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Old 01-06-2017, 09:11 PM
 
Location: AK
7 posts, read 4,417 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello, I am trying to figure out the rules/laws about renewing/switching driver's license and vehicle documents after moving to WA. I haven't decided if I'm moving to WA permanently or temporarily, but for now at least for 10 months.

The DMV and DOL websites say that you have 30 days to update the license, vehicle registration, plates, and title after establishing residency in WA.

Now, on the dor.wa.gov website WA residency is established by the following actions:

- Is registered to vote in this state;
- Receives benefits under one of Washington's public assistance programs;
- Has a state professional or business license in this state;
- Is attending school in this state and paying tuition as a Washington resident or is a custodial parent with a child attending a public school in this state;
- Uses a Washington address for federal or state taxes;
- Has a Washington State driver's license; or
- Claims Washington as a residence for obtaining a hunting or fishing license, eligibility to hold public office or for judicial actions.

None of these apply to me. Of course until I at least get a WA driver's license, but I'm not sure if I event have to get it in the first place. Basically I am not taking any action to declare WA state residency yet. And if I understand correctly, until I do something that makes me a resident, I can keep my out of state driver's license and out of state vehicle plates/title.

Or is my understanding not correct? And if so, why?
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:16 PM
 
20,888 posts, read 12,977,495 times
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My understanding is living here over 30 days is establishing residency but if you have no intention of staying, it's good to let people know what state you're here from so they can judge you.

Just kidding...not really, it's true...kidding! Sort of.
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:23 PM
 
Location: AK
7 posts, read 4,417 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seacove View Post
My understanding is living here over 30 days is establishing residency but if you have no intention of staying, it's good to let people know what state you're here from so they can judge you.

Just kidding...not really, it's true...kidding! Sort of.
See, I couldn't find any official statement that would say that just living here 30 days counts for establishing residency. That may be true, but so far I didn't see that written anywhere.

Added location
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:27 PM
 
20,888 posts, read 12,977,495 times
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Here's another list. Washington State residency definition It looks like it can be challenged so if you really don't plan to stay, it might be worth challenging it if it comes up. Our traffic is packed so the last thing I want to do is encourage more people.
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:35 PM
 
Location: AK
7 posts, read 4,417 times
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That is the same list from the same site that I posted
Curious to see if anyone has faced with a similar dilemma before or knows a sure answer.
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:42 PM
 
7,414 posts, read 4,293,239 times
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You stated that you "moved to WA." Unless you have another home outside of WA that is linked to you (e.g., you own it, or you have been renting it and your lease is still in your name, or you officially live in your parents' home), it sounds like you would be considered a WA resident for purposes of drivers license and vehicle documentation.

Whatever you do, if you get a WA DL make sure you keep your full name on it, not just first name, middle initial, and last name. If you go with the local county's casual advice that you can use just a middle initial in WA, and then you later move out of state, watch out! WA state still does not meet federal REAL ID requirements, and one of them is having your full name spelled out on the DL. Also, WA state is one of the few states or even the only one that does not require you to prove that you are a U.S. citizen. Again, WATCH OUT! This statewide omission means that if you later move out of state to a compliant one, you must then prove U.S. citizenship. And that means a birth certificate issued by either your birth state or your birth county in that state--a compliant state will not accept a birth certificate issued by the city of birth. East coast *cities* used to, and maybe still do, issue birth certificates. Not county or state. These "little" REAL ID requirements can cost you both time delay and extra money.

I strongly recommend that you contact the county where you moved to and ask THEM if you can get away with keeping your former state plates and DL etc.

BTW, registration fees in at least some parts of WA are quite low. So don't hedge the decision because of cost. You might find that switching over to WA is cheaper than renewing your old DL, plates, and registration. And if you let your old registration expire by not paying the renewal fee, you risk getting in trouble in any state.
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Old 01-06-2017, 10:13 PM
 
Location: AK
7 posts, read 4,417 times
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Great advice Pikabike, thanks.

Well, my wife an I have a house in AK, where we moved from. We still own it.

As far as proving citizenship, I am pretty sure that you need to be a US citizen to get a driver's license and own a car. I think the only case you need to be a citizen is when you are getting an enhanced DL. I'm not a citizen, but I'm a permanent resident (green card). But thanks for the advice to keep the full middle name.

I am planning to go to the local DOL office next week and ask them. Just wanted to see if someone might know more details or facts here on the forum.
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Old 01-06-2017, 10:47 PM
 
7,414 posts, read 4,293,239 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yourock22 View Post
Great advice Pikabike, thanks.

Well, my wife an I have a house in AK, where we moved from. We still own it.

As far as proving citizenship, I am pretty sure that you need to be a US citizen to get a driver's license and own a car. I think the only case you need to be a citizen is when you are getting an enhanced DL. I'm not a citizen, but I'm a permanent resident (green card). But thanks for the advice to keep the full middle name.

I am planning to go to the local DOL office next week and ask them. Just wanted to see if someone might know more details or facts here on the forum.
I assumed you were a US citizen. Not sure what things you would need as a green card holder, but I remember that no proof of either US citizenship OR citizenship status was required when we moved to WA. We only turned in our old state's DL for a WA one. We might have had to provide proof of local *residency* in the form of docs such as a utility bill sent to us at our WA address, but there was no stipulation to prove legal right to be in the US.

The green card might be fine, as long as it shows you are legally a US resident. Maybe I should have written "legal US resident" instead of "US citizen", but the point is that WA state does not require proof of either one, and this can be an obstacle later if you decide to move to another state.

The catch happens if you later move to a REAL ID compliant state, because holding a WA DL does not prove you are a US citizen or legal resident EVEN IF YOUR EARLIER STATE WAS COMPLIANT.

As for the WA residency timeline, since you own a house in AK, the definition of residency might hinge on what your primary home is. I read that, to be considered a WA resident, you must live in WA at least 7 months per year. However, I don't know if that means you MUST consider yourself a WA resident if you live there 7 months. My understanding is that 30 days in WA means you are a WA resident, unless you are on vacation. The 7-months-to-be-allowed-a-WA resident status seems to be aimed at people who want to register an RV in WA yet live most of the year in a state where reg fees are higher, so they do it only to save money. And anyway, who is checking for this level of detail?

Yes, it is confusing.
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Old 01-06-2017, 10:50 PM
 
Location: WA Desert, Seattle native
7,626 posts, read 5,319,425 times
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Ignore all of the above. You need to register in WA within 30 days. There are plenty of places to do this, just go on-line. You can also register to vote at the same place. You only need a previous US driver's license, but may require an exam, but likely won't be required, especially if you have had a previous WA license.
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Old 01-06-2017, 11:17 PM
 
7,414 posts, read 4,293,239 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pnwguy2 View Post
Ignore all of the above. You need to register in WA within 30 days. There are plenty of places to do this, just go on-line. You can also register to vote at the same place. You only need a previous US driver's license, but may require an exam, but likely won't be required, especially if you have had a previous WA license.
Sorry, but I partly disagree. Sure, it is very easy to get a WA DL if you have a valid DL from another state. But the OP indicated he does not know if he will remain in WA after 10 months or so. IF he moves to another state, he might face some additional hurdles if he tries to get a DL there. The only way to be sure is to check the requirements of any state that he might possibly move to. If it is one that fully complies with the federal REAL ID requirements, they will not consider his WA DL alone to be sufficient to prove legal right to live in the US.

The WA DL *plus the green card* might be enough. Frankly, I don't know what a green card requires/demonstrates, but the four things that MUST be proven to meet REAL ID requirements are the following, and someone can use any combination of approved documents to show them:

Full name
Date of birth
Legal presence in the US
Identification (not the same as Name, which is confusing)
(plus the usual things you need to get a DL, such as physical address and photograph, former DL's number, etc)

I agree that 30 days of living in WA seems to be the time limit before he has to get a WA DL. My point is that he should carefully check WA state requirements for DL and vehicle registrations and see if owning the house in AK might allow him more time to decide. My guess is NO, but it doesn't hurt to check. It sounds like the move to WA might not be long-term, and relicensing somewhere else after having a WA DL does present problems, unless he has a WA Enhanced DL or whatever REAL ID-compliant standalone item can substitute. The standard WA DL is not sufficient as a standalone item in fully-compliant states.

Below is a link to a good summary of REAL ID requirements. Some states also cite them in their list of requirements to get a DL.

http://www.dmv.org/articles/the-real...a-national-id/

Last edited by pikabike; 01-06-2017 at 11:30 PM..
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