How to Take Up Residence in a New State

By Hannah Russell, Director Camp Little Oak

Spring 2018 TSCS Cohort Member

As camp professionals, changing jobs generally means a new state.  This can be intimidating, especially for those who grew up with their roots in one spot.  Even beyond the emotional impact of not being in your usual habitat, the sheer number of things that one would never anticipate needing to do when you move states is overwhelming.  So, here are some things that you need to do when you get to your new home.

To help you think about these aspects, I have split them into 5 categories: car, legal, financial, medical and social.  Of course, these are not all of the things that you need to do (if you have children, this gets vastly more complicated), but here is some quick guidance.

As a last caveat, there are many things on this list about what it takes to start a new job with a new team.  But this will focus on the personal side of putting down your new roots.


1.     Car registration:

Some states have laws about how many days you can be resident in the state without transferring your registration.  Be sure to check on that.

2.     Driver’s license:

Some states also have laws about the limit on this as well

3.     Car plates:

In states, license plates are issued separately from registration.  Don’t assume that one will get you the other in every state.  Most states have a checklist on their DMV website to tell you about their rules

4.     Insurance change:

 This one might actually save you some money.  Insurance companies use zip code to estimate the probability of your car being broken into or being involved in a hit-and-run while you’re not in the car.  If you are moving to an area with less incidents, you might get a little check in the mail to make up the difference.  Also, the laws that insurance companies follow are different depending on where the car is insured, so they have to change some things on their end.  But, it’s usually not too much of a headache.  Many large insurance companies can change the state where the car is registered over the phone!

5.     Car maintenance and repair:

Before you are in that awkward situation, establish a relationship with a mechanic.  Ask around for where your neighbors take their cars for maintenance and repair.


1.     Voter’s registration:

You get to be represented in a new state!  Be sure to update the voter’s registration.  This can often be done online.  Find the website for your new state’s Secretary of State, and there should be instructions.

2.     Males: selective service update

If you are a male between 18 and 26, you are legally required to update your draft registration.  After the age of 26, you are not in the prime draft age range, and you are not required to update in peace time. 

3.     Address:

Be sure to submit a forwarding address request to the post office!  Beyond that, as things are forwarded to you, be sure to update whoever is sending you things!


1.     Changing Banks:

Much of the time in today’s world, changing banks is not actually required.  But, you should change your address at the bank.

2.     Update delivery addresses on any automated deliveries

If you have any automated deliveries, such as Amazon Prime, be sure to update the delivery address.

3.     Update address with any lien-holders

If you have any active loans (such as on your car), make sure that you update your lienholders about your location change. 


1.     Finding new providers

Ask around, check with your insurance company, and establish care with a new provider before you need it.

2.     Choosing a new pharmacy

In this same boat, make sure that you decide your new pharmacy, whether you prefer big-box stores or mom-and-pop shops. 

3.     Forward any existing, repeating prescriptions to a new pharmacy

If you take any prescriptions that have refills, make sure they are forwarded to your new pharmacy.


1.     Put down your roots

This is a little vague, but having roots is as important as changing your address.  Think what is important to you right now.  Do you really enjoy your book club?  Need your scheduled volunteer opportunity?  Really get fulfilled by your volleyball league?  If so, look around and find those things in your new home.  Become a part of your new society.

2.     Library

I always consider that I’m not moved in until I have my new library card.  It’s amazing how tethered you feel once you know your library. Even if you don’t routinely read or borrow, there are a lot of community activities attached to the library.

3.     Place of worship

If you’re religious, make sure you scope out a new place of worship.  Finding a new church, synagogue, mosque or temple is an important step in find your new place in a community.

Extras for those with pets:

If you have pets, make sure you find a new vet, groomer and kennel.

Of course, there are more things that you’ll need to do, and you’ll probably find more along the way.  But as you forge into a new state, find your new identity and love your new home.  You’ll do just great!