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How to Officially Become a Florida Resident

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Florida is one of the few states that doesn't impose income tax on its residents. This combined with great weather and breathtaking natural sites make the Sunshine State a great place to call home.

If you’re thinking of establishing your legal domicile in Florida, the process is a little more complicated than just packing your bags and moving to the State.

The Step-By-Step Guide to Florida Residency

To establish Florida residency, you must complete the following four crucial steps:

File the Florida Declaration of Domicile

Filing a Declaration of Domicile is one of the simplest and most effective ways to demonstrate your intent to establish residency in Florida. This formal declaration asserts your intention to maintain a permanent home in the state.

By establishing "domicile" in Florida, you affirm your expectation to reside permanently in the state, granting you eligibility for state programs and benefits, such as:

  • No state income tax
  • No estate tax
  • No inheritance tax

Although filing a Declaration of Domicile alone doesn't guarantee Florida residency, it is a crucial first step and offers several advantages as you work toward establishing formal residency.

To file, visit your local Clerk of the Circuit Court and bring proof of identity and residency (e.g., lease agreement, utility bill).

Establish a Home in Florida

In addition to declaring your domicile, you must take concrete steps to change your domicile to Florida. This involves:

  • Securing a residence in Florida by purchasing a home or renting a property.

  • Updating your mailing address for state and federal tax purposes.

If you choose to purchase a home, be sure to apply for the Florida homestead property tax exemption by March 1st. This exemption saves you money and serves as evidence of your intent to establish state residency.

Florida seniors can take advantage of up to 3 separate tax exemptions, totaling up to $2,400 in savings per year.

To be considered a tax resident for a given year, you must spend at least 183 days in Florida. Maintain travel records and keep utility bills to demonstrate where you spend most of your time.

Obtain a Florida Driver's License

One of the most significant steps in declaring Florida residency is transferring your driver's license to the state. You must complete this process within 30 days of establishing residency. If you don't drive, be sure to obtain a state-issued identification card.

Steps to obtain a Florida driver's license:

  • Visit a local DMV office with proof of identity, your Social Security Number, and two proofs of Florida residency (e.g., a utility bill, or a lease agreement).

  • Pass the vision test and pay the required fees.

After receiving your Florida driver's license, take the following steps:

  • Visit a motor vehicle service center to register your vehicle in Florida.

  • If your vehicle has an out-of-state lienholder, contact them to transfer the title to Florida.

  • Obtain Florida car insurance within 10 days of establishing residency.

Register to Vote in Florida

Having a home address in Florida makes you eligible to vote in the state.

Although not a mandatory requirement for Florida residency, registering to vote is essential if you plan to participate in local and national elections. You can register to vote upon receiving your Florida driver's license.

A family celebrating their new residency in Florida

Additional Actions to Strengthen Your Florida Residency Claim

While the aforementioned steps form the foundation of establishing Florida residency, you can take various other actions to reinforce your residency claim and demonstrate your commitment to the state.

These include:

  • Declaring Florida residency on your personal income tax return.

  • Filing a sworn notice of residency with the clerk of the circuit court.

  • Notifying the Social Security Administration of your change of address.

  • Transferring bank accounts to Florida-based institutions.

  • Registering your pets with a Florida veterinarian.

  • Registering your vehicle with the Florida HSMV.

  • Enrolling your children in a Florida public school.

  • Transferring religious affiliations to Florida-based organizations.

  • Obtaining a Florida health insurance plan.

  • Working with an attorney to update estate planning documents in accordance with Florida laws.

  • Relocating your business to Florida.

Remember, the longer you reside in Florida, the stronger your claim to residency becomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long must I live in Florida to be considered a resident?

You must spend at least 183 days in Florida to be considered a tax resident for a given year.

Can I maintain property ownership in another state while being a Florida resident?

You can own property in other states, but your primary residence must be in Florida.

What is the deadline for obtaining a Florida driver's license after moving?

You must obtain a Florida driver's license within 30 days of establishing residency.

Am I required to register my vehicle in Florida?

You must register your vehicle in Florida and obtain Florida car insurance within 10 days of establishing residency.

How long must I live in Florida to qualify for in-state tuition?

To establish residency for tuition purposes, the parent or student must have resided in Florida for at least 12 consecutive months before the first day of the school term.

How do I apply for the Florida homestead property tax exemption?

To apply for the homestead property tax exemption, you must submit an application to your county property appraiser's office by March 1st of the year for which you are applying.

You must provide proof of Florida residency, such as your Florida driver's license, vehicle registration, and voter registration.

What documents do I need to update my address with the Social Security Administration?

To update your address with the Social Security Administration, you can do so online through your My Social Security account or by calling their national hotline.

To complete the process, you'll need your Social Security number and other personal identification details.

Can I vote in Florida if I only live there part-time?

To vote in Florida, you must establish it as your primary residence.

Even if you live there part-time, you must fulfill all the residency requirements, including filing the Declaration of Domicile, obtaining a Florida driver's license, and registering to vote in Florida.

What steps should I take to transfer my professional license to Florida?

If you hold professional licenses (e.g., medical, legal, real estate), you must contact the relevant Florida licensing board or regulatory agency to learn about the specific requirements for transferring or obtaining a new license in Florida.

This often involves submitting an application, providing proof of your current licensure, and possibly taking additional exams or completing continuing education.

The Best Homebuying Grants and Programs in Florida

Did you know that Florida homebuyers can access grants up to $35,000 and many homebuying programs that allow for 0% down purchases?

We've compiled the best grants and programs for first-time homebuyers to get your homeownership journey started in Florida.

As always, if you want to see which Florida grants you qualify for and get started on your journey to homeownership in the Sunshine State, reach out to MakeFloridaYourHome today.

With over 50 years of mortgage industry experience, we are here to help you achieve the American dream of owning a home. We strive to provide the best education before, during, and after you buy a home. Our advice is based on experience with Phil Ganz and Team closing over One billion dollars and helping countless families.

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