Can you use a virtual mailbox to get state residency?

The short answer is no, you cannot use a virtual mailbox address to establish your residency in a state. However, you can use it to maintain your state residency.

The reason you cannot use a virtual mailbox address as your physical address is because you may be required to show proof of address for various legal and government requirements, including your driver’s license, taxes, insurance, and when opening a business bank account.

How do you establish your state residency?

States will look at your place of employment, as well as the nature of your job and whether it’s permanent or temporary.  Here are some other steps you’ll want to take:

  1. Update your mailing address with the postal service and have bills and financial statements sent directly to your new home.
  2. Obtain a driver’s license in your new state.
  3. Register to vote in your new state.
  4. Close any accounts at local banks in your old state and open a new account in your new one.
  5. Buy or rent a home in your new state and sell any residences in your former state.
  6. Record how many days you spend in your new state versus your previous one.

After you’ve completed these steps to gain your state residency, a virtual mailbox can support your physical address (permanent address). For more information, check out this article to find answers to frequently asked questions regarding changing your residency to another state.

What is a domicile state? You might be saying to yourself “I keep seeing the term domicile with state residency.” Let’s talk about what that is.

Domicile is a legal term that refers to the place you intend to make your permanent home, and the place you intend to return to after temporary absences.

Your domicile is the state where you “live,” pay taxes, have a driver’s license, obtain health insurance, register your vehicles, and conduct your banking. It is different from your residence because while you may have multiple residences, you can only have one domicile.

Overall, if you’re thinking about changing your domicile state the above things to do in the original topic discussion is a good start. If you only get a mailing address in a new state, but still maintain bank accounts, a driver’s license, and voter registration in your old state, it will be tough to prove that you actually intend to switch your domicile.

Therefore, the list of things to do in order to make a solid case of your domicile intent, you need to do much more – obtain a driver’s license, register your vehicle, register to vote, switch your banking over, get insurance, and set up as many personal and professional ties as possible. That’s why a mailing address isn’t enough. You also need to do everything you can to break any such ties to your old state.

There are many factors to think about when considering a state for your legal domicile. To give you a starting point, here are some questions to ask.

How easy is it to establish domicile?

  1. Are there available virtual mailbox and mail forwarding services that you can use as your legal address?
  2. How are the state taxes? Example - Will there be state income taxes, property taxes, or sales taxes?
  3. How easy is it to register vehicles? Example - Are there state inspections that force you to return to the state more often than you would prefer?
  4. How much are license and registration fees? Example - As a digital nomad who runs a business, will you be able to register your van as a non-commercial vehicle? If you drive a large RV, do you need to get a special license?
  5. How are auto insurance premiums compared to other states?
  6. What are the health insurance options? Tip - if you need regular medical care, consider choosing a state that’s close to where you spend most of your time.
  7. Where is the state located? Is it convenient for you to get back there if you need to?

There are some challenges that you might run into such as banking (mentioned in the main topic description).

If you use a physical address that is not in the state where you are claiming domicile, this could cause other issues for you and potentially open you up for a domicile challenge.

This is because the Patriot Act requires bank and financial institutions to have a physical address on file that is not a PO Box, registered agent, mailbox address (includes a virtual mailbox). It’s made to combat fraud and money laundering.

You can still use your mail forwarding address as your mailing address, but it’s a good idea to have a physical address also known as proof of address because you could wake up and have your accounts frozen!

If you don’t have a home address (friends, family) or physical office you can check out TruLease, which solves this issue.