We don't do those things --- but over the past couple of years it seems as if we consider changing our domicile from South Dakota. Last year we were convinced we were going become Texans -- but then decided against it when it became a little cumbersome.
The only practical possibilities for us (everyone's situation may be different) are South Dakota, Texas and Florida. I did a cost comparison a few years ago and included estimated costs over three years. South Dakota came out the cheapest. But Texas and Florida were not too far behind...
We got to thinking about this again when our Mail Service Center in Sioux Falls had a change of ownership, expanded the facility, changed the name and the address. The impact on us was that we had to change our address also. I didn't really like that and only made a half hearted attempt to notify people over the year they gave us to to change. But we had to do something -- either continue with our residency in South Dakota or change to Texas or Florida.
Meanwhile, last summer Pam and I decided Texas was going to be our new domicile. The main issue there was getting a Class B license. We weren't opposed to the idea (we figured we'd learn a lot which would be helpful) and began studying for the test. The more we learned about the cost of getting the new license and the pain in the neck to go and do a test drive with our motorhome at a DMV facility -- the more we decided to forego that idea.
Then this past fall and winter we knew we were going to be in Florida for the winter months. A fellow blogger mentioned that they had become Florida Residents with St. Brendan's Isle Mail Forwarding Service in Green Cove Springs, FL.
We mulled it over a while and talked again of becoming residents of FL. (We married while in Florida and remained Florida residents until I retired from the Air Force in 1995. When I retired we became residents of Virginia.)
While we were at it, we checked out another mail service we heard about in Florida. MyRVMail was not not too far from Fort Walton Beach. We were there around Christmas time and decided to check it out. We went and talked to the folks, looked at their operation and did a 'site survey'. We decided that the facility was not the place for us and kept looking.
Next, we made it a point to go to Green Cove Springs (the county seat) and see what we thought of St. Brendan's Isle during our winter travels. We found a campground not too far away in Palatka, FL and did the same thing. We went to the business, took a look at the operation and talked with the nice people there. We were very impressed and decided this was the place for us.
While there at St. Brendan's Isle, we picked up paperwork and talked about the process of setting up a mailbox and becoming Florida residences. We were assured if our paperwork was together it would only take a couple of hours.
First thing we did was get a mailbox and start getting mail sent there to our new Florida address.
The web site at St Brendan's Isle is very thorough and has some detailed and information. Some of the things we needed to do were:
- File a declarations of domicile form with the Clay County Courthouse (conveniently located a couple of miles away) in Green Cove Springs
- Register to vote
- Get a Florida driver's license
- Turn in old drivers licence
- Show our passport or birth certificate (we had both)
- Have proof of Florida RV insurance
I think I spent the most time calling RV insurance companies for quotes. It took three or four days to call and get hold of someone, talk it over and then get an actual quote. Here are some of the ones I considered:
Of all the calls I made and emails I sent out - getting the RV insurance was the most time consuming. We decided to go with National Interstate. Next thing we did was to contact Dougherty and Associates in Sioux Falls and cancel our coverage with them.
After getting our form signed, we drove into Green Cove Springs and over to St. Brendan's Isle. We talked with the nice folks there and showed them our paper work. They explained where we needed to go in the Clay County Courthouse a couple of miles away.
We went over there, waited in line for a few minutes then got all our paper work processed. We picked a license plate type we wanted, got our picture taken and new drivers license and registered to vote -- all in one stop. It was very convenient. The first time cost to register our two vehicles in FL was $1,013. The second year cost drops about just over $300 ($46+$250). In South Dakota our registration for both vehicles cost us over $700 each year.
The whole process took a little over an hour and 1/2. We were in a bit of a fog as we took off the old plates and put on the new ones (on our car for the time being since the Roadrunner was back at the campground.) It seemed like it should be a momentous occasion of sorts -- moving from South Dakota to Florida -- but it was really anti-climatic.
That's how we became Florida residents. We figure we will be in Florida more often than South Dakota in the coming years but we will see.
Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!