After moving to New Jersey, you'll need to establish residency to take part in many community activities. Stopping first at the Motor Vehicle Commission and getting a new driver's license will make things easier down the road. You can usually use your New Jersey license to prove your address and establish residency for other activities, such as registering to vote.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Once you find a place to live in New Jersey, you can establish permanent residency by registering your vehicle in the state, getting a New Jersey driver's license and registering to vote.
Get a New Driver's License and Register to Vote
You don't have to reside in New Jersey for a certain amount of time to get a state driver's license, but you will need to prove your new address by presenting documents such as utility bills, a lease or bank documents. To register to vote in New Jersey, you must be a resident of your county for at least 30 days prior to election day. You can present your driver's license or the last four digits of your Social Security number to register, or present the same type of documents used to get a license.
Register Your Vehicle
If you have a car, you'll need to transfer your vehicle title and registration to New Jersey within 60 days of moving there. You can visit any local motor vehicle agency with your new driver's license or some other proof of identification, along with your car title and your insurance information. If you're still paying on your car, you'll have to file an application to release title at the motor vehicle agency. The MVA will then send that information to your lender or lessor, who will release the title to the MVA. You'll need to return to the MVA at that point to complete the process. You'll also have to complete an Application for Certificate of Ownership and a Vehicle Registration Application and pay the appropriate fees.
In-State Tuition Requires 12 Months of Residency
If you plan to attend a public university in New Jersey and want to take advantage of the in-state tuition rate, you must live in the state for at least 12 months prior to enrolling and intend to remain there. To prove residence, you must present your driver's license, motor vehicle registration or voter registration plus three others forms of proof, such as income tax returns or proof of 12 months' employment.
Only Residents Can Work in Public Sector
To work in New Jersey's public sector, from government agencies to school boards, you must be a resident as required by the New Jersey First Act. This requires having your principal residence in the state, which means spending the majority of your non-working hours in New Jersey, having a domestic life rooted there and the state designated as your legal address. Employees must present documentation of their addresses or sign a certification of residency.
Divorce Requires 12 Months of Residency
If you plan to divorce after moving to New Jersey, you can only do so after you meet the state's residency requirement. If you're filing for a no-fault divorce based on irreconcilable differences, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least 12 months immediately prior to filing. A driver's license, utility bills or bank documents can be used to establish residency.
- Legal Services of New Jersey: Irreconcilable Differences—New Jersey's No-Fault Divorce
- State of New Jersey, Department of Labor and Workforce Development: New Jersey First Act
- Rutgers University: New Jersey Tuition Policy - Who is Eligible
- State of New Jersey, Department of State: Voter Registration Information
- State of New Jersey, Motor Vehicle Commission: Moving to New Jersey