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  • Moving Out of State in Rhode Island

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    Are You Leaving for Good, or Short-term?

    Are you leaving Rhode Island for good, or just for a short period? Your answer will affect what you must do when leaving the state.

    Permanent Moves

    To be considered a permanent resident of a state, you need to have accepted long-term employment, registered to vote, or enrolled your children in school. So if your move will not involve any of these, it may not be considered permanent.

    Temporary Moves

    Active duty military personnel and their families are still considered Rhode Island residents regardless of where they are currently stationed. Young people currently attending colleges or universities outside the state maintain Rhode Island residency as well.

    If you're uncertain your move classifies as a permanent relocation, contact the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) at (401) 462-4368.

    What to Do During a Permanent Move

    Updating Your Drivers License

    You are allowed to keep your driver's license until you have applied for a new license after your move. Your new state will take your Rhode Island driver's license back.

    To update the address on your Rhode Island driving record, download the Change of Address Form to submit to the main DMV office.

    License Plates and Vehicle Registration

    When you move outside the state, the Rhode Island DMV requires that you surrender your license plates after receiving your new vehicle registration. Plates should be mailed to:

    • Division of Motor Vehicles
    • Attn: Plates
    • 600 New London Ave.
    • Cranston, RI 02920

    Ideally, you should use registered mail with a return receipt request. Your plate cancellation receipt will be needed as proof of your changed residency in the event that your former city or town fails to remove your vehicle from their property tax rolls.

    No Registration Refunds

    The Rhode Island DMV does not offer partial refunds of unused vehicle registration fees. You are only entitled to a refund if you have 1 year left on vehicle registration that would be valid for 2 years. To claim the refund, download the Refund Application Form to submit to the main DMV office.

    Getting Settled in Your New Home

    Once you arrive at your new state of residence, apply for a new driver's license and vehicle registration as soon as possible. While Rhode Island allows new state residents 30 days to update these documents, each state has slightly different rules.

    Generally, you can apply for a new license and vehicle registration by visiting the nearest branch of the Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Transportation, or Department of Revenue during regular business hours. In most cases, no appointment is necessary. However, you may want to call ahead anyway to inquire about proof of identity document requirements and payment for any applicable fees.