Ever wondered how full time travelers receive their snail mail? What if you are a vagabond gypsy and have no permanent address because you’ve sold your home? How does getting your tax forms and other important mail actually work when you live on the road? This article will help resolve some of these questions and hopefully provide our readers with a sense of the process necessary to domicile in a State and set up a permanent address to use while on the road.
First and foremost there are traveler clubs, like Escapees RV club, that provide mailing services. This service simply acts as a middle man to receive mail and then forward to wherever you may be located in the world. You call them up or send them an email, provide them with an address where you will be and they will then mail any accumulated mail pieces to the provided address. Sounds easy right? Well kind of. There is a process and several things you must do first to get to this point. Let’s take a look.
One thing to note about using a mailing service like the one mentioned above is that it will cost you an annual membership fee as well as the cost associated with the mailing service. Membership fees are under $40 for the year and the costs for the mailing service depends on which level of service you want to receive. They will send you everything or for additional business services or sorting will cost you a tad more. All of which are very reasonable.
Steps to File with Mailing Service:
- Pay for your membership and level of mailing service
- Receive Welcome packet which includes a Postal Service form (1583)
- Complete Postal 1583 form for each person that will be receiving mail. Even if you and your mate are married, 1583 forms will have to be completed and notarized for each person receiving mail.
For the Win: Don’t pay to have something notarized. Go down to your bank or credit union and ask them if they have a notary on site. Chances are they do and if you are an account holder at the bank they are always more than willing to notarize your documents free of charge.
- Each person will need the completed 1583 form as well as copies of two forms of ID, think driver’s license and another form of identification like a voter’s registration card or Social Security card. Once you have this gathered, mail it back to the mailing service so that they may issue your new addresses.
- Once your receive your addresses from the mailing services know that you are not done with the process. The next set of steps require filing with the State your change of address and domicile form.
Note: You will actually receive two addresses. One that includes the State in which you will domicile and use for State specific registrations, like your vehicle registration, voter’s registration, driver’s license, and insurance. The other address provided is the actual address of the mailing service which you will use as your mailing address for all your other stuff. Things like banking, credit cards, and other misc items.
If you are reading this because you are interested in converting your lifestyle to full-time nomadic living, there are a few states that are advantageous to domicile in for tax and insurance purposes. The aforementioned mailing service allows the choice to file in the following full-time living friendly states:
Once you have your new addresses and additional forms to file from the mailing service you are ready to move forward. These next set of steps are associated with filing with your chosen state. We chose the Sunshine State, Florida, to domicile. We both are from Florida and the trip to the City the mailing service uses was not far for us where we were already living. [Tampa to Bushnell]
Two forms of ID are needed. Choose from:
-Social Security Card
-Passport (if you have one)
You will need proof of your exisiting address. Whatever address shows on your current driver’s license, the mailing service asks for a document (within last 30 days) that shows you live at that address. Think latest electric or water bill, rent receipt, etc. We ended up not needing this because we already had FL driver’s licenses issued to us. However, it was asked for and we took it just in case. We advise you do the same.
You will need to visit the DMV and Tax Collector as well as the Clerk of Court in the city in which the mailing service issues. For us it was Bushnell since our chosen domiciled state was Florida. It took us a solid afternoon at these offices to complete this step. Once this next set of steps is completed, you’re done so there is a light by the time you get to the DMV tunnel. Ha! Ha! Wink. Wink. I mean who doesn’t dread having to go to the DMV and Clerk of Courts to file paperwork? I will say our experience in Bushnell was amazing. Everything is located in a single area so you can park your car/truck/van one time and hit all the offices you need in one fell swoop. Heck we even forgot to get the Declaration of Domicle form notarized and was able to find a notary last minute at the Attorney’s office located in the same area. Very convenient.
The DMV and tax collector should be in the same office. You will need to go here first. Ensure you have your Certificate of Address form and the Welcome letter provided by the mailing service with your new addresses. You will also need and change the address for the following at the DMV/Tax Collector office:
-Vehicle Registration (think truck tag)
-Trailer Registration (if you have a 5th wheel or travel trailer)
-Voter’s ID & Registration
You should walk out the door with a new Driver’s License (for each person), new vehicle and trailer (if you have one) registration with your new domiciled City and State address. Your voter’s ID with your new City and State will be mailed to you.
Next step is to take your completed and notarized Declaration of Domicile (also provided by the mailing service) to the Clerk of Court. Filing this form costs approximately ten dollars.
That’s it! Once you get to this point it feels soooo good to be done with it. For us, we celebrated by demolishing a bottle of wine. No one tells you how hard it is just to get to this point. When you get here pat yourself on the back and celebrate. Cheers!
Oh wait… now you have to change the address on all your accounts. D’oh! It’s always something else, isn’t it? We failed to mention above and it is also provided by the mailing service. Just to note here with this step, we called the Escapees Mailing Service several times during this process to ask questions. They are great. Very helpful and are there to help walk you through the process as well. Don’t hesitate to reach out should you go with that particular service.
Remember when we said you receive two addresses from the mailing service? The second address provided is actually that of the mailing service. That address is the intermediary that will process your snail mail. You will want ALL your ‘general’ mail delivered to this address. We recommend changing ALL accounts that are not necessary for domiciling and registration purposes be sent to that second address. Note that you will essentially pay per item for the pieces of mail sent to the domicile address. You pay for them to be sent to the second address, which is the intermediary that sends you your mail wherever you are on the road.
We hope this article helps clarify the process and we’ll see you out there singing, On the Road Again by Willie Nelson. Beep. Beep.