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New Jersey Residency Requirements [2024] 🌲 How to Become a NJ Resident
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New Jersey Residency Requirements [2024] | 🌲 How to Become a NJ Resident

Set up a new life in New Jersey! Over 75,000 New York residents moved to New Jersey between 2021 and 2022, the third-biggest state-to-state migration in the country. Tens of thousands of residents from other states moved to New Jersey in the same time period, enjoying the great attractions, top schools, and low cost of living in the state. 

However, moving to New Jersey is not enough. If you want all the benefits of living in New Jersey, you must apply for New Jersey residency. The easiest way to become a NJ resident is to study New Jersey residency requirements and follow each NJ residency law correctly. Here’s what you should know about how to establish residency in NJ.

Why You Should Become a New Jersey Resident

The state offers numerous benefits to residents. Get Covered New Jersey is a program for residents that helps them qualify for tax credits and affordable NJ health insurance. The State Rental Assistance Program helps very low income residents find affordable, safe, and clean housing in the state. Both of these programs can significantly reduce the cost of living in New Jersey, and you can apply for them once you receive residency.

You will be able to vote in New Jersey elections as soon as you become a resident of New Jersey. While you can continue to vote in your previous state, you won’t have a direct impact on your local and municipal elections. You can also obtain a New Jersey drivers license and own and operate cars in the state once you provide proof of residency in NJ.

If you don’t become a NJ resident, you will continue to pay property and state taxes from your previous state while also paying New Jersey taxes. You can save thousands of dollars a year once you switch to New Jersey residency and satisfy NJ residency laws.

All American citizens are required to get a REAL ID by May 7, 2025. You will need a REAL ID to travel on airplanes and visit federal buildings. New Jersey residents must supply two documents proving their residential address and at least two other documents with an address listed on it, like an ATM card or a high school diploma. It is easier to obtain these documents once you are an official New Jersey resident. 

How to Become a Resident of New Jersey

There are a few steps to becoming a resident of New Jersey and receiving all benefits residents are supposed to receive. Several of these steps have strict legal requirements, so you should do your research and follow New Jersey residency laws carefully. Here’s what you should know about how to become a New Jersey resident.

Find Permanent New Jersey Real Estate

To become an NJ resident, you must own or rent a piece of New Jersey real estate that serves as your permanent home. The real estate can be a house, an apartment, or another domicile. Your spouse can own or lease the property, but vacation homes do not count. Your home is not permanent if you maintain it for a short period of time to fulfill a temporary job assignment or another specific purpose.

Spend time looking at your options for apartments in New Jersey and homes for sale so you find the right one for you. Keep all documents related to the purchase or rental of your property, as you can use them to prove you meet NJ residency laws.

NJ residency laws then require you to live in your property for at least 183 days a year. You automatically become a resident once you meet this requirement. You may want to keep pieces of mail with your name and New Jersey address on them to corroborate your claim that you satisfy New Jersey residency law. Once 183 days have passed, you can fill out a New Jersey income tax statement for residents.

Active duty service members remain residents of New Jersey, even if they’re not living in the state for 183 days, as long as their permanent homes are in New Jersey. You should continue to file New Jersey resident income tax paperwork. 

Transfer Your License

You don’t need a New Jersey drivers license to be a resident of New Jersey, but a driver’s license can prove your residency and help you access programs for residents. State law also requires you to transfer your license within 60 days of moving to New Jersey. You must schedule an appointment with an official motor vehicle license center and bring your current and valid driver’s license. 

You must also bring legal documents that provide 6 Points of ID. Most people provide a birth certificate and a state-issued or federally-issued ID card. You can also use an ATM card, a bank statement, and a health insurance card. You then pay a $20 fee and have your photograph taken. Once you have your New Jersey drivers license, you can drive on New Jersey’s streets and use the license to get a REAL ID and state benefits.

Transfer Your Vehicle Title

You must also transfer your vehicle title within 60 days of moving. You must make a new title appointment and complete Form OS/SS-UTA (Universal Title Application) and Form BA-49 (Vehicle Registration Application). Bring your driver’s license, the original title, and papers with your insurance information. You can then pay a fee of $60 to transfer your title. 

Residency Audits

The state occasionally conducts residency audits to determine if people living in New Jersey are actually residents of the state or not. The NJ Division of Taxation will do this if they suspect you are committing tax fraud. Some residents of New Jersey file non-resident tax forms to avoid paying New Jersey taxes. If you maintain a permanent home in the state and pay New Jersey residency taxes on time, you will avoid an audit.

A residency audit is extremely difficult. The state may ask to see your bank statements, cell phone records, airline tickets, and other documents to determine your residency. Auditors may meet with you multiple times to go over these documents. If they determine you’ve lied about your residency, you may pay extensive fines. 

Do not handle a New Jersey residency audit on your own. Talk to a tax lawyer and learn more about NJ state residency requirements. Collect any documents that can help you prove your NJ residency, especially financial documents with your full name and address.

Residency for Non-Citizens

The aforementioned NJ residency requirements apply to citizens of the United States moving from one state into New Jersey. The rules for non-citizens are similar but have a few major differences. 

To become a resident of New Jersey, you must receive permanent U.S. residency status or a Green Card first. You cannot become a resident of New Jersey if you hold a student visa, even if you meet the traditional requirements. You can get a Green Card by being sponsored by a family member or employer, applying for refugee status, or filing for yourself individually. The application process can take longer than a year, so talk to an immigration lawyer to expedite your process. 

You can use documents not in English to meet the 6 Points of ID NJ required to get a driver’s license. However, you must have a certified translation of the documents. You can use a foreign-issued passport, an original birth certificate from any country, and a high school diploma from any country to obtain a license.

NJ Residency Requirements for College Students

The standard rules for New Jersey residency do not apply directly to college students. If you’re a college student living in New Jersey and you want to be considered a resident of New Jersey, you must prove that you lived in the state for a year before enrolling at public colleges in New Jersey. If you lived with your parents the year before school and they are New Jersey residents, the state will assume that you are a resident as well. 

You may need documents to prove your residence in New Jersey. Proof of graduation from New Jersey high schools, like a diploma, GED, or transcription, is usually all you need. You can also supply a copy of your or your parent’s New Jersey drivers license or resident income tax return.

If you’re an out-of-state college student studying in New Jersey and you want to become a New Jersey resident, you must apply for residency using the previously stated rules. You can use documents from your college to corroborate your claim.

If you prove your residence in New Jersey, you can apply for in-state tuition at your college. Most New Jersey colleges charge lower rates for in-state students than out-of-state students, so you can save tens of thousands of dollars over four years. You can also apply for additional financial aid programs and scholarships for New Jersey students.

NJ Residency and Voting Regulations

You must become a New Jersey resident before you can register to vote. You also must live in the state for at least 30 days before Election Day

You can register in New Jersey elections by visiting a municipal clerk’s office or a county commissioner of registration’s office. You can also send in forms online or by mail to the clerk’s office. When you get your New Jersey ID, you will be asked if you want to register to vote, and you can register then. 

While handling your application, the clerk will ask for your driver’s license number, so have that on hand. If you don’t have a New Jersey driver’s license before you register to vote, you can give the last four digits of your social security number.

You must submit your application 21 days before Election Day. Once your application is approved, you can vote in all elections in New Jersey and confirm your status on the New Jersey Division of Elections website.

To vote in New Jersey elections, you must possess a photo ID or another document with your name and current address on it. The photo ID can be a student ID, an employment ID, or a store membership card. You can also use a bank statement, a government check, or a utility bill. 

New Jersey Divorce Requirements

If you are applying for a New Jersey divorce, either you or your spouse must have been a NJ resident for at least a year. The one year of residency applies to the one year immediately prior to the divorce filing. The time you or your spouse spent in the state prior to the one year does not count, though you do not need to live with your spouse for a year.

This law applies to all situations except for divorces due to adultery. In that case, at least one spouse must be a NJ resident, but they can be a resident for any amount of time. 

If you do not meet these residency requirements, a judge will dismiss your case for divorce in New Jersey, though you can apply for divorce in another state. You can pursue civil actions with your spouse and negotiate terms for your separation before one year passes. 

Residency does not impact child support or custody considerations. If you and your spouse live in different parts of the country and you both want custody, the judge may modify your custody arrangement to make it easier for your child to have contact with both of you. However, being a resident of New Jersey while your spouse isn’t will not cause any issues. You may want to contact an attorney to be sure you meet New Jersey divorce laws.

NJ residency requirements may seem complicated, but they’re actually straightforward. To become a resident, you just need to have a piece of New Jersey real estate, live in it for a year, and file a New Jersey tax form for residents. The state has a few special requirements for non-citizens and students, but most rules apply to everyone. If you’re ever confused about New Jersey residency requirements, you can talk to an attorney. 

You don’t need to be a resident to start moving to New Jersey. Harrington Moving and Storage has a team of top movers in New Jersey ready to provide a stress free and affordable journey. Contact us for a free moving estimate today.

Harrington Movers
As one of the leaders in the New Jersey and New York moving and storage industry, we strive to ensure the satisfaction of our customers. Our goal is to move, or store, your things efficiently and effectively with the utmost professionalism. In fact, Harrington Moving & Storage has been one of the top movers in the New Jersey moving and storage industry since 1996.
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