Change Your Domicile To Nevada: Step-By-Step Guide
I’m just going to say it: unless you’re looking to establish domicile in Nevada, this post is going to be boring. For those who are looking to become Nevadans, this post is a step-by-step guide on what needs to be done to establish domicile and should be thrilling to read! Why We Chose Nevada As Our Domicile State will explain why we chose Nevada if you’re curious.
1. Choose A Mail Forwarding Service Company
You’ll want to choose a mailing service company who will receive your mail for you. It doesn’t have to be in the same state as your new domicile, but it could save you a lot of confusion, mistakes, and questions in the future. We chose to find a mail forwarding company in Nevada. During my research I came across two cities/towns that have mailing service companies: Las Vegas and Pahrump (I didn’t look into Reno).
Turns out a lot of full-time RVers hang out in Pahrump, but the two companies in Pahrump, JB Mailroom and Mail, Messages & More, didn’t meet our needs. They were pricier than the company we chose, required us to be more hands-on, and charged more to scan mail for us (a service we knew we’d use more than actually forwarding our mail to us).
We ended up with Inc. Paradise out of all the mailing services in Las Vegas because their price was the best, they have a web portal and a phone app, and their scanning prices were good. For more details on their services, check out Why We Chose Nevada As Our Domicile State.
2. Choose A Physical Address
Unless you’re going to use a friend’s or relative’s Nevada address, you’re going to have to figure out a physical address to use with proof that you “live” there. Unfortunately, your address from the mail forwarding company isn’t going to work. It’ll come up as a business address in the DMV’s system. Luckily for RVers, Nevada DMV will accept a receipt for a 30-day stay at an RV park (or hotel) as documentation of your physical residence.
The RV park’s address will be printed on your new driver’s license, but you can also specify a separate mailing address (even out of state) so nothing ever gets sent to the RV park. Your new driver’s license will be mailed to the mailing address. Note: if you give them a temporary mailing address just to receive your new license (as we did), you will need to change it with the DMV after receiving your driver’s license.
We ended up choosing West Wendover KOA to establish our residential address for several reasons:
West Wendover is the closest city to where we were going to be (Utah and Idaho) during this process. We didn’t want to drive all the way down to Las Vegas.
Elko County (the county West Wendover is in) has lower vehicle insurance rates than Las Vegas (Clark County).
Elko County doesn’t require a vehicle inspections, which makes it easier to renew our vehicle registrations. Currently, only urban areas of Clark County and Washoe County (Reno) require vehicle inspections.
West Wendover KOA was the cheapest RV park (for monthly rates) I could find in northeastern Nevada (this part of Nevada is on the sparse side).
In addition to being cheap, the KOA was willing to let me pay over the phone and not show up the day I wanted to start my month-long stay. Side note: we didn’t want to actually have to stay a month at an RV park in Nevada. Our plan was to book a month just so we’d have the receipt, but only show up when we wanted to. West Wendover KOA was the only park that was OK with us coming and going whenever we wanted (we spent a total of 10 nights there and the rest of the time in Utah), and didn’t require me to show up in person to check-in (so we started paying for our RV reservation before we actually got there just to shorten the waiting game – see bullet below).
Keep in mind that you can only apply for your Nevada driver’s license after your 30-day stay has ended.
It cost us $330/month to stay at the West Wendover KOA plus a $50 deposit for electricity (you get refunded whatever amount isn’t applied to your electric bill). Long term RVers (like us) have to establish their own internet service, if they want it – the park’s WiFi is not made available.
Note: West Wendover itself doesn’t have a DMV office, the closest one is in Elko (~100 miles away).
3. Switch Your Vehicle Insurance
You will need to bring proof of Nevada insurance to the DMV. The insurance card needs to have your new physical address (RV park). The DMV website said that they’ll accept a printed out copy of the card (in case you can’t receive the original one the insurance company mails to you).
Our truck was insured with Erie Insurance while we were North Carolina residents, but unfortunately they don’t underwrite in Nevada. We ended up going with Liberty Mutual for an annual rate of $400 (includes comp and collision). Yes, our truck is old – a 1999. But this premium is still better than what we had in North Carolina.
For the Toaster, we stayed with Nationwide. We don’t have an attachment to Nationwide; they just had the best price out of the companies I called. Although it’s probably time to shop again.
Since the Toaster is a tow-behind trailer, the DMV didn’t ask to see our insurance for it.
4. Additional Proof of Residency
Since the RV park receipt only had my name on it and the truck insurance card also has my name printed on the card (the truck is registered under my name), it meant Jerud needed two separate forms of proof of residency.
For one, he used DMV 005 Certification of Nevada Residency: Jerud filled this out with me signing as the “Second Resident Attesting to Nevada Residency” (since I would become a Nevada resident before he did – by minutes).
We were prepared to have to give the DMV another proof of residency which would be “a record, receipt or bill requesting payment” (dated within 60 days) from the doctor’s office that Jerud had an appointment for later in the day. But our DMV agent accepted the RV park receipt. I don’t know if she was being nice to us or what.
Here is the full list of documents that the DMV will accept as proof of residency.
5. Print and Fill Out Form
There’s only one form you need to print and fill out ahead of time, and it’s the Application for Vehicle Registration. You’ll need a copy of this form for all vehicles you’re registering in the state (including tow-behinds).
If you browse on the DMV website, you may come across the Vehicle Inspection Certificate. This is a VIN inspection form. We found out that you do not need to print this out beforehand. They will print it out after they’ve checked your vehicles and entered the information themselves.
A VIN check will need to happen before you go to the DMV. In Elko, the VIN inspection station is behind the DMV (really behind the highway patrol building). No need to make an appointment; they are open Monday – Friday from 8 AM – 5 PM. The inspection station will also need to look at your vehicle titles.
You may also come across the Certificate of Inspection and Affidavit of Trailer Construction form while on the Nevada DMV website. This form is only needed to re-register a vehicle that’s been given a salvage title.
6. Bring Necessary Forms of Identification
You’ll need to bring one document that has your name and birth date on it proving your identity (we brought our passports) and your social security card. If you’ve changed your name, then you need to bring proof of all name changes in addition. This is all required whether you get a Real ID license or standard license. Many states are starting to issue Real ID licenses (supposedly by 2020 the federal government will require all driver’s license and IDs to be Real ID compliant). A Real ID license will allow you to to board a plane (only domestic flights) and enter secure federal facilities and military base.
Your passport isn’t required as a form of identification, but if you have one I’d suggest bringing it because it makes the process a lot easier.
Visit the DMV website for the full explanation of proof of identity.
7. Bring Your Current Driver’s License
The Nevada DMV will need your current driver’s license in order to give you a Nevada one. They will hole-punch “VOID” in it and then hand it back to you. Since your new Nevada license will be mailed to you in about two weeks, in the meanwhile you’ll need to keep your current driver’s license along with a paper printout that acts as your temporary Nevada driver’s license.
Your new Nevada driver’s license is valid for 8 years! When it’s time to renew, you may have the option to renew online or by mail. Visit this page for details (www.dmvnv.com/dlrenewal.htm)
8. Bring Vehicle Title
Remember to bring the title for all the vehicles you are registering in Nevada. The inspection station will also need to see this.
The state of Nevada is not a “retitling state”. This means that after you’ve registered your vehicles in Nevada, you will keep your original vehicle titles and not get new ones from Nevada.
9. Bring Your Vehicle Registration
The DMV will need to see that your vehicles are currently registered. It turns out that we had forgotten to renew the registration on our truck in NC. It wasn’t a problem at the Nevada DMV; we just had to pay a late fee (it was only $18 for a month’s late fee).
10. Bring Your License Plate
The Nevada DMV will take your current license plate in order to give you a Nevada plate. You’ll actually get two for vehicles and motorhomes – Nevada Is one of those “plates on the front” states.
The DMV agent handed us filled-out forms for “New Nevada Resident Plate, Registration Certificate Surrender and Title Statement” and told us we had to mail this to the NC DMV so they knew the Nevada DMV had taken our NC license plates. Make sure you contact your previous DMV to find out where the forms need to be mailed to and what other forms need to accompany the NV DMV one. This is also how you get the pro-rated remainder of your previous state’s vehicle registration fees refunded to you.
We can renew our Nevada license plate online annually. For the Toaster, we had the option to pay for either one or three-year registration. We chose the three-year option.
11. Form of Payment
The Nevada DMV accepts cash, checks and all credit cards except American Express.
12. Form To Fill Out At the DMV
When you arrive at the DMV, you will need to look for the yellow form named “Application for Driving Privileges or ID Card” and fill that out.
13. Mailing Address
The DMV can mail your driver’s license and voter registration card to a separate address than your physical address (the address that’s on your Nevada driver’s license). It will take about 10 days before it all gets mailed out. So be ready with a mailing address.
As I mentioned above, if you’re like us and gave them a temporary mailing address, you’ll need to contact the DMV and County Clerk after receiving your driver’s license and voter registration card to change that address. Otherwise, all future DMV mail will go there.
To change your mailing address with the DMV, you can print and mail the “Change of Address Notification by Mail” form: do it online, or go by the DMV. There is a $4.50 fee to do this.
To change your mailing address with the Secretary of State (for voting), you will have to call the county clerk that you’re registered in.
14. DMV Tests
Unless you have 12+ points on your driver’s license or don’t have a current driver’s license, you won’t need to take a written or driving test. The only test required at the DMV is a vision test.
DMV Fee Breakdown
We got our Nevada driver’s license and registered our vehicles in November 5, 2018 and this is what we paid:
Driver’s license: $42.25 (per person)
Truck’s annual registration: $95.66
Basic government service tax – Elko: $41.16 for the truck
Travel trailer registration: $123 for three years (it would’ve been $75 for one year)
Basic government service tax – Elko: $123 for the RV
Additional fees: There’s a bunch of miscellaneous fees (all just a few dollars)
Our total to register the truck and trailer, and to get both our driver’s licenses was $406.91
The process at the Nevada DMV office went very smoothly. Tip: if there’s a wait at the DMV (we had one on a Monday morning), go inside to get a spot “in line” (you enter your cell phone number and then can leave), and then go get the VIN inspection done. It took about an hour to get both our driver licenses and the two vehicles registered.
Good luck in your domicile change!