a Florida resident include:

  • Consider enrolling your kids in a public school in Florida
  • Join a local Florida religious institution (church or mosque)
  • Renew your passport using your new Florida address
  • Open a bank account or rent a safe deposit box with a Florida bank
  • Notify the IRS of your address change by filing Form 8822
  • Register your pet with the local animal services office
  • Apply or renew your professional license with the local licensing board

Ready to Become a Florida Resident?

Whether you are a young professional looking for a job or a retiree searching for the ideal retirement home, Florida has just about everything for everyone. Now that you know how to establish your domicile, becoming a Florida resident will hopefully be a walk in the park.

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