I have a question about SD or TX I have to spend any time in either of those states or can I just send a yearly fee to the mailbox company?

And how does it work for yearly license tabs and renewing a driver's license?

Also....our general plan at retirement is to live from May to September in a fifth wheel at a seasonal resort campground in MN, and then from October to April in either another RV or maybe a houseboat in a warmer climate. Due to the price of gas, and lack of a tow vehicle, we plan to stay put for a few years before hiring someone to tow us to another seasonal setup.

In a case like this--we will be renting campsites seasonally--does that make us part time residents of whatever state we are in, or can we still be full time SD or TX residents? We will be living on a fairly meager pension so would like to keep taxation at a minimum and MN is a high tax state.

DL Rupper

Senior Member
Re: Residency

Hey Caprice, welcome to the forum. South Dakota is your best bet. They cater to RV'ers. Vehicle insurance is cheaper in S Dakota than Texas. Get a copy of Highways magazine (Good Sam Club) and look in their Commercial Corner Ads under Mail/Message Services. You can contact the various services and they will explain what you have to do to establish residency. It is better if you don't spend too much time in any State. They could challenge your residency in another State. ;)


Senior Member
Re: Residency

First of all, let me dispel a the myth above. I regularly check the insurance rates for my RV in either SD or Texas since I am a fulltimer who is domiciled in Texas. Last March when I got quites from both places, the cost would have been $137 higher for me to move the motorhome to SD over what I paid in Texas. Our Honda CR-V cost us $31 more in Texas than it would have in SD. The fact is that if you get competitive quotes from more than one comapny it really isn't a major price difference.

SD does have only 3% sales tax on new vehicles while in Texas it is 6%. But Texas has Escapees RV club which is the only complete support system for full time RV travelers and that is the reason that more than 15,000 of their members use their mail service and have a real street address in Livingston, TX rather than just a mail box at some other location. There is no city anywhere that you can walk into any government office, professional person's office or any business in town and not one will fail to understand what a fulltimer is, other than Livingston, TX.

Neither state has any time requirement that you must be physically in the state and Texas does allow you to renew your driving license and your vehicle registrations by mail or on the internet. (Not sure about SD on that count.) Texas does have a safety inspection but you need not return to the state to get one but have 10 days to do so once you return, if you do. The cost of that inspection if registered in Polk County (Livingston) is $12.50.

Let me suggest that you visit the Escapees website and learn more about the best support that exists. While there you can down-load a booklet that tells you just what you need to do and how to do it, free. Just visit this link:

In addition, Florida is also very popular. I suggest that you check out all three states and remember that there are many more things to consider in that choice, such as estate law, voting rights, and many other issues.

The fact is that the first state to receive the Good Sam Club, RV Friendly award was Texas and there was very good reason for it. But check out all three of those states as no one state is best for everyone.

One thing that you need to realize is that if you keep an RV of any kind in one state, that state is going to require that the RV be registered and insured in that state. Not one of these three states is willing or capable of hiding you from the required taxes and fees of other states when you actually reside there.
Re: Residency

One slight correction to Kirk's post is the vehicle inspection went up $2 this year to $14.50.

One advantage to NOT owning property in Texas is the darn school district taxes. Wow! They're worse than insurance and county taxes. But if you have an RV, you present a moving target! ;)

DL Rupper

Senior Member
Re: Residency

Years ago when I started Full-timing I had a Texas drivers license and vehicle registration. But here is the big but. At that time Good Sam VIP insurance would not even give me a quote for RV/auto insurance in Texas. In addition, I tried to renew my registration on my vehicles from another State. It worked for about 2 years and all of a sudden I got a letter from the County I was registered in, stating I had to have a physical mailing address in Texas and would not re-register my vehicles. Well I took my business elsewhere do to the hassle. I tried Nevada and then Florida. Florida has been great. I can vote absentee, renew my drivers license on the Web and have my mail forwarded from the Good Sam Mail Service. No hassle. They seem to want to count me in their population census.

I didn't suggest Florida because Caprice only asked for info on Texas and S Dakota. I do know there are certainly lots of RV'ers that use S Dakota and seem to like it.

Don't mean to step on Texas RV'ers toes, but Texas wasn't very accommodating. :(


New Member
Re: Residency

quote----"---- and Texas does allow you to renew your driving license and your vehicle registrations by mail or on the internet"

That's not true, as a class A or B license holder, which most of us are, must renew in person in Texas. 936-327-6806

quote,--- "One thing that you need to realize is that if you keep an RV of any kind in one state, that state is going to require that the RV be registered and insured in that state."

Actually, you need to realize that isn't true. In Texas and probably other states also, the insurance on the vehicle can be of another state as long as the Texas liability minimums are met. 936-327-6801 And, many, if not most, states allow you to keep your vehicle in that state for up to six months per year if you are not a resident of that state and are not working there.


Senior Member
Re: Residency

Benwd is here with his usual inaccuracies. To quote from the Texas state website:

"Driver License and ID Card Renewal
Driver Licenses and Identification Cards can now be renewed online or by telephone at 1-866-DLRENEW (1-866-357-3639). You can use this service if: 1) You are renewing no earlier than one year prior to expiration and no later than two years after your driver license or ID card has expired. 2) Your last renewal was done in person at a local Texas Department of Public Safety Driver License Office. 3) You are (were) over age 18 when your license or ID card expires(d). 4) You are renewing a non-commercial driver license, motorcycle license, or ID card (class C, M, or CM license, or ID card). 5) If you are renewing a driver license, there has been no change in your vision, physical or mental condition that would affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle. 6) Your record indicates that you are eligible to renew online."

And from another location on that same site:
"Vehicle Registration

Texas residents who own a motor vehicle are required by law to renew their vehicle registration annually. You have three registration options.

* Register Online (for residents in participating counties only)
* Register by Mail
* Register in Person

If you are a new resident or your registration has expired, you can only register in person. For more information about vehicle registration, please read our FAQs or contact us."

In addition, each state sets it's own laws as to when you must register a vehicle there. This will vary from one state to the next, as will the activity to enforce such laws. Vehicles which are kept permanently in a state are required by that state to be titled and registered there for tax reasons. It is very common in areas where there are RV parks that rent annual sites to have some official come around and record the out of state plates found there from time to time. Any that have exceeded the legal time line for that location are typically issued a citation. While the degree of aggressiveness tends to vary widely, it can be very common in some counties. The Rio Grand Valley of Texas is one such area. Most states have at least a few places like that. As tax revenues become more problematic, such activity is likely to increase.
Re: Residency

Yeah, I once chased one o' dem 'revnuers' out o' my yard! Well, my driveway, anyhoo. He came inching down my 150' driveway in his 1978 Toyota jus' so he could get a better look at mah 'stuff'. Then I jumped out at him and yelled, "Get the H--- outta here!"

WooHoo! Ya shoulda see'd him back dat car up! Wobbled all over the driveway, into da ditches, and hit da culvert before backing into the muddy ditch on the utter side of the main drag. Sallyberetta thought I was havin' a heart pappatation seein' me rollin' all over in da dirt! :approve:


Senior Member
Re: Residency

South Carolina is one to Not to live in if you want to skip all the Taxes, and if you stay around to long they too will ask why you have not switched. Have a great day
Re: Residency

My DH and I have been using the SD mail forwarding service for about a year now, and love it. I have not changed registration or ins as yet, because my MD license doesn't expire until 2010 and my registrations (coach and car) are good til 2009. the moment...Maryland registration for 2 years is still cheaper than SD for 2 I may retain my MD address (My Mom's house) and keep the vehicles 'garaged' here in MD.

We have lots of friends who are full-timers who have made the switch to SD and they are all very happy. Our mail service has been FANTASTIC!! Like clockwork and very willing to adjust to our needs as they arise.
Re: Residency

kirkquote--"Benwd is here with his usual inaccuracies."

Really???? Go back and read my post again. It says--'--- as a class A or B license holder, which most of us are, must renew in person in Texas. 936-327-6806 '

Now look at your most recent post at item 4 of the exceptions list. Says the same thing doesn't it?

Class A or B must renew in person. Most of us have one of those. And I even gave you the phone number to verify it. Your beef isn't with me. Make the call.


Senior Member
Re: Residency

My only issue is the manner things are done, and in looking again we were both wrong. Sorry for my part as I should not have put the opening line in.

I also apologize to the members of the forum for having reacted to a history that goes far back to other places.
Re: Residency

kirk---let's recap. You said Texas drivers licenses could be renewed on line. The OP was looking for useful information regarding residency. Your carte blanche statement implied no problem on dl renewal on line.

That was wrong, as only class c and motor cycle licenses and such can be done on line. Most motor home drivers have at least a class B license due to weight requirements. Class A or Class B licenses cannot be renewed on line. That is simply a fact. It is not wrong. And if the OP was in a situation that he would require at least a class B license and believing, based on your post, that he could renew on line, he was misled.

And there was no need to apologize to folks as they have the right information now. And they realize that sometimes there is mis-information that gets corrected, so it all works out.