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How to Become an Ohio Resident [2024] | 🙋‍♂️ Guide to Ohio Residency Requirements

Last Updated on: 5th May 2022, 10:14 am

Are you planning to move to the Buckeye State, or have you recently relocated to Ohio? Moving is a long and complicated process and you have plenty of items on your to-do list, but establishing residency in Ohio definitely deserves attention.

As soon as possible, it’s important to take steps to officially establish residency and start building ties to your new home. Here’s how to become an Ohio resident, changing residency from one state to another, and Ohio residency requirements you need to know.

Why Establishing Residency in Ohio Is Important

Unless you’re planning to enroll in college after moving to a new state, you may not have given much thought to state residency laws. However, there are many important reasons for establishing legal residency in Ohio and documenting your new state of domicile.

Failing to establish residency in Ohio can lead to dual taxation or owing taxes on your entire income in two states. It may be years after you relocate that you get a notice from the revenue or taxation department of your former state demanding income taxes and challenging your residency. If this happens, you will need clear, convincing evidence you meet Ohio state residency requirements and when your residency in your former state ended.

Of course, Ohio residency matters if you are going to enroll in a public college or university to get in-state tuition. In this case, you must know how to prove residency in Ohio as there is a high burden of proof for tuition purposes!

You also need to know how to become an Ohio resident to vote in local and national elections and even qualify for state programs like business incentives, first time home buyer programs, and benefits.

Ohio Residency Requirements | How to Establish Residency in Ohio

Ready for the process of becoming an Ohio resident? This complete guide walks you through how to establish Ohio residency. Note that not all of these steps are actually required. Remember that residency is established by not only living in the state but indicating your intent to make Ohio your state of domicile or permanent home. The more steps you take, the stronger the proof of residency Ohio and other states can examine if residency is challenged or you apply for in-state tuition or other perks reserved for residents.

Establish an Ohio Residence

The first and most important of all Ohio residency requirements to meet? Actually having an abode or home in the state. Buying a house or signing a lease to rent a home are both acceptable for establishing residency in Ohio.

Part of settling into your new home means setting up utilities. Your lease or mortgage documents and utility bills can be used Ohio proof of residency when it’s time to transfer your driver’s license to Ohio and register your car.

Change Your Address

Once you have a new address, you’ll need to complete the Ohio change of address process. Start by setting up mail forwarding with USPS. This will make sure most of your mail is forwarded to your new address for up to one year.

Important: you must change your address individually with financial institutions, important contacts, businesses, and subscriptions because mail forwarding is not permanent, doesn’t catch everything, and does not include packages let alone Fedex and UPS mail.

You may find it helpful to review your mail for the past few months and your email to find subscriptions, services, and other contacts to add to your list.

Make sure you change your address with your former state’s Department of Taxation or Revenue. For example, if you are moving from California, you should complete Form 3533 Change of Address and mail it to the Franchise Tax Board.

Important change of address links:

Get an Ohio Driver’s License

The next step is transferring an out-of-state license to Ohio or getting a new driver’s license. Ohio law requires you to get an OH driver’s license or ID within 30 days of establishing residency in Ohio.

If you are transferring a license to Ohio, you will need to visit a deputy registrar license agency with the following documentation:

  • Proof of full legal name
  • Proof of legal presence in the U.S.
  • Proof of birth date
  • Proof of Social Security number
  • One or two forms of Ohio residency proof with your OH street address

You can see the BMV documents accepted as proof here.

Register to Vote in Ohio

You can register to vote when you apply for a driver’s license at the BMV. If you didn’t and want to register later, there are several options.

The easiest option is registering to vote online. You will need:

  • Ohio driver’s license or ID number
  • Full legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Ohio street address
  • Last four digits of your SSN

Alternatively, you can register to vote by mail with the Voter Registration Form. This must be signed and mailed to your county board of elections (BOE).

Notify the DMV and Cancel Your Car Registration

Notify the DMV in your current or former state that you are moving to a new state so you can cancel your car registration and surrender your plates. In many states, you can get a refund of the unused portion of your registration fees. Some states also require that you submit a DMV change of address form or otherwise notify the DMV within 30 days of moving, even if you are leaving the state.

Register & Title a Car in Ohio

To register a car in Ohio, you must first convert your out-of-state title to an Ohio vehicle title. You must visit a County of Clerks Title Office and bring identification, your out-of-state title, an out-of-state VIN inspection (which can be done at an Ohio deputy registrar license agency or licensed dealership), a lien release (if applicable), and payment for the title fees.

With an Ohio title, you can now register your car at a deputy registrar license agency. Bring your OH title and Ohio driver’s license. You will need a notarized Power of Attorney if only one of two owners can be present in person. You will be required to sign a Financial Responsibility Statement and pay the registration fees.

Note: Cuyahoga County and Summit County are E-Check counties. Residents must have their vehicles inspected every two years. You must have an E-Check certificate to register your vehicle in these counties! Visit the Ohio EPA E-Check page for testing information and locations.

Other Ways to Prove Residency

Some of these options may seem unnecessary for Ohio proof of residency. However, they can be important for demonstrating Ohio residency for tuition purposes or if your former state audits you and challenges residency. Some states have even been known to check whether you have a primary doctor in your new state or still belong to a church in your former state!

  • Get or transfer a professional license in OH.
  • Open a new bank account in Ohio or rent a safety deposit box.
  • Enroll kids in a private or public school in Ohio.
  • Join a local church or organization.
  • Join a local gym.
  • Find a local primary care doctor.
  • Apply for the homestead exemption for property taxes if eligible. Learn more about Cuyahoga County real estate taxes here!
  • Get a license for your dog. Ohio law requires dog owners to renew their license every year. The fee is $20/year for Cuyahoga County and $18/year for Summit County.

Ohio Residency for Tuition Purposes

Want to qualify for in-state tuition? Under Ohio residency law, you must apply to be classified as an Ohio resident and meet Ohio residency requirements for tuition.

To meet Ohio in-state tuition requirements, you must have lived in Ohio for the 12 months prior to registering and demonstrate intent to make Ohio your permanent state of residence. This means it’s not simply enough to show an Ohio mailing address or employment for the last year – you should be ready to present many forms of Ohio proof of residency like registering to vote, getting a license, registering a car, and more.

The difference between in-state and out of state tuition is significant. Here is Ohio State tuition for 2021/2022:

  • Ohio State out of state tuition: $35,019
  • Ohio State in state tuition: $11,936 (Columbus)

You can use this residency questionnaire to see if you meet Ohio State University residency requirements. You will need to complete an Ohio residency application to be classified a resident for tuition.

There are some ways to get Ohio “instant residency” for tuition:

  • Students dependent on a parent or spouse who is employed full-time in Ohio has “instant residency” under the C-3 provision.
  • The C-8 “Forever Buckeyes” provision extends in-state tuition to graduates of a private or public Ohio high school if they left the state but returned.
  • Ohio in-state tuition reciprocity agreements with four states let you receive Ohio in-state tuition if you are still classified as a resident of Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana, and West Virginia. Make sure you check the participating institutions in Ohio tuition reciprocity agreements!

If you have recently moved to Ohio, you can qualify for E-1 conditional residency if you are self-sustaining and employed full- or part-time. You can register for up to 10 hours (graduate) or 11 hours (undergraduate) per semester.

Ohio Residency for Tax Purposes

Under Ohio law, you are considered an Ohio resident for income tax if you are domiciled in the state. If you live in Ohio, you are presumed to be a resident.

You are considered an Ohio part-year resident if you were an OH resident for a portion of the tax year but a non-resident for the rest of the year. You can claim a non-resident credit for income earned as a resident of another state.

In Ohio, you are presumed a non-resident if you can meet these three requirements:

  • You have a home or abode outside Ohio for the whole tax year,
  • You have no more than 212 contact periods in Ohio for the whole tax year (defined under R.C. 5747.24), and
  • You filed a non-Ohio residency affidavit

Failing to file the non-Ohio residency affidavit is a common reason for taxpayers to be presumed residents even after moving. In this case, you must meet the common law test by presenting clear, convincing evidence you have abandoned your Ohio domicile and established residency elsewhere.

Living in Ohio and Working in Another State

If you live in Ohio but work in another state, there’s good news: Ohio income tax reciprocity agreements with Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia mean wages or salaries you earn in these states are taxable to Ohio only. You will not pay income taxes to both states.

Domicile vs Abode

Abode refers to a home. You can have more than one abode in one or more states. You can only have one domicile. Your domicile is not necessarily where you spend more of your time, but it’s the home you intend to make your permanent residence.

If you own property in another state, make sure you take steps to prove Ohio residency.

How to Change State Residency for Taxes

After moving to Ohio, it’s important to notify your former state’s Department of Taxation. Some states, like Ohio, allow you to file an official affidavit declaring you are a non-resident. Some states also have affidavits to file to declare yourself a resident.

If you are moving from a state with high income taxes known for going after former residents, such as New York or California, your Ohio residency may be challenged at some point. The more evidence you can provide that shows your intent to make Ohio your permanent residence (such as registering to vote), the better.

Ohio Fishing License & Ohio Hunting License Residency Rules

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR) defines an Ohio resident as someone who has lived in Ohio for at least 6 months before applying for a hunting or fishing license. You will need proof of residency in Ohio to get a resident license or multiyear/lifetime license.

Ohio is a great state for fishing with more than 50,000 ponds and large lakes, 7,000 miles of streams, and 124,000+ acres of inland water. Planning to fish after becoming an Ohio resident? Make sure you know residency rules for getting an Ohio fishing license!

You can save money on a license with Ohio residency proof. Ohio non resident fishing license options are limited to 1-day, 3-day, or 1-year licenses. An Ohio resident fishing license is also available for 3-year, 5-year, and 10-year terms with lifetime licenses and senior discounts available.

How much is a fishing license in Ohio?

  • Resident 1-day license: $14
  • Non-resident 1-day license: $14
  • Resident 1-year license: $25
  • Resident senior 1-year fishing license: $10
  • Non-resident 1-year license: $50.96
  • Resident 5-year fishing license: $120.18
  • Resident senior 5-year license: $45.07
  • Resident lifetime fishing license: $599.04
  • Resident senior lifetime fishing license: $84.24

Ohio is one of the best states for deer hunting and turkey hunting. The same residency rules above apply for getting an Ohio hunting license. Only Ohio residents qualify for discounted senior licenses and multiyear licenses as well as discounted licenses and hunting permits.

How much is a hunting license in Ohio?

  • Resident 1-year hunting license: $19
  • Resident senior 1-year license: $10
  • Non-resident 1-year license: $180.96
  • Resident 3-year hunting license: $54.08
  • Resident senior 3-year license: $27.04
  • Resident lifetime hunting license: $449.28
  • Resident senior lifetime hunting license: $84.24
  • Resident free senior license: FREE

As you can see, a Ohio non resident hunting license is 9x more expensive than a resident license!

Ohio Residency Requirements FAQ

What makes you a resident of a state?

You are generally considered a resident of a state once you have lived in the state for an entire year. However, for many purposes, you are legally a resident as soon as you move to a state and establish a domicile or permanent home where you intend to return.

Can I live in one state and claim residency in another?

State residency laws vary. It’s possible to meet residency requirements in more than one state, but you may have only one state of domicile or permanent residence. If you live in one state, you may claim residency in another state if your out-of-state residency is temporary, you intend to return to the other state, and consider the other state your permanent domicile. Dual state residency is complicated, however, and you may face a high burden to prove residency in another state.

How long do you have to live in a state to be a resident?

The amount of time you need to live in a state to be classified a resident depends on the state and the purpose, such as getting a driver’s license or qualifying for in-state tuition.

How long do you have to live in Ohio to be a resident?

Tuition residency requirements for Ohio require being a resident for a full 12 months and proving intent to make Ohio your permanent state of residence. For the tax purposes, you are presumed an Ohio resident if you live in Ohio, but you are a part-time resident if you lived in another state for any portion of the tax year.

How long do you have to live in Ohio to file for divorce?

You must live in Ohio for at least 6 months before filing for divorce or dissolution.

What determines Ohio residency for tax purposes?

The Ohio Department of Taxation presumes you are an Ohio resident if you live in the state and have an abode, whether it’s rented or owned. Dual state residency is a complex tax issue that results if you meet residency requirements in two states with different definitions such as working in another state. However, Ohio offers a resident credit for income taxes paid on non-Ohio income to another state.

Ready to become a resident of the Buckeye State? If you’re moving to the Akron or Cleveland area, Summit Moving & Storage is ready to help you enjoy a seamless, worry-free transition. Give us a call for a free moving estimate today!


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