How to Become an Ohio Resident | Complete Guide (2019)

So, you’re thinking about moving to Ohio for the first time? That’s fantastic! Congratulations on making the big leap into the next chapter of your life. However, changing states comes with some additional requirements to help you truly put down roots in your new area. In Ohio, you’ll want to make sure you’re classified as a resident of your home in Ohio. How do you become an official Ohio resident? It takes a little more than painting the OSU “O” on your chest and cheering at a football game. Here’s what you need to know.

Why do I Need to Become a Resident

There are two main reasons that you may want to become a recognized resident of the State of Ohio. The first is taxes. For one thing, if you’re moving from a state with higher income tax rates, such as New York, establishing your Ohio residency will mean less money taken out of your pocket every April. Additionally, establishing residency makes sure that the legal entities in Ohio know where you belong, so you can be properly taxed based on where you truly live. This helps avoid A LOT of confusion at tax time, whether you’re filling the forms out yourself, or hiring a CPA to help out.

The second reason to become a full-time resident in Ohio is for tuition. If you’re attending a university in Ohio, establishing your residence can drastically lower your tuition rates, helping you to save money as you complete your degree program. We’ll talk more about tuition-based residency later, but first, let’s cover what you’ll need for the tax season.

Ohio Residency Requirements for Taxes

Pen, calculator, and forms for taxes.

Sometimes, residency isn’t quite so simple. For those who have multiple residences in multiple states, you need to be aware of which states can claim you as a resident. This is especially important come tax time, because if you have multiple states vying for your residency status, you may end up paying more in state taxes.

Ohio offers three types of residency statuses for citizens. These are resident, part-time resident, and nonresident.

A Resident is anyone who maintains a domicile in Ohio. A domicile is a person’s “true home,” their main residence and where they return to from any absences. The state of Ohio generally assumes that any person owning or renting an abode in Ohio is a resident and that the aforementioned abode is their domicile.

A part-time resident is an Ohio resident who maintains a domicile in Ohio for part of the year, then switches to another domicile for another part of the year. “Snowbirds” are the perfect example of this; they spend winters in one primary home, and summers in another. However, in order to qualify as a part-time resident on any given year, both domiciles must be used within the tax year. If the domiciles switch from one tax year to another, you would be deemed a full-time resident for one of the years, and a nonresident for the other.

A nonresident of Ohio is anyone who was not a resident for any part of the tax year. You must meet all of the following criteria to be considered a nonresident:

  • You had no more than 212 contact periods (overnight stays) in Ohio throughout the tax year.
  • You have at least one abode outside of Ohio.
  • You do not have an Ohio driver’s license.
  • You did not receive any tax benefits or exemptions from Ohio during the tax year.
  • You did not receive “in-state” tuition from a college in Ohio during the tax year.

Other Ohio Requirements for Residents

Wallet with license, social security, and permanent resident card.

Once you meet the residency criteria for full time residency in Ohio, there are a few other things you’ll have to do. Namely, you’ll need to get your Ohio driver’s license, register your vehicle and transfer the title to Ohio within 30 days of becoming a resident (which is usually the day your lease starts or you move in). You also have to change your address for tax purposes. Luckily, these are all fairly easy processes.

How to Obtain an Ohio Driver’s License

You’ll need to head over to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to get your new license. If you already have a license from another state, all you need to do is to transfer to a new license. To do so, you’ll need to present the following paperwork:

  • Proof of your name, date of birth and US citizen status
    • This can be your existing license, passport, social security card and/or birth certificate
  • You Ohio address
    • You can bring a copy of a recent piece of mail with your full name on it, a bank statement or a bill addressed to your Ohio address.

How to Title and Register Your Vehicle in Ohio

For titling and registering your vehicle, you’ll need all the information required for your driver’s license, plus the original title and registration for your vehicle. Photocopies are not accepted. Importantly:

  • If your lienholder (car loan lender) still has the title to your vehicle, you’ll need to fill out a transfer request form.
  • If you are leasing from an out-of-state dealer, you’ll need a leasing permit number and a valid Ohio tax account number.

Changing Your Address in Ohio

This may be the easiest step of all. To officially change your address for tax purposes, all you have to do is fill out your tax forms for the year after your move, using your new address. For clarity’s sake, you should also notify all lenders and other pertinent institutions that you’ve moved, so all your mail comes to your correct address.

Ohio Residency for Tuition Purposes

College building on a sunny day.

If you are a student attending a college or university in Ohio, it may benefit you to apply for residency status through your educational institution, so you can pay in-state tuition rates, rather than out-of-state costs. 

Applying for residency for your college is not a legal change in and of itself– it applies specifically to that educational institution and their bylaws for tuition. However, once you receive the in-state rate, Ohio will consider you a resident for tax purposes as well.

Generally, in order to qualify for resident status at your college, you’ll need to:

  • Have a parent or legal guardian that is an Ohio resident, whom you live with at least half the year.
  • Have lived in Ohio for 12 consecutive months immediately preceding enrollment or applying for the reduced rate.

Specific requirements are laid out by each university; if you’re looking to apply, make sure to reach out to your college’s financial aid office for assistance.

Congratulations! You’re an Ohio Resident

If you’ve done everything we’ve discussed above, then congratulations on being an official Ohio resident. If you’re still considering moving to the state, why not check out our blog to see all the amazing cities and job opportunities Ohio has to offer? 

When you’re ready to make your move, be sure to give us a call to enjoy a worry-free relocation experience. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have and ensure that you feel confident in your choice to move to Ohio.