Moving to a New State? Don’t Forget to Take These Steps

Posted By Marisa Sanfilippo on February 24, 2017 at 3:07 pm
Moving to a New State? Don’t Forget to Take These Steps

To our readers: It goes without saying that moving is difficult, whether you’re moving locally or to a new state or city. GoodCall®’s Marisa Sanfilippo recently talked with experts about getting comfortable when you relocate. First, she addresses moving to a new state. Later today, we’ll narrow the focus to the new city.


While there has been a steady decline in geographic mobility, more than 30 million people still annually. Many move to new states and are unsure of local and state laws – including those governing pets, how to address health concerns, or even how to become more involved with their new community.

Government resources when moving to a new state

Moving to a new state involves tackling many necessary legal tasks. Some of the most important include learning about state income tax laws, changing voter registration, driver’s licenses, and vehicle registration.

Among states that levy income tax, rates vary greatly. North Dakota has the lowest rate at 2.9 percent and California has the highest rate at 13.3 percent. According to the Tax Foundation, states with no state income tax are:

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Each state is independently responsible for both federal and state elections held within the state as set forth in Articles I and II of the United States Constitution.

No two states have exactly the same election process so it is important to locate the local office to learn more. Online voter registration is available in 34 states and the District of Columbia. The government maintains the Vote website, which links directly to the online registration portal for the selected state or their registration process.

Obtaining a driver’s license and registering vehicles in the state in which movers will reside must happen quickly. Most states give new residents 30 days to complete the process, though some require it sooner. As with voting and state income taxes, each state has a different process.

To learn what you will need to do, call the local driver’s license office or county tax collector for more information. This will also be necessary before auto insurance can be obtained in the new state.

Creating a healthy environment

Creating an environment that enables one to prioritize their health in a meaningful way is one of the first things to focus on upon arriving in a new state. Priorities include finding health insurance and healthcare providers.

Most insurance programs have a window of time, usually one month out of the year, where they have open enrollment. This is the time when people can enroll in an insurance program from their employer or through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

When moving to a new state, people are eligible for health insurance under what is known as a Special Enrollment Period. Typically, this gives people 60 days from the date they move to enroll with a new insurance provider. This applies to those who are choosing coverage from the Health Insurance Marketplace. People who have relocated due to a job change should have a similar time frame during which they can enroll in coverage through their employer.

Individuals tend to find their healthcare provider through recommendations of friends and family. When moving to a completely new area this isn’t usually possible. There are several resources available to learn exactly what providers are nearby and how they are regarded by those who have used their services.

The first place to source new healthcare professionals is from your insurance provider. Providers maintain a database of doctors, massage therapists, dentists, chiropractors, psychiatrists, and more that are covered within their network.

For those who are not limited by doctors who are in network, a search through one of the physician review sites such as Health Grades can turn up valuable information.

Getting involved in the community

Integrating oneself into the community is beneficial for many reasons. It allows one to take full advantage of the resources and opportunities available in the new area and it also helps build a social network.

Tony Vanderwarker, author and former advertising executive, recently wrote about his experience moving from Chicago to rural Virginia. He recommends finding something in the new community of interest and reaching out to the organizers to find out how to become involved. Another suggestion was for those who have a specialized skill to offer it for free to members of the community through teaching or charity work.

Becoming involved in local sports teams is another way to quickly find a group of people with similar interests. Madison Mullen, marketing manager at Underdog Sports Leagues in Seattle, Wash., suggests looking for recreational sports leagues in the surrounding area. In addition to the organization Mullen works for, she recommends the Social Sports Network to help individuals find reputable groups to interact with.

Other organizations to consult include the local library, chamber of commerce, and tourism center. Each of these specialize in keeping people engaged as a community and will have information about different groups and events.

Moving to a new state will come with a wide array of new challenges. While it may be challenging, it should also be looked at as an opportunity to cultivate the life and experiences that were the impetus for the move.

Marisa Sanfilippo
Marisa is an award-winning marketing professional who loves to write. During the day, she wears her marketing hat in her marketing director role and at night she works as a freelance writer, ghost writing for clients and contributing to publications such as Huffington Post and Social Media Today.

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