Arizona is a great place to live, but if you’re reading this you already know that. You’re reading this article because you’ve made a decision to live in Arizona or you’re close to making one. You love the perks like low tax, beautiful weather, gorgeous landscape, affordable in-state tuition (there’s almost a $20,000 difference between fees for out-of-state residents and in-state residents), a hunting or fishing license, etc.

The next step is to have know-how.

What qualifies you as a resident of Arizona? How long do you have to live in Arizona to be considered a resident? If you’re seeking answers to questions like this, you’re on the right path to the answers you seek. 

To be considered a resident of Arizona, you have to get a local driver’s license or live in the state for seven months. You also have to prove that you have lived there through your employment records, utility bills, and other Arizona proof of residency forms. Read on to get more in-depth and actionable information on how to establish residency in Arizona.

How to Become an Arizona Resident

Domicile Vs Residency

Before moving on, there are two important terms that have to be discussed, and both have to do with where someone lives.

A residence is a place you live temporarily, it might be for months or years, but the important point here is “temporary.” Domicile is where you plan to establish your roots, the permanent home that you plan to return to. This means you can reside in multiple places, for school, business, or other reasons, but only one place can be your domicile. Your domicile is where you will be taxed; it is where everything legal or official that concerns you as a citizen will be handled.

So, if you’re wondering, “Can I live in one state and claim residency in another?” The answer is not straightforward. Depending on your situation, you can maintain residency in more than one state, maybe for schooling or a job opportunity. The main point is, residency is more relaxed, you can reside in multiple places, but you can only have one state as your domicile.

Becoming an Arizona Resident

There are Arizona residency requirements that must be met before you can become a resident of the state.

According to Arizona law, a resident is someone who meets the following criteria:

  • Is in Arizona for “other than a temporary or transitory purpose.”
  • Might be staying outside the state for “temporary or transitory purpose” but is “domiciled” in Arizona
  • Spends more than nine months of the year in Arizona.
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Arizona Residency Requirements

Some major Arizona residency requirements are discussed in this section. You can follow the steps discussed below to start your process of becoming a resident of Arizona:

Establish a domicile in Arizona

One of the best ways to become a resident of Arizona is by making Arizona your domicile. This is an important decision and process, so it’s a good idea that you consult a lawyer.

Get an Arizona driver’s license

This is a very important step in becoming an Arizona resident. You are legally required to make yourself available in person at your local MVD office if you are registering your out-of-state vehicle in Arizona.

You’ll need the following:

  • Current out-of-state title or current registration certificate
  • Current out-of-state license plates
  • Proof of vehicle ownership
  • Completed title and registration application
  • Proof of car insurance
  • Photo identification
  • Money for applicable fees

Live in Arizona for at least six months

Actively living in Arizona shows your intent to make it your new domicile. After a while, you’ll have documents like proof of earnings, proof of filing an Arizona state income tax return, ownership of real property, transfer of banking services to Arizona, etc. that will help speed up your process of becoming a resident of the state.

The Arizona Department of Revenue considers you a resident after living in Arizona for nine months. They expect you to pay taxes like anyone else after living in the state for nine months during the taxable year.

Have children who attend school and do not pay out-of-state tuition

Having a child in the state’s school system and not paying non-residency fees is proof that the school system has accepted you as a resident. This may be sufficient proof for other agencies. So, enrolling your kids in school as soon as possible is a good way of integrating and becoming a resident of Arizona.

Get a job in Arizona

Getting a job means working and paying income tax in Arizona. Paying tax and having employment records in Arizona is a great way to begin the process of establishing residency.

Seasonal work in agriculture won’t do much help here because workers of this nature are known to move around from state to state. You need a job where you’ll be getting a paycheck stub from a business with an address in Arizona that will verify your employment.

Register to vote in Arizona

Another great way to cement your Arizona residency is to register to vote in the state. You can register to vote by mail in Arizona by printing a voter registration form, filling it out, and mailing it to your county election office. You can also register to vote in person.

Own a registered business in Arizona

Establishing and running a business that stores and operates vehicles or transports goods and people within the state are a good way to become a resident and get recognized by the state. Having a business means you’re there to stay, and you’ll also be adding value to the state.

Transfer banking services to Arizona

This might not apply these days with the advent of online banking solutions that make it possible to make transactions from anywhere. But it is a good idea to transfer your home branch account to Arizona for residency purposes. It doesn’t have to be a new bank if they have a branch in Arizona, but if they don’t, you might want to consider switching to a bank in Arizona.  

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Own real property

Owning real property, like a house, shows you’re serious about making Arizona your residence for a considerable time.

All the points discussed above are great ways to show your intent to be a resident of the state, it shows you’re cutting ties with your former state of residence and making active moves to make Arizona your state of residence and domicile.

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Conclusion

There are lots of perks that can be enjoyed when you become an Arizona resident, you enjoy the beauty of the state, you save money on tuition, vote in local elections, and get a fishing or hunting license.

The steps given in this article are not set in stone; there are various other ways of getting residency, like marrying an Arizona resident. You can also get exceptions if you are a member of the military or a teacher.

You can consult a lawyer to get more specific information on becoming an Arizona resident.

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