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Old 06-05-2009, 11:31 AM
165 posts, read 872,172 times
Reputation: 99


We're finally making the move to the Northwest. We'll be renting in Vancouver to start with, but I plan to buy a house within 3-6 months but am not sure if we'll end up staying in WA or will buy in one of the OR towns I'm looking into. Do you think I could get away with just maintaining my CA license and registration until we're moved in permanently? It just seems a waste of time and money to get a WA license and reg and then have to possibly do it over again in a few months in OR. What do you recommend?
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Old 06-05-2009, 05:06 PM
Location: Southwest Washington
2,316 posts, read 6,699,847 times
Reputation: 1689
According to the Washington State Department of Licensing, you are legally obligated to title and register your car in the state and get a state driver's license within 30 days of establishing "residency." Their definition of that includes the following:
-Arrive in Washington and begin establishing a home in the state.
-Register to vote.
-Receive state benefits.
-Apply for any state license.
-Seek in-state tuition fees.
WA State Licensing: Moving? Get WA license

So I think that if you DO end up buying a home in Washington, you should quickly re-title and register your vehicle(s) and get a WA license. So long as you're not receiving state benefits or registered to vote in WA then I think you should be fine, because you are not technically "establishing a home" in WA yet, especially if you're not going to be employed in WA while living there. But if you are going to employed when you are living there then that might be a question to call or e-mail the WA DOL about. I know in California, you have to register/get a license, etc. 30 days from gaining employment in the state, and here in Oregon if you live here at least 6 months of the year and/or pay resident income taxes then you could be considered a resident and must go through the whole license/registration process. It really varies.

You might also want to ask in the Washington state subforum.
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:48 PM
4,628 posts, read 9,033,227 times
Reputation: 4225
Well, if you get caught failing to register your car, I don't think the fine is too great. Surely it is a waste of time and money, but getting a ticket would not be worth it for me. It's not that expensive and who knows, maybe your house hunt will take a bit longer than what you expect.
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