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Old 02-24-2015, 02:12 PM   #1
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Out of state registration

Hi all, We have bought a Class C (currently in CA on Idaho plates) & have just moved to NJ from overseas. We plan to keep the RV on the West Coast to do some exploring over the next couple of years & are wondering the best way to register the vehicle. This is nothing to do with saving on tax as our RV is older & low value, but as NJ requires inspections it's not really practical to register it here and drive all the way across country for an inspection. We have a mailing address we can use in CA and in AZ if that helps (& also SC but as it's on this side of the country it doesn't seem likely to be useful). It's highly unlikely we'll ever bring the RV out east (& if we did, we'd just re-register it here which would probably make things easier) Have looked through the forums and all the information I could find seems to relate to full timers, which is a very different situation to ours. Coming from New Zealand where we have single national (federal) vehicle registration, I'm unsure of how this all works but hopefully there are others on the forum who have been in a similar position. Thanks very much. - Allan

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Old 02-24-2015, 05:01 PM   #2
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Hi kiwial,
Consider registering the unit in the state that costs you the fewest $s each year. History says that is Montana or South Dakota. Google "motor vehicle registration attorneys montana south dakota". Constact a sampling to determine the process.

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Old 02-24-2015, 05:09 PM   #3
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Hi and welcome. When I was in the military years ago, I seem to remember a 3 state rule. You could not have vehicle licensed in one state, being stored, housed in another and your driver license in a third state.
You may want to investigate that to help you in your decision process. Good luck and hope you enjoy your travels in our magnificent country.
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Old 02-24-2015, 05:15 PM   #4
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it would seem either SD or MT would be your best options ... Forming the LLC in MT could be an issue but only the attorneys there could qualify that .. SD is pretty simple.
Give a shout to Laurie @ http://www.heggenlawoffice.com/. They are very helpful ...
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Old 02-24-2015, 06:10 PM   #5
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It is my understanding that to register a vehicle in a state, you must be a resident of that state.

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Old 02-25-2015, 11:29 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by lanerd View Post
It is my understanding that to register a vehicle in a state, you must be a resident of that state.


Ron is correct to a certain extent in that you must have some legal connection to a state to register in that state. There are exceptions but you must meet certain criteria for those exceptions to apply. If you own real estate in another state, that can create nexus for you to license a vehicle in another state. That is fairly common here with snow birds who live in NY but have a vehicle in Florida which they leave there year round. You do need to check with each state that you have a connection to in the West to see what may be required to do the licensing in that state.

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Old 02-25-2015, 11:46 AM   #7
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If you choose CA, having just gone through the process, you need to follow the procedures in this link. AAA cannot register out of state vehicles if you are accustomed to using the AAA DMV service.

Smog check first with Class C. (If it doesn't pass, consider another state!) Reg 31 form and inspection by CHP. Although the form says any peace officer or DMV can perform the inspection, my local DMV office said they will only accept DMV and CHP inspection, not "peace officer." (Although I did the CHP inspection after paying the fees, below.) And because I couldn't park my unit anywhere near the DMV office, I used the CHP (with an appointment with the designated CHP VIN officer). Also, in CA, if you don't pay the use tax (same as sales tax) and fees, within ten days of the purchase, there is an additional penalty applied to the fees. (Appropriate political statement intentionally omitted.) And because you can't get an appointment within ten days, to my knowledge, at any DMV office in CA busy issuing new CDLs (another political statement omitted), I had to walk in without appointment and wait (3 hours).
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Old 02-26-2015, 01:24 PM   #8
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In most cases a vehicle should be registered in the state where it is principally garaged.
I had a car I kept at my sister in laws place in CO and I registered it there. At that time I was a resident of SD with a SD drivers license and had a car and motor home registered in SD. I also had belongings stored in NH.

Later while still a SD resident I owned property in CO and a trailer that was garaged on the property registered in CO.

Now I am a resident of CO and every thing is registered in CO but have bank accounts in NH, SD, and CO.

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