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Old 19-10-2013, 02:33   #1
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do you have to become a wa. resident

I have just retired from the gov. I bought a sailboat in washing state 4 years ago. and reg in washington...I was sailing or working on a ship for the gov,.at the time...Noaa tranfer to or. for their new port....I got off the ship in feb..worked on my boat in the yard...fixed it up and moved it to port of evereet for slip to liveaboard while I prepare to sail at march or april....they told me that I have an out of state driver lic. that I need washington lic///I don't want to give up my driver linc...because I intend to sail and not come back...have anyone had the same thing happen to them....my resident is south dakota
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Old 19-10-2013, 04:05   #2
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Re: do you have to become a wa. resident

My license is from Montana and I'm keeping it. My boats in Port Angeles now and has previously been in Eagle Harbor and Port Townsend......oh, and Sequim.

No one has ever bugged me about it.
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Old 19-10-2013, 20:43   #3
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Re: do you have to become a wa. resident

Did you offer to have the moorage automate taken out of your checking account? Might want to go there in person.
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Old 19-10-2013, 20:58   #4
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Re: do you have to become a wa. resident

If you keep a S.D. address active (get mail), you don't need a WA. license. But if you're receiving mail in WA then your considered a resident. Owning a boat in a different state doesn't make you a resident. There are lots of Canadians with boats here in the USA.

An easy thing to do is document the boat in S.D., or where ever, and just buy the WA reg. tags as a visitor, which is required after 60 days.
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Old 25-10-2013, 15:14   #5
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Re: do you have to become a wa. resident

I wouldn't worry to much about what the girls in the Everett Marina tell you. Once a year the city cops may walk the docks and write tickets for out of state licenses. This usually happens around Memorial Day so if you are out cruising they never know, or care. There are many boats in the marina with out of state plates. Some for 20+ years. Just leave and live on the hook for the summer. Alaska charges $24 for three years plates on a 32' boat.
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Old 28-10-2013, 14:54   #6
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Re: do you have to become a wa. resident

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I wouldn't worry to much about what the girls in the Everett Marina tell you. Once a year the city cops may walk the docks and write tickets for out of state licenses. This usually happens around Memorial Day so if you are out cruising they never know, or care. There are many boats in the marina with out of state plates. Some for 20+ years. Just leave and live on the hook for the summer. Alaska charges $24 for three years plates on a 32' boat.
I don't think OP is talking about the boat's reg, but rather his *own* driver's license.

If you don't maintain a residence elsewhere, and you're living on your boat, you're likely a Washington resident as you are beginning to "establish a home in WA". (see WA State Licensing (DOL) Official Site: Moving? Get a Washington State driver license). If you maintained a residence or had a valid, current residential address in ND you might be able to maintain your address there (but to disadvantageous tax implications, see below). If you don't have a valid out of state residence / address, WA requires you to obtain a license within 30 days. If you look at the source law for the DOL's web page (RCW 46.20.021: New residents.), you might be able to claim that you aren't "manifesting an intent to live or be located in this state on a more than temporary or transient basis." I think you'd have a pretty hard time proving that.

Also, remember that as long as you maintain the ND license, ND address, and try to claim you are an ND resident, you are obligated to file a state income tax return in ND. Failure to file the return could result in a prosecution for tax evasion or at the very least failure to file a return. If you don't have an ND residence, you might get out of that by claiming that you are now a WA resident, but that's just a headache you couldn't possibly want.

Just out of curiosity, why are you against the WA license?
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Old 28-10-2013, 15:06   #7
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Re: do you have to become a wa. resident

Also, I should clarify something about your question. You ask "do I have to become a Washington resident?"

Except for a few narrow exceptions where you actually have choice (e.g., out-of-state college students), residency isn't generally something you have a "choice" in. You either are or aren't a resident, based on a myriad of factors that States (and Federal Courts) use in rendering a determination. There's hundreds of years of common and law and precedent, as well as individualized determinations made by each State, and your residency or domicile (here the two are roughly interchangeable) for the purposes of Federal Law can, in extreme circumstances of the kind found in 2nd-year-law-school-hypotheticals, be different from your residency or domicile for the purposes of State Law.

Thus the question you need to ask is not "do I have to become a WA resident" but rather "am I already a WA resident, and thus am I required by law to obtain a WA drivers' license?"

Basic conflict of law / residency rules would state that you would need definite plans to return to ND in order to remain a ND resident. Since you've already admitted that you plan to go cruising and do not have definite plans to return to ND, and are currently living in a home established in WA -- you are a WA resident.
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Old 28-10-2013, 15:21   #8
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Re: do you have to become a wa. resident

As a WA resident, I wanted to register a boat that wasnt in WA. They wouldnt let me if the boat wasnt here. First time I found them to turn down money!
If the question is how to register the boat in WA ( I assume because you need the sticker for the boat) There must be a way to get a WA sticker as a non resident on your boat here for over the 60 or 90 day visitation...?
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Old 28-10-2013, 15:29   #9
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Re: do you have to become a wa. resident

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As a WA resident, I wanted to register a boat that wasnt in WA. They wouldnt let me if the boat wasnt here. First time I found them to turn down money!
If the question is how to register the boat in WA ( I assume because you need the sticker for the boat) There must be a way to get a WA sticker as a non resident on your boat here for over the 60 or 90 day visitation...?
I'll wait for OP to clarify but it looks like he's specifically asking about his own driver's license. A bunch of the marinas around here (Seattle, Everett) require a WADL in order to have an above-board liveaboard for more than 6 months. I suspect, but cannot confirm, that this is related to liability issues and/or town/city ordinances.
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Old 28-10-2013, 17:16   #10
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Re: do you have to become a wa. resident

or... homeland security? The Mujahadeen may be living aboard!
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Old 29-10-2013, 07:30   #11
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Re: do you have to become a wa. resident

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...residency isn't generally something you have a "choice" in. You either are or aren't a resident, based on a myriad of factors... Thus the question you need to ask is not "do I have to become a WA resident" but rather "am I already a WA resident..."
Well put.

For an example, there are lots of people who live in Florida half the year and somewhere else the other half. It is perfectly legal for these people to drive around Florida for nearly 6 months without a Florida drivers license, assuming they meet the requirements for status as a part-time resident.

Nonetheless, when I sold my home in Colorado and moved to Florida, the law gave me only 10 days to re-register my car in Florida, and 30 days to get a Florida drivers license. I was a Florida resident whether I wanted to be one or not (I wanted to be one!).

From what the OP has said, it sounds to me like he is a resident of the state of Washington. That means that he will have to get a Washington drivers license, pay Washington taxes, and meet all the other legal requirements of being a resident of that state.
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Old 29-10-2013, 07:50   #12
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Re: do you have to become a wa. resident

This situation sounds like it would be similar to me.

I'm in the military. According to the military, for tax purposes, I am a resident of FL. But, I am currently living in TN. The current address is the only one I have. So, if I was to retire in TN, I automatically become a full-time resident of TN until I move somewhere else and establish a new home and address.

While in the gov job, they could have recognized your SD residency but now you retired in WA, that could automatically cause you to be a WA resident. Normally, as I understand it, (for anyone not in a gov job) once you move to a new state to live and/or work, you establish residency in that new place which the states also require getting a local ID or Drivers License to keep your contact information as current as possible.

With the little info provided, it sounds like the folks at the marina is seeing your status as the state would in that you are establishing a home and residency in WA. Now you're no longer in the gov job, you're likely going to have to switch to WA.

Along with everyone else's comments, there's quite a few factors to consider.
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Old 29-10-2013, 11:17   #13
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Re: do you have to become a wa. resident

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From what the OP has said, it sounds to me like he is a resident of the state of Washington. That means that he will have to get a Washington drivers license, pay Washington taxes, and meet all the other legal requirements of being a resident of that state.
Not directed at you but as an FYI, the only state tax paid here are on products and property. If you own or buy anything here you're paying state taxes, resident or not. A lot of Oregonians that cross the border & purchase here do claim exempt status by showing ID.
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Old 29-10-2013, 11:37   #14
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Re: do you have to become a wa. resident

You said that "they" told me I need a Washington license". Who are "they". Did "they" have a badge?
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Old 29-10-2013, 12:50   #15
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Re: do you have to become a wa. resident

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You said that "they" told me I need a Washington license". Who are "they". Did "they" have a badge?
Based on my experience looking for liveaboard slips in WA, "they" could be the marina (personnel) -- many of which will not rent a non-seasonal live-aboard slip w/o a WA state ID (or DL) or a current military ID. They don't need a badge, they just need a policy...
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