Home Nomadic Lifestyle RVing

Setting up Domicile in Florida as a Full Time RVer

Last Update: March 2015

We just completed the process of moving our domicile to Florida from South Dakota.

In this post I’ll give you a little bit of background on why we initially selected South Dakota, why Florida seems to be a better choice for us now, and our process & costs of establishing our domicile in Florida.

It should go without saying – if you’re considering something similar, do your own research too.

Things change (this was posted in 2013!!) and our situation may not apply to yours.

Anyone who sells their stuff and hits the road faces the choice of where to call ‘home’ for mail, voting, taxes and other legalities. There are a lot of factors that you should keep in mind to make the best choice for you.

Read our article on Domicile State, Getting Mail & Voting for more information.

For US based nomads, generally Texas, South Dakota and Florida are the three top choices for a combination of no state income taxes and general nomad-friendly policies.

But that certainly doesn’t mean they are the only choices.

Why we first selected South Dakota

When Chris first hit the road (solo), he was living in California. California is not a good state for nomads who have no ties left there, and he was severing all of his. The state income taxes are ridiculously high, and vehicle inspections arduous.

As he only gave himself a couple months to go from apartment dweller to RVer, he didn’t have time to research out all the options – but knew it was a ‘someday’ project to set up domicile somewhere other than California.

When Chris and I met a few months later, I was homesteaded in Florida.  Florida is decent choice for nomads and it would have made good sense for Chris to just legally “move in” with me. But at this point, we were technically just dating and not committed to each.

Chris moving to South Dakota in 2007

However, South Dakota made more sense when he bought a new tow vehicle for the T@B trailer on our maiden cross country voyage in 2007, and it needed to be registered. One of the major benefits of South Dakota is the 3% excise tax on vehicle purchases. This can be a pretty substantial savings, as Florida and Texas each have a base sales tax rate of 6%.

Most everything could be handled remotely with the help of the awesome Terri Lund of MyDakotaAddress (the mail forwarding service we’ve been super happy with in South Dakota), we just needed to route by South Dakota within 90-days so Chris could obtain his driver’s license.

My courthouse steps protest of no spaces!

After my house finally sold in mid-2008, and seeing as we had now life committed to each other, started a business together, and were buying a house (on wheels) together – we thought it would be a good idea to share an address too.

Since South Dakota was closer to our location and routing, it was simply easier for me to switch my domicile to use the same address he had already established. So, I ‘moved’ to South Dakota right after we picked up the Oliver and started heading westward.

Me ‘moving’ to South Dakota seemed like a good idea until I got to the courthouse to obtain my license and discovered that South Dakota’s database system doesn’t support spaces in last names, and I had to use ‘Ve-Ard’ instead.

Grrrr.  For years I’ve been protesting ‘Great Places! Great Faces! No Spaces!’.

Why Florida now?

We’ve always left it a possibility that we’d legally ‘move’ elsewhere.

South Dakota served us well, but we don’t anticipate purchasing any new vehicles for a while to take advantage of the tax benefit.

Texas, while also an income tax free state and having the highly regarded Escapee’s RV Club for mail forwarding – really didn’t hold appeal for us.  With the bus, we would have needed a special non-commercial Class A or B driver’s license, would have to keep aware of our state inspection status whenever we crossed into the state, and their common law rules do not mesh well with our intentional unmarried status.

Here are the top reasons why Florida made the most sense for us at this juncture:

  • Both of our South Dakota driver’s licenses are due for renewal. South Dakota only gives you 5 years, and at the time you must return to renew in person. Ya know, when we first got our licenses – 5 years seemed like forever. My how quickly time sneaks up on us. Chris’ actually came due last November, and he’s been on an 180 day extension since (which is easy to request by just calling your county’s driver’s license office) and mine would have come due this summer. Returning to South Dakota really didn’t fit into our vision of where we’d want to be this year.. especially when dealing big family stuff in Florida.
  • Both our vehicle tags are due for renewal this month – giving us a perfect target date! Registering a motorhome in South Dakota is actually rather pricey, as they charge by weight.

    Florida = Pretty!

  • We tend to spend a good deal of time in the state.  In fact, in the last year we’ve been pushing the limits of overstaying our welcome as visitors (Florida allows you to be in the state for 6 months a year without needing to tag your vehicles). Being near family has been ultra important to us recently, given my father’s health… and heck, Florida has a lot of pretty to explore!
  • We have lots of ties to Florida:
    • Because of our family and business ties, our business is already a registered LLC in Florida.
    • Both our parents own property in Florida, giving us two relative’s addresses we can use in a pinch if a financial institution demands a residential address on file, which is becoming more common as financial institutions change rules to try to comply with the Patriot Act.
    • It’s reasonable to anticipate that if we ever settled down in one spot for a while, Florida would be a serious contender as it would be likely we’d want to help our parents as they age.
  • The health insurance options in South Dakota are rather limited, with only a few companies open to writing policies to those not physically living 6+ months a year in the state. We found Assurant who would write a policy for us nomads, however they only offered regional provider networks for SD policies. On Assurant’s specific recommendation, we had instead been using a relative’s address elsewhere to get access to a nationwide provider network, which seemed like a potentially questionable situation leaving us a bit on edge. (2014 update: The healthcare situation in South Dakota for RVers has gotten a lot more limited since we left the state.. it’s no longer recommended for any RVer needing nationwide accessible private health insurance.)
  • And the most important reason of all – I wanted my correctly spelled name back!!

The Process of Becoming Floridians

A lot of identity verification rules have been put in place since we hit the road, adding some additional hoops to getting a driver’s license in any state. Which means you need to start your process a month or so before getting your driver’s license to make sure you have everything you need.

Here’s the steps we recommend after going through the process ourselves:

  • Get quotes for your health and auto insurance and check into registration fees, so there will be no surprises.
  • Establish your new domicile address at least a month before you anticipate applying for your driver’s license or ID card. Do your research as to which is best for you – rates for insurance (vehicle & health) can vary widely at different zip codes.
    • We choose St. Brendan’s Isle (SBI) out of Green Cove Springs, Florida. They’ve been in business for many years serving the cruising, RVing and traveler communities, and we’ve heard nothing but glowing recommendations. They were easy to work with, sign-up was handled all online, and they provided all of the forms and instructions. They quickly answered our questions, including verifying that we could use our new address for our businesses without needing any additional occupancy license (we however can not use them as our registered agent). We could not be more impressed with their high tech scanning solution that actually lets you see the outside of incoming mail as soon as it arrives, and for a small extra fee they will even open your mail and scan the contents on request!  (If you sign up.. tell them Chris Dunphy / Technomadia sent ya!
    • The two other major services in Florida are American Homebase and MyRVMail – we honestly did not look closely into them. We already had our hearts set on SBI.
    • NEW (summer 2014): Escapees RV Club can now use their RV Park address in Bushnell, FL for their members who desire FL domicile and use their mail forwarding service out of Texas. They also say that the way their FL address is setup (as a campground, not a mail forwarding service), you can use this for a CDL and it won’t trigger Patriot Act residential address rules for financial institutions.  However, all your mail gets forwarded to their TX processing center before being forwarded to you – and you pay $1 per piece for this extra step (so they recommend you only use your FL address for official mail to support your domicile, and have everything else go to TX).
    • And of course if you have friends or relatives in Florida, you might consider using their address if they are amenable to being your forwarding service.
  • As with any mail forwarding service, you’ll need to fill out a Postal Form 1583 for each person or company that will be receiving mail at the address. This authorizes the service to forward mail to you. The form must be notorized, and you must send copies of 2 forms of identification for each person along with it.
  • Paperwork! Paperwork! Paperwork!

    Paperwork! Paperwork! Paperwork!

    Make sure your SSN card shows your name exactly as you want it to appear on your license. Mine was incorrect, so I made sure I had it corrected first. (My last name story is fun to tell around a campfire, but suffice it to say – I’ve been living with *3* different spellings due to how various agencies handled my space!) If you’ve changed your name for any reason, you’ll also need to bring along proper documentation such as your marriage license or court decrees.

  • Start changing your address with banks, credit cards and insurance companies.

If you’re moving from another mail forwarding service, you will also need to manually change your address for everything – as you can not file a change of address with the post office if you’re using a personal mail box service. You’ll probably want to keep service active at your old address for a while to make sure you don’t miss anything.


2016 Driver’s License Alert: Apparently, the state of Florida is no longer allowing some of the PMBs to be used on Driver’s Licenses (SBI specifically at this point) unless a RV or boat is also registered in Florida FIRST. So you will now need to register your RV/boat before obtaining a driver’s license. And, even in some cases – some DMV offices are not allowing PMBs at all, and instead put the tag number of your RV/boat as the address on the driver’s license.

Also, we have heard some reports of requirements to now register in your county of address.

Please consult with your mail forwarding service for their current instructions on the proper procedure their clients are experiencing.


  • You’ll need 2 pieces of acceptable mail with your new address to get your Florida driver’s license, which can include banking statements, insurance cards/documents, utilities, voter registration, vehicle registration, etc.  Be sure to pad in enough time for this, as it may take a couple weeks before you have mail with your new address to bring. You can print the documents from online – but it must be a mail piece addressed to you.

Visit GatherGoGet.com – Florida’s official list of documents they accept for proving your identity and address.

    • Each person in your household applying for ID will need 2 pieces of mail with THEIR name in the addressee area. GMAC (our auto/RV insurance company at the time) only included Chris’ name in the address area, and even though I was listed as a driver on the same piece of paper – they wouldn’t accept it. Thankfully, they allowed Chris to sign an affidavit verifying that I live in the same household.
    • Time switching your vehicle/RV insurance to Florida carefully – you will need the policy in force before you can apply for your title & registration. But if you do it too soon in advance, you may run into problems. We did ours a touch too soon and GMAC sent us a letter saying our VIN number had been rejected by the state of Florida because it wasn’t registered yet. Our agent, Gina Shaver at Epic Insurance (our awesome full timer specialist) got things squared away for us.. so in the end, no big deal.
  • At a county tax collector office in Florida - this one handled both vehicles and licenses.

    At a county tax collector office in Florida – this one handled both vehicles and licenses.

    You will need to get your driver’s license in person at any Florida DMV or many of the tax collector’s offices, bringing along all of your required documents. Your driver’s license will be good for 8 years, and you can renew online or by mail once before needing to appear in person again. Yes, this means you don’t need to return to Florida for 16 years (that’s closer to forever, right?).

  • Note, since we published this article, if you have a CDL (commercial driver’s license) the state of Florida no longer allows you to use a mail forwarding service on your license – you will need a ‘real’ address (regular driver’s license are a-ok using a mail forwarding service, although you may get some DMV agents who won’t use it and instead get creative by using the name of your RV as the address).

  • You can register your vehicles through the mail, or in person. Many tax collector’s offices offer both driver’s license and vehicle registration at the same counter, streamlining the process. We just sat down for less than an hour with a single agent, and she smoothly took care of it all. One downside of St. Brendan’s Isle is that they don’t offer vehicle registration services (MyDakotaAddress spoiled us), but they do provide the forms and basic instructions.

Hint: If you can go in person with all of your vehicles, don’t even bother trying to figure out the vehicle title & registration form HSMV 82040. You only need that headache-inducing form if you’re mailing in your title & registration application and/or someone on the title can’t show up in person  and/or you can’t bring all your vehicles with you.

Our 'VIN' is our coach number. Our bus was made before VINs!

Our bus was made before VIN numbers! It’s identified by the Coach Number.

    • You’ll need the title for any vehicles you’re registering in Florida in had. If you own your vehicles, like we do, that shouldn’t be a problem. But if you have a loan on them, your financial institution has them.. and the Florida DMV will need to send for them and will need your loan information (account number and address). This can take a couple of weeks extra, so plan around this.  If you’re doing this in person, it could mean needing to return to the DMV office a couple weeks later to complete the vehicle registration.
    • You’ll need a government issued ID and proof of Florida insurance to register.
    • Florida requires that you have your VIN physically inspected when you register, or by a Florida notary or by any police officer (even out of state). Form 82040 provides a space for this, but other methods may be acceptable
    • Florida currently has no further vehicle inspections – no safety checks, no smog checks, etc.
    • We couldn’t get a clear answer if you can register your vehicles at any Florida DMV/tax collector’s office, but the one we stopped at had no problem. SBI tells us some won’t handle vehicle registrations if your address isn’t in their county.
  • If so inclined, register to vote. You can find the registration form online here – but be sure to follow your mail forwarding service’s instructions. Our county has a preference for using a generic physical address for those not physically residing there. Time this carefully, as Florida considers registering to vote to be claiming the state as your domicile – and thus requiring your vehicles be tagged in Florida within 10 days. We decided to gamble with this by a week or so intending to use our voter registration cards for getting our driver’s licenses, but they didn’t arrive in time.
  • To complete the domicile move to Florida, it’s recommended you also file a ‘Declaration of Domicile’ with your county clerk. It too must be notorized, and in the case of our county – requires a $10 fee per person by money order or certified check. St. Brendan’s Isle provided us the form and instructions.

We started our process back in November 2012, with getting my SSN card straightened out. We signed up with St. Brendan’s Isle in mid-December, and started changing our addresses over in early January. We made the final changes to our insurance (health and auto) towards the end of January and got our driver’s licenses and vehicles registered in early February.

One other concern is jury duty requirements. South Dakota is known for easily exempting full time travelers when they are called upon (which I did have opportunity to verify), and the same has been reported for Escapee’s Members in Texas. Florida seems to have a decent track record for this as well, as there is a very high part-time resident population of snowbirds. (March 2015 Update: I just got my first county jury duty notification.. SBI advised me to write that I’m out of state at time and won’t be able to show up. Seemed to have worked.)

The Costs

Here’s a break down of the costs associated with our move to Florida, as well as what we anticipate will be our ongoing costs:

One-Time Upfront Costs

Vehicle Registrations

This will be your costliest part of moving to Florida, aside from any travel costs you might incur to get there.

Good luck trying to figure out what you owe to initially register your vehicles, which is one reason we opted to get our tags in person instead of by mail. We got a headache trying to tally up our anticipated costs and in the end our actual total came out considerably different.

When you register a new vehicle in Florida, your various fees will include:

  • New Wheel Tax: $225
  • Out of State Title: $88.25
  • New Plate Fee: $28
  • Registration/Decal: $46 – 75 (depending on weight/type)
  • Misc Fees: ~ $10
Putting our new FL tags on the Mini!

Putting our new FL tags on the Mini!

Basically, figure on around $410-440 per vehicle you are bringing into the state. Also, if you purchased your vehicle less than 6 months ago, and haven’t already paid at least 6% sales tax on it to another state – you’ll owe Florida their share.

In our case, our DMV agent proactively discovered that I had two old Florida license plate still on file that she was able to transfer to new tags, saving us the $225 new wheels fees! That was a very pleasant surprise.

This keeps us registered until next November, when the tags will be due again on Chris’ birthday.

Compare to South Dakota, which has trivial costs to register & tag a new vehicle – but their annual fees for large vehicles are rather hefty. And in Texas there is a new resident fee of $90 plus around a $30 new title fee, which combined with the annual tag brings the initial cost to about $160 per vehicle.

Hint: Florida tags come due on your birthdate, but they don’t prorate your initial annual registration. To save money put the person with the furthest out birthdate first on the title and/or time your registration around your birthdate!

Since we timed our move with the renewal of our South Dakota annual registration of $339.50, we figure it only cost us $23 more to get Florida tags (it would have been $450 more had our agent not found the two old Florida tags I had.)

Driver’s Licenses

  • Driver’s License Fee: $48/each

Florida Driver’s licenses are good for 8 years , making the annual cost $6/year. If you get your license at a tax collector’s office, there is an additional service fee of $6.25 .  You can renew them remotely once before needing to return in person, meaning you don’t have to return to Florida for 16 years.  Additionally, a standard Class-E license covers you for driving any vehicle registered as a recreational vehicle.

Compare to South Dakota, a driver’s license cost $20 and is good for 5 years – making the annual cost $4. However, you must return to South Dakota to renew every 5 years. (Note: in late 2013, SD changed this – your first 5 year renewal has to be in person, then your next can be online – making it so you only have to return once every 10 years after that first renewal.)  They also have no special licensing requirements for driving a RV.

In Texas, a driver’s license costs $25 and is good for 6 years – making the annual cost $4.16. However if your gross vehicle weight rating is 26,000 lbs or over, you do need a non-commercial Class A or B license (which requires a written and driving exam ). And if you travel in the state you must update your annual state inspection within 3-days at a cost of $14.50 per year (plus of course, be able to pass the inspection.)

Here’s a great resource for information on required driver’s license types for each state.

Notary Fees, Mail Set-Up, Filing Fees & Postage

  • Notary Services: $10
  • Declaration of Domicile Filing: $10/each
  • Postage:  ~ $1.50
  • St. Brendan’s Isle Initial Deposit: $100

All and all, we spent about $590 in one time costs to move to Florida. We would have owed South Dakota $379.50 anyway for renewals this year, plus would need to make a trip up there to take care of the driver’s licenses.

So we consider ourselves ahead given that perspective!

Ongoing costs:

Vehicle registrations

 Annually, we will be saving money – as South Dakota gets pricey on the larger weight vehicles like a motorhome. Here’s the comparison:

  • Florida: Mini Cooper – $57.15, Motorhome: $72.40 = $129.55
  • South Dakota: Mini Cooper: $69, Motorhome: $270.50 = $339.50

With a savings of $210/year, even if we had to pay the new wheel tax in Florida – it wouldn’t have taken but a little over two years to recover that. Our tag fees will be a bit higher in Florida, as we’ve since obtained personalized speciality plates.

Vehicle Insurance Rates

Our insurance rates for the Mini and Bus actually went up quite a bit with the move to Florida. As there are no other companies who offer full timer’s insurance on an old converted bus with contents coverage as high as we need them, we are left with little options for shopping around.

Please note, you likely will have more options – shop around multiple insurance companies, and you may find the price difference isn’t as substantial as we encountered. A good agent familiar with full timing is so worth contacting. Poliseek and Miller Insurance Agency are both highly regarded, and we’ve been super happy with Epic Insurance.

We carry pretty high levels of insurance, including comprehensive/collision and coverage for our contents. Our biggest increase was for comprehensive coverage, which we can only presume is related to the additional hurricane damage risk for our new zip code.

  • Florida: Mini Cooper: $813, Motorhome: $995 = $1808
  • South Dakota: Mini Cooper – $581, Motorhome: $627 = $1258

The same coverage, with the same company (GMAC now National General), we saw a $550 increase per year. We carefully factored that increase into our consideration for making the move – as the registration savings won’t balance this out.

 Mail Forwarding Service

We also saw an increase in our monthly fees for our mail forwarding service, however we also benefit from some really nifty digital features with St. Brendan’s Isle that will potentially reduce our overall mailing expenses and increase our geek points.

Viewing our mail online!

Viewing our mail online!

We could have just gone with St. Brendan’s Isle’s traveler’s service of $11.99/month without the scanning features – but how could we resist digital scanning??

Previously we never knew what had arrived to our mailbox, and had a monthly shipment sent to us. Now we get notified when new mail arrives to view a scan of the envelop online – and decide what to do with it (send, scan or shred). For a small extra per item fee, they’ll open our mail for us and scan what is inside. We then pay shipping costs for any items we want forwarded to us, whenever we want. (If you sign up, mention Chris Dunphy / Technomadia sent you!)

We should also note, we’ll continue to keep our service with MyDakotaAddress for a few months until we are no longer receiving important mail there. You can not file a change of address form with the post office when you use these certified mail forwarding services.

Health Insurance

Health insurance played a pretty large role in our decision to move to Florida. Assurant has two nationwide networks available to Florida residents, making moving our existing policy pretty straight forward. And there are lots more options for insurance that we can check out later. (As of 2016, Assurant pulled out of Florida – and we’ve switched to a Florida Blue  EPO on the exchange.)

When we called to get a quote back in October, we both actually saw a slight decrease of about $10/month, while actually getting more coverage. As our old plans were grandfathered in, the switch gave us the benefit of included preventative care services under the healthcare reform changes. (Read our chapter on Healthcare for Nomads for more information on this topic, and a new service in 2014 has come online – RVerInsurance.com, they are full time RVers who are insurance agents who can help you navigate the health insurance maze.) Our plans are high deductible ($5000/year each) PPOs with HSA accounts.

However, by the time we made the switch in January, Chris had passed the big 4-0 – resulting in a slight increase in premium being applied to the new policy. (Nice birthday present,huh?)

For our high deductible HSA plans, here’s the price differences:

    • Florida: Cherie: $2380/year, Chris: $2152/year
    • South Dakota: Cherie: $2500/year, Chris: $2115/year

As the price increase for Chris is not directly related to moving to Florida, we feel it’s unfair to say healthcare costs more in Florida. We’re just paying the increased cost of getting older sooner than we would have by making the move now.

Hooray, we’re Floridians!

New (again) Floridians!

New (again) Floridians!

We’re both happy to be Floridians again!  We will however miss the oddity of having South Dakota plates & IDs, which was usually an excellent conversation starter. We’ll still get some of that outside of Florida, but probably not as much.

Aside from all of the reasons mentioned above, we’ll also realize some bonus benefits:

  • Our vote will count more!  Florida is frequently a swing state in national elections – South Dakota, not so much.
  • Florida resident discounts – many tourist attractions offer valuable discounts and access to annual passes for residents. For instance, right now Disney World is offering a 4 pack of tickets to residents for just $129 (compared to $254 for non-residents). You don’t get any such perks in South Dakota!
  • A pleothora of speciality license plate options. Florida has an astounding array of colors, critters and causes to put on your vehicle. Our last step in fully completing the process will be applying for personalized license plates for the bus and Mini, with specialty tags that match us best. For ease, we just went with what they handed us. (Update: we now have personalized speciality tags on the bus and Mini.)
  • In Florida, if you have comprehensive insurance on your motor vehicles – it’s state law that there’s no deductible applied to windshield damage. (Came in handy in Spring 2015!)

And of course I’m over the moon – for the first time in my life, I have one legal spelling/spacing of my last name everywhere it counts.

Other RVer Florida Domicile Reports:

Our experience is now several years in the past.. and things are likely to continue to change. Here are some links to other RVing bloggers who have more recently gone through the process:

Winnie Views: How to Move To Florida in 1 Hour (Dec 2015)

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links, so, if you click on the link and make a purchase, we receive a commission. Note that all opinions are 100% our own and we only link to products we personally use and absolutely recommend! Technomadia is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

97 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

This blog is fueled by YOUR enthusiasm. Your comments help inspire the next post.. don't be shy!

  1. I was wondering since you’re moving your bus to Benson Arizona weather you were going to continue to have it registered in Florida and if you could maintain your residence in Florida if your vehicles were registered in Arizona? We are currently domiciled in Arizona but are going to begin using The mailing service in Green Cove Springs and thought it would be beneficial to domicile in Florida but wasn’t sure if we could leave our vehicles registered in Arizona?

    • As we’ll only be in the bus less than 6 months a year in Arizona (and won’t be taking local jobs or enrolling Kiki in local schools), we can leave it registered in FL.

  2. Nice to read about your tax strategies as domestic nomads! The world of mailboxes (we use Anytime Mailboxes) and domicile are becoming more challenging not only from a government perspective, but far more so from a banking perspective. Glad you sorted it out.

  3. Thanks for the information. Always appreciate you sharing! Can I ask which tax collector office you used in Clay County? Thanks and safe travels always!

  4. Great article, Cherie! I am also doing the Florida vs South Dakota comparison. As others have mentioned, South Dakota vehicle taxes and fees increased substantially a few years ago. In addition to higher fuel taxes and registration fees, the vehicle excise tax was raised from 3 to 4%. If that’s not enough, drivers license fees were raised 40% from $20 to $28 for a 5 year license.

    Florida remains 6% + applicable local tax. The local add-on is capped at $50.00 maximum.

  5. what if you are already full time residence of Florida but want to become full time RVers? Should we still use a mailing service and possibly a family members address?

  6. Thanks for all your info on making florida your domicle. We currently live in Florida so many of the things you went thru I have already accomplished. And as you I family here. We were thinking as to where to claim domicle and you have made up our minds. Thanks: Dan Rich Keep helping the RV community.

  7. Stephen and I have so much to think about as we begin to consider an RN lifestyle. With grown children who are home owners in both South Dakota and Florida, we have two options to choose from. Considering the high cost of insurance in FL, SD might be a better choice for us. As a nurse who works from home, RN licensure is also a consideration. We are very happy we found you two!

  8. i noticed your updates on this post concerning CDL’s. I was also told by SBI that their address would NOT be accepted for a CDL. Escapee’s said their Bushnell address would work but I was still a bit skeptical and worried that it would’t. We went down to Bushnell to establish our domicile last week and I got my CDL transferred with no problem whatsoever. What a relief!

  9. Possibly a useful note to contribute here. I already have a vehicle registered in Florida. I’ve been trying to figure out if I can transfer the plate to a newly purchased RV (including getting a new title made and paying taxes) without visiting the state.

    Turns out you can! I called both Okalooska and Leon counties, and they provided me with essentially the same instructions involving form 82040 through the mail–fill it out, have a law officer do the VIN verification, and mail it in with some copies of important documents.


  10. This is a great article, thanks for sharing. I wish this was an easier process, there’s no reason for this much state-mandated hassle.

    Just thought I’d chime in though. Seems like some policy is flagging addresses. I’m a florida resident and was denied voter registration using my TravelingMailbox address (even though this is on my FL driver’s license, last 2 years tax returns, and so on). My bank also had an issue with it.

    I don’t have a good solution yet–maybe having a bunch of addresses available?

    • Our mail forwarding service (SBI) worked with local officials to use a generic address for voter registration and sent us specific instructions – we’ve not had a problem.

      For banking, yes – the Patriot Act requires you have a residential address on file and banks can flag your account when they do audits looking for business addresses. It’s always a good idea to have a ‘next of kin’ address that supports your domicile claim ready to go.

      • That sounds excellent–I’ll have to look at SBI for voter registration. Unfortunately I have no kin in Florida.

      • Agreed. You need to have a physical address. But it doesn’t have to be your only address. You can have one (the last address where you lived, or yes, a next of kin…) on record and use your virtual mailbox as your mailing address.

    • It sounds like American Home Base gives you a physical street address to use for bank accounts, in addition to the regular po box, but it cannot be used for voter registration.

  11. Hi Cherie … Like you, I am a Digital Nomad … but I do my nomad thing world-wide. I just relocated from Eastern Europe to Thailand, and in time, I’ll be living somewhere else. I would like to change my domicile from Taxachusetts to Florida. Do you think joining SBI and following your recommendations (no vehicle involved) would work for me?

  12. Just thought I’d add something for potential Florida domicilers to consider. I saw something about this on the Escapees forum and that prompted me to check with St. Brendan’s Isle (where I have an inactive mail box, since I moved domicile to Texas some years ago). Okay, getting to the point, SBI informed me that Florida will NOT accept a commercial address for a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). I have a CDL so this matters to me. SBI is a commercial address. They are not experts, but basically advised that I would need to use the residential address of a friend, etc. if I wanted to keep my CDL. (Too bad I don’t have any local friends in FL!).

    Apparently Escapees through Bushnell, FL thinks they will be able to use their address for CDL, but I’m not sure that is certain. I want to use SBI for their rocking digital mail features (boy have I missed those since moving to Texas) so haven’t pursued that angle any further.

    I’m waiting on a call to the FL office in Tallahassee to find out what happens if I relinquish my CDL but then want it back if I move to another state in future. My guess is I’d have to start from scratch (which can be tough as you need the large vehicle to test in for the road test).

    Bummer, as I thought I had it all figured out! Now more research is needed.

    (Side note: FL is not the only state that handles CDL licenses differently. Texas had no problem giving me one when I moved there, BUT when it was lost I couldn’t get a duplicate online or through the mail like a “regular” person, but instead had to go there in person (and I was a LONG way from Texas). That was an unforeseen gotcha.

    Thanks, as always, for your great articles!

  13. Hi Cherie – thanks for the great information! I officially became a Floridian this week (Just waiting for my Bank to forward the title info to the DVM). I’m originally from New Jersey and now solo full time. It was a painless process (bring your Passport if there is any change in a name), although the registration is a tad expensive. But there are no hassles with inspections. I’m an Escapee and use the Bushnell Fl address for my domicile. Car and Rig insurance is more expensive then Jersey (surprise there!), but health insurance is cheaper. I’m now a resident of Sumter County, but was able to go to the tax office in Hendry County, where I’m staying for a few months, and do the DMV thing.
    Best of luck to you both and I totally understand about ‘me time’. Again thanks for the great info.

  14. Hi Cherie:
    Welcome back to FL, how could you ever leave for good. I am researching all info on line because I plan to travel in the near future. Just happen to find your blogs when searching RV travel. I have learned a lot from reading the information online. I will be traveling solo. Hope to meet you in the future.

  15. Hello, i loved your article “setting up domicile in florida as a full time rver”. I was researching something a little bit different, but I am having a lot of trouble finding answers. We are already Florida residents and live in a single family home. we want to sell out home, purchase an acre or so of land in the redland area and live full time in our RV. really staying there permanently and just going for short trips occasionally. i just cant seem to find info on the legality of this idea. One real estate agent said that you can only do it if you are building a home. That is not our intention, we just want to live in the RV. do you know anything about this? Thank you.

    • You’ll need to thoroughly research local ordinances for this.. in general, the rules your agent has told you holds true for many places, especially in areas incorporated by a town or city. Thus why very few of us RVers have achieved that dream 🙂

    • this is very common. its about codes. there is no easy place to go and see a list of counties that allow rv parked on private land. i know i have reasearched this alot. so many of us would already be on the homestead. its about money. you see they want it! simply check with the county. one must go really far out into nowhere to even have a chance at this and theres not that much nowhere anymore.good luck and keep seaching for solutions.

  16. “Setting up Domicile in Florida as a Full Time RVer” is a great resource for us.

    Has anything changed in the last 2 years on the domicile front?

    We are looking to wander as full-timers when we return to the US from a long assignment in Australia.

    Of course, as Full Time RVers, finding the best private health insurance, and a low cost domicile state are our #1 priority.

    Our research has found SD is still an attractive domicile for its low tax environment but shaky for private health insurance.

    Is FL still the best bet for wandering Full Time RVers?

    PS. If you are still looking for a 7-letter word for your registration, how about “GODSEND”?


    • We’ve actually kept this article up to date with any changes.. the biggest being Escapee’s offering mail forwarding option.

      FL is certainly a good option for some full time RVers. But you still need to do your own individual research to find your own best option. Best wishes!

  17. Really enjoyed your very informative article dealing with your move to Fl. We are planning on going full-time this summer and have done some research. ND was not considered because having to return to the state at a future time. Didn’t know if I would be able to return when the time came which leaves Fl. or Tx. Like Texas because we have family there, but the yearly vehicle inspection can be problem. We have many friends and fellow campers who winter in Fl. Our neighbors where we current keep our camper have a place in Lake Wales and are practically begging us to come down. So I think Fl. will be our choice. I appreciate you telling what steps were required and what your cost were. Again Thank you. Hopefully we meet in person down the road.

  18. Hi Cherie,

    I’ve read and re-read your caveat about timing of insurance and registration of vehicles but it doesn’t make sense to me.

    “Time switching your vehicle/RV insurance to Florida carefully – you will need the policy in force before you can apply for your title & registration. But if you do it too soon in advance, you may run into problems. We did ours a touch too soon and GMAC sent us a letter saying our VIN number had been rejected by the state of Florida because it wasn’t registered yet. ”

    I am just about at that point now in my transition to Florida residency for my full timing adventure, so I’d like to get this right to save tickets/headaches. Can you expound on that bit a little more?


    • Obviously, we didn’t time it right ourselves. If we knew the secret timing, we’d have posted it. Consult with your insurance agent and make your own best decision.. and/or have them on call to sooth things over if FL tells your insurance company they don’t have your vehicles on file yet.

  19. Sorry, maybe “glossed over” wasn’t the right word. I didn’t really ever give thought to whether or not I’d need to show up in-person, so I guess it was I who glossed over that potential problem.

    >you guys are just setting off for a one-year trial? Is changing domicile worth the while?

    That’s what I’m starting to wonder. Right now we both live in Chicago, but we won’t have a mailing address here after our lease expires. We can probably get domicile in Michigan via family, and we intend to buy our rig around there anyway. Either way, we have to establish it somewhere.

    I guess it comes down to the fact that we won’t be within miles of TX or FL any time soon, so we just need to go with whatever’s easiest.

  20. One thing that kind of got glossed over here, that has me very concerned, is the “show up in person” requirement for FL licences. We have no plans to be within 1000 miles of Florida until Dec 2015. SD is out because of insurance, and TX has those class b licences for heavier vehicles.

    Are we just SOL here? Do we need to make a special trip just to get domicile? Or should we just set up shop in Michigan where we have close relatives?

    • Don’t really think it’s ‘glossed over’ – as almost any state is going to require you show up in person to get your first driver’s license. It’s all part of the identification process.

      As far as I’ve understood your situation from your various postings.. you guys are just setting off for a one-year trial? Is changing domicile worth the while? Perhaps look at this topic later after you’ve decided if you make this a long term thing or not. You’ll have to assess lots of factors to find the right choice for you, and the logistics of getting set up is certainly one of them. One of the big reasons we ‘moved’ from SD back to FL – we just couldn’t make it to SD for driver’s license renewal that year.

  21. We ready to “move” to FL, but I’m a little worried obtaining driver’s license. Its confusing because I read some street address of mail forwarders are not accepted, some do??! FL has no issues with street address from Mail Forwarding Services at St. Brendan’s Isle?

    • No, you will have no problem using the SBI address to obtain a driver’s license. We went through the process in 2013. We’re not RVers but are full-time travelers. We bought a car in Florida and did all the other steps to domicile there, including obtaining driver’s licenses. Smooth sailing!

      • Only caveat being what I mentioned above (just today though) which is that you cannot transfer a CDL (commercial driver’s license) to Florida using the SBI address (or any commercial address). I’m looking at possibly giving up my CDL (boo! had it for decades now) because I want the Florida health insurance options, and I LOVE SBI’s mail service (used it in the past when traveling but had to put it on standby when I moved domicile to Texas).

  22. Cherie; Thanks so much for all that you and Chris have done by filtering out all the problems myself and others face in their decisions to go full time. Our home is in esscrow as we speak!!!! Huray 4 years after an early retirerment and its finnaly happening. Folks like you, and your friends Nina & Paul of Willingit, have helped us so much. We had already desided on Florida as a home base as we to have family there also. We’ll hopefully be rolling into Tampa some time in Jan. 2015. We look forward to meeting all of you some where on the road Matt & Ida Thresher, X california mountain folk, Pollock Pines, Ca. Ahhhhhhh at last!

  23. If any want to use South Dakota for their home state that travel full time in an RV, you might want to check out different states. My 14 year old Motor Home the plates have almost doubled in the last 3 years. It seems greed is getting a hold of the politics in Pierre South Dakota.

  24. I couldn’t resist bringing some joy today. I just read your writeup on changing domicile to Florida. Your description was as elegant as any code could be. Thank you so much for making so many things clear and most of all chronological, with inter-dependencies identified. We still maintain a home in Maryland but are on the road much of the year. Since Maryland is such a high tax state, we look forward to some relief.

    I look forward to more of your writing and hope to see you on the road….

  25. Very interesting and informative article. Thank you so much! it comes just at the right time for me.

    I have a comment about the xxxxx Law Firm*… I called them because I may be interested in their service for my business. Usually, the first consultation is free. Here, they want to charge me $300 right of the bat, even if I do not know if they can help me. Or if I’d like to work with them. And after that, I am afraid I won’t… it’s kind of steep for a few minutes conversation.

    I had just a basic question about using SBI address for registering my small business in FL and Scott the owner will talk to me tomorrow (and I’m sure he’ll do that for free). They sound nice and I will sign up with them. I won’t forget to tell them about your referral.

    Thanks again!

    *edited by Technomadia to not reference the law firm any longer.

    • Thanks for letting us know about the law firm.. we’ve noticed a lot of steep increases in their rates recently as well, and unfortunately, have not been able to utilize their services ourselves.

      And yes.. Scott at SBI is awesome. He said no problem with us using the address for our business.

      • Thanks, Cherie! I read in your post that you have family members in FL who can help in case you need to provide a “real” address. This is not our case, so before starting anything I am working to have all my ducks in a row (can I say that?). Hi to Kiki!

      • Your comments prompted me to do a quick refresh on the article (thank you for that!). Another brand new option is the Escapees (www.escapees.com), they just started offering use of their RV Park’s address in Florida as a domicile address. They’re awesome folks too.

      • We like the Jacksonville area because of the location and also the Navy Base. The SBI zip code will allow us to keep our Tricare prime medical coverage. But I’ll look into the Escapees. Thanks for the tip! I thought their were only in Texas and this would not have worked for us.

  26. Thank you SO very much (once again) for sharing so much of your knowledge and experience with the interwebs. Your recommendations for insurance and mail forwarding are a major help. Just signed up with SBI (mentioned you as referral) for mail and have requests for quotes out to Millers, Epic and Poliseek.

  27. Due to the increase in auto license fee’s, our tags are almost double in last couple of years with South Dakota. With our 14 year old Motorhome fee is almost twice as much. With drivers license they wouldn’t except my original birth certificate, I had to send off for a certified birth certificate.

  28. I love your blogs and have taken in as much info as I can get about your advice. I enjoy your facebook page too.
    I will choose Florida for our Domicile, and the place you recommended, St B’s something, sorry I forgot, thanks for that.
    But I am having trouble trying to find a way to have TV on the road as a Full timer.
    Dish wants a permanent address to give us service. We will no longer have a home as we are hitting the road next fall and leaving everything else behind. Sorry but I NEED my TV!
    I know you guys have been on the road for years and can probably set my mind free with this problem. Also internet would be nice, I still have to pay bills and stuff!
    This is a big undertaking for me and my husband, we haven’t even been camping yet! We are planning several long weekends to get the hang of it.
    2 months ago we bought a 1982 Allegro in very good shape for as old as it is and have been replacing water pipes and making sure the engine is good, stuff like that and I am looking forward to my first ever weekend.
    I would like to buy your new book as soon as it comes out too. Or I guess I can pre-pay for it and have it shipped when it’s done.
    Anyways I am in need of help especially the TV thing!
    Thanks so much and I hope to bump into you guys at an event in the near future.

    • Hi… and welcome. For internet, would recommend checking out our Mobile Internet Resource page at https://www.technomadia.com/internet. We did a live video chat overviewing a lot of the current options there just this week, and you’ll find the archive there. Should answer a lot of questions.

      For TV, afraid I have no advice to share. We’re not TV folks and don’t have it on board. We rent RedBox and Netflix discs, and stream/download content when we have access to unlimited and fast enough bandwidth. But know that many sign up with DishTV and DirectTV just fine on the road – perhaps some of the RVing forums can help? I know there’s one dedicated to this topic over at http://www.rvnetwork.com.

      Best wishes!

  29. Thanks for the help, we signed up with St. B’s and let them know you sent us. We will spend the next 2 months following your steps for completing the process. The only thing not mentioned here that I need to do is contact the person in Clay County about Homeschooling. Her contact info was easy to find on the FL website. I hope there are no problems with the 411 Walnut address..

    • I hope it all works out, and thanks letting SBI know you heard about them through us. As we’re childfree by choice, we have no clue about how homeschooling works in Florida. We do know that many families on the road end up choosing Texas as their domicile for more versatile schooling requirements. But again, don’t have a clue as to the specifics.

      • Texas has zero requirements other than you file a declaration. In Florida we will need to have an annual evaluation, which can be done electronically now it seems. They also have virtual classes online for homeschoolers, which I am interested in learning more about. Thanks for your help!

      • I did confirm with Clay County that the SBI address won’t be a problem when registering the kids for homeschool.

  30. Love your site! I ordered your Internet Handbook fm Amazon today. They don’t have your “No excuses” listed. But after looking at it I can see that it would be tough to keep a print version up to date. Your domicile info was very complete and helped a lot. We’re going back to Florida for the winter then plan on selling our Ohioo stick home in the spring. Your breakdown helped me decide our Florida vs SD domicile dilemma.
    Did you by chance investigate insurance differences based on where in FL your address was? i.e. a Pensacola address vs Dade County address?

    • Hi Bruce.. thanks for buying the Mobile Internet Handbook! We are planning to finished up the ‘No Excuses’ series and see about selling it there too.. but for now, just the PDF version is available (https://www.technomadia.com/excuses).

      We did not research out different insurance rates for different counties, as we were pretty set on going with SBI as our mail forwarding service.

  31. Your posting on obtaining a FL domicile was excellent and very similar to what we went through when obtaining ours. We started by using my daughters address and having mail forwarded by her but they move more than I like to change addresses so we now use MyRVMail in Crestview. They also scan and post what mail we have and will scan the contents if needed.
    Your posting is the first one on obtaining domiciles that commented on FL being a swing state in national elections and is a good point to consider. TX will be one in another 10-20 years but SD will never be. I like to think my vote actually means something.

  32. Cheri, Thank you so much for all this info. We had seriously considered SD but as we plan to spent time in FL your info has tipped the scale. It all is so overwhelming, however, your assessment of everything is a big help. Thanks again!

  33. Actually, after reading those again. It doesn’t have to be Clay county, I just know Clay has been historically ‘easy’ to register.

  34. Thanks for this well thought out blog post. I have been using St Brendens Isle for 10 years (I live the same way as you, only on a boat instead). But I kept my drivers license and vehicle registration in my homestate of VA at a family members addres. VA does not make it easy at all, so I looked into MD as I often spend summers there, but again, not easy. Some states just dont like people that live in homes that move! So I finally broke down and am about to start “moving” to FL (even though I rarely spend much time there). St Brendens is helpful, but I really love the detailed info you gave on registering your car there, it was a big concern of mine (I keep a car in MD for use in the summer, but I cant register it there without a physical address in state). Anyway, thanks again, you likely saved me a lot of time in research!

  35. Hi, thanks for the great information. We have lived in IL most of our lives and would like to full time in a year or two. In IL you have to have a permanent address and live here at least 6 months of the year for health insurance. Unless I missed it, it sounds like FL doesn’t have that requirement? Of course we will have to see what happens with the affordable care act. Thanks, Bruce

  36. My fiance and I love your articles. Once we get married at the end of this year, we plan on buying a RV and full timing. Our friends and family think we are nuts, and keep telling us that RVing is for retirees, criminals trying to stay off the radar, and lowlives who can’t hack it in the “real world.” We are both attorneys in our early thirties who have never been comfortable with the so-called American dream. All of our friends tied down with $5000 a month mortgages, BMW payments and such freak out about how hard and long they have to work to maintain their lifestyles, but are afraid to scale back lest they appear “unsuccessful”. My intended and I would rather folks think us crazy than end up like a lot of our older colleagues— the pay doesn’t seem worth the stress and emotional baggage. In any event, thank you for your posts!

    • Thanks for stopping by guys! Oh, how we know that initial reaction from friends and family.. so good for you both for keeping your happiness as the priority! If you haven’t found it already, come join us at NuRVers.com – it’s a community of us younger-than-tradtionally-retired folks traveling full time. It’s always good to be amongst peers who are supportive of your choices, and a great place to keep asking questions as you embark on this journey. Keep in touch, for sure!

  37. Excellent and helpful article. Sorry if you covered this (I might have missed it)…

    If you purchase another car, do you need to return to Florida to register it?

    • Hi Dave –

      To the best of my understanding, any subsequent vehicle registrations can also be handled via the mail. You’ll just need the VIN inspection done by any police officer on the form I linked to in the article.

  38. Great write up. Glad I’m already a resident. New patriot act driven d.l. requirements are a pita, but the sales tax was much worse. Welcome home!

  39. Mary finally became a Texas resident with a Texas DL! Thanks for the info. For anyone considering Texas do your homework on identity and residency requirements in advance so you don’t end up making two trips like we did. Also, I have heard if you need the Class A or B Non-Commercial License in Texas, you are required to take the written and driving test for those licenses. I already had a Class A Commercial CDL so I didn’t pay much attention to the requirements.

    • Thanks guys.. avoiding that second trip is why it pays to research in advance.

      And yes, my understanding is that there is a test for the Class A or B non-commercial license. From what I’ve read, it’s not too difficult to pass tho with some pre-studying.

  40. One thing to add is that as lo/? ”

    One thing to add is that as long as you have a valid passport you do not need name change documentation to get your driver’s license. That is per the GatherGetGo website anyways. We are counting on this as Karin no longer has her marriage certificate from her previous marriage, when her name changed.

  41. Excellent, excellent post that answers many of my questions. Thank you SO very much for the valuable information as we’re about to do a lot of this next month ourselves!

  42. You’ve already done the work on your personalized license plates too. Why wouldn’t they say Zephyr and Pixel? Unless you keep those plates when you change vehicles. Then we’re back to Nomadia. Supplemented with Techno?

    • We already checked on Zephyr & Pixel, and they’re already assigned to someone else. We need to come up with something unique in 7 characters or less 🙂 Nomadia is an option, if we wanted to keep that.

  43. As always you have done your homework and reported the findings in a clear concise manner. Thanks for your diligence and sharing.

Add your comment now!