Blog November 28, 2020

What to Do When You Move to a New State

Posted in Moving 101
Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

Each of the U.S. states has its own administration, so learning what to do when you move to a new state should be your top priority. Read our tips on moving interstate and find out the answer to the question: What is the first thing to do when moving to a new city – there is no such thing as being too prepared.

How Do I Move to a Different State and Start Over – Create a Plan

Organizing a move is considered one of the most important tasks if you want a successful move. Besides hiring long-distance moving services and planning the whole pre-relocation date process, that also applies to everything that needs to be done after you unlock the doors of your new home. The faster you are done with the boring tasks concerning bureaucracy and unpacking, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of moving and starting over. Whether you are relocating your family to another state or doing it alone, remember to update and register personal information and documentation after the move.

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Setting the Roots – Establishing a Domicile and Getting a Job (If You Haven’t)

If you want to choose a different location as your permanent place of residence, it is important to establish a legal domicile to connect the taxes with your current living place. As you are well aware, the cost of taxes and laws related to it change between states – when you relocate to a different home, you’ll be paying them to the place where you determine your domicile. And because each of the states has its own protocol for establishing a residence, ensure to look it up on their websites.

When thinking about what to do when moving to a new state, one of your primary concerns will be figuring out how to get a job in another city. If you are not relocating for a job, it’s always best to have one prepared before the move-in day. If you are moving without a job, on the other hand, create a plan: make sure to explore the job market as soon as you can after the relocation and try to schedule interviews with the companies you’d like to work for as quickly as possible. However, note that finding a job long-distance is not especially hard in the time we are living in. If you want to know more about how to do it successfully, don’t miss the following video:

What to Change When Moving States – Interstate Moving and Updating Documentation and Registration

Relocating between states requires a lot more work than a move completed inside the state’s borders, simply because of all the updating needed when relocating cross country (usually within some time limit). So, when considering what to do when you move to another state, ensure to plan some time to:

  • Update your health insurance – know that there is a high possibility that you will have to change your health insurance and buy a different one. Contact your healthcare provider and see if their services are available in the city you are moving to. If not, look for some other company. Health should be your main concern, so updating the health policy would be the answer to What’s the first thing you should do when you move to a new state.
  • Update your life insurance – luckily, your life insurance should be valid in all states, as long as you report the change of home address.
  • Check reliable home insurance companies in your current city.
  • Get the driver’s license, plates, and car insurance – the requirements are provided by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. For a driver’s license, you’ll usually need proof of residency, the old license, social security number, and, in some cases, a vehicle emission test. Note that the cost of insurance can vary depending on the company itself, but also the safety of your current location – you may need to provide significantly more or less money than before.
  • Register your vehicle – know that some states demand a tax for vehicle registration that is calculated depending on the market value of the car. If your vehicle is leased, ensure to learn how to register a leased car in another state.
  • Register to vote – usually, it can be done in person or online. Either way, let your voice be heard after the relocation, too.
  • Transfer the professional license – this must be done if you are working in fields such as law, healthcare, education, and the like, but note that different states have different policies and protocols concerning this issue. Check and get to know them before you move.
Ensure that you can fulfill your civic duty at the next elections

Check to See if You Are Eligible for Different Benefits When Moving to a New Home

Being eligible for some benefits in some states does not automatically mean that it is transferred to other ones and vice versa – if you are not considered a good candidate for some programs in your old location, it doesn’t mean that you are not eligible for them in your new one. That is why it is important to always look for specific requirements for each of the states concerning unemployment, medical, and other programs, especially if you need to save some money.

Make a Plan for Your Pets, Too

If you are relocating with pets, know that in some states, you’ll need to buy a pet license and register your furry friend at your current destination. Search for pet licensing companies and services, such as PetData, that will help you with this process. They will make sure that your furry family member is disease-free when moving from state to state. Note that in most cases, you will have a deadline for completing this task.

Pets playing on the field after interstate moving
Some states need to make sure that your pet isn't a disease carrier

A Few More Tips on What to Do When You Move to a New State

Updating your life, so to speak, is one of the most important tasks after the relocation, but not the only one. After state to state movers leave the front door, remember to:

  • Make sure you are safe – check the home and fire alarms, as well as door locks in the house you’ll be living in before the first night’s sleep.
  • Check if all the utilities are running properly, especially water, gas, and electricity. If not, call your utility providers and ask for help. And of course, if you haven’t already, transfer utilities to your current address, don’t postpone it any longer.
  • Update your address on the USPS website, so the important mail still has a way to get to your current living place. You should also update your address on each of your subscriptions.
  • Unpack promptly – hiring packing services could help you before the move, but with unpacking, you are on your own. Relocation companies will usually provide you with a period of 90 days to report if some of your belongings have been damaged during the relocation process, so plan to unpack before that deadline.
A man and a woman unpacking boxes after moving state to state
Don't let the unpacking wait after the move - it could cost you later

Get to Know the City and Find Yourself Some Good Company

It can’t all just be work and no fun – don’t overstress yourself to the limits. Tackle these tasks one by one, but remember that you are not in a race. You’ll also need time to relax and enjoy yourself, and there is no better way to do it than to explore the place you’ll be calling home, meet neighbors, and eventually make friends in another city – let the time spent in good company help you with the transition. Regardless of your reasons to move, make sure that you feel good right from the start – with that, every task, even the most boring ones, will seem easier.

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