Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How To Become A Texan.

This blog will take you through all the steps it took for us to become Texas residence.  It is my intent to help answer some of the questions one might have on the subject. 

We do not claim that your experience is going to be the exact same as ours or that you will not have any difficulties by using our examples.  Also if the Texas residence requirements change from what they were for us, they will not be updated on this blog.

We decided to become Texas residence mainly for the home school requirements, which are easier in Texas than in West Virginia.  In West Virginia we had to register the kids every year with the county school board and then have their work evaluated by a licensed West Virginia teacher to be turned in to the school board by June 30th each year.

Meeting the above requirements, on the road, got a little complicated and was just one more issue to deal with.  Becoming Texans eliminates the issue and lets us concentrate on other matters.

As with anything that you are given complete control over, we have to stay disciplined with the home schooling so that we do not slack off and cheat our children out of an education. 

Another bonus is that there are no personal property taxes on our RV in Texas or state income tax, which saves us a pretty penny every year.

So even though our hearts will always be in West Virginia, we are now Texans and proud of it.  It is like I tell everyone now, "Just call me Tex."

The first thing we had to do is get a Texas address which we did through the Escapees Mail Forwarding Service.  We actually drove down to Livingston, Texas to the Escapees Headquarters and did all the paper work there.  It was easier this way, plus we had to physically be in town anyway to become Texans.

The amount for the first year of service is $185.00 which pays for all the start up costs and your $50.00 of postage on-hand.  The next year will cost $85.00 for the annual fee along with you maintaining the $50.00 for postage.  You can read more about their rates by clicking here.

If you go to the link of Postal Form 1583 With Mail Service Contract you can download pdf files of the forms you will need to fill out.

The booklet titled, "How To Become a Real Texan" also on the above page will explain everything required of you to become a Texan.  This is actually what I used to get started when we decided to become Texans.
Escapees book on How To Become a Real Texan.
When you come to Livingston to Escapees headquarters, they give you a step by step list of what you have to do to become a Texan with a map which makes it pretty easy.

After we received our new Texas address we took our vehicles to Harrison Body Shop located at 1806 N Washington Ave, Livingston, TX 77351 and had them inspected.  

They are open Monday through Friday and all you have to do is call so they know you are coming.  I do not know whether they do travel trailers or fifth wheel inspections, but they do inspect regular vehicles along with class A motor homes.  Their phone number is 936-327-4338.

After we had our out of state vehicle inspections done, we took the inspection paperwork, our West Virginia registrations, proof of insurance (that we had changed to Texas) and a filled out Texas DMV Form 130-U to the Polk Count Tax Assessor Office in Livingston and registered the vehicles.

For a pdf version of the Form 130-U you can get a copy at the TxDMV website.

After we had the vehicles registered it was time to go apply for our driving license.  Now if your RV weighs more than 26001 pounds and your tow vehicle does not weigh more than 10000 pounds, then you are going to be required to get your Class B non-commercial license, which means you will have to take a written and a driving test. 

I'm not going into detail on this, but this is what we had to do in our situation since our Fleetwood Discovery 40G GVWR is 32,400 and our tow vehicle GVWR is 8000.  You can go to the Texas Department of Public Safety website for the specifics on the different classes of license.

Sounds scary, but it really is not.  Both Misty and I passed the written test and driving test on the first tries, because we studied and practiced.  We probably would have done fine with the driving test, without practice, but since we did practice, we knew all of the ins and outs of the course.

First we filled out a Drivers License Application (DL-14A.pdf) and then headed to the Drivers License Office in Livingston.  We had to have our vehicle registrations, proof of insurance (which we changed over to Texas after getting our TX address), and West Virgina drivers license. After filling out a couple of other forms they give you there, we took our eye test, had our picture taken, and took the written test.

For the written test all we did was study Chapter 14 of the Texas Commercial Drivers Handbook (DL-7C.pdf) and did fine on it.  It is a 20 question test that is given to you on a computer. 

After passing the written test, we were scheduled for our driving test, which was a month later.  So we just stayed in Livingston at the Escapees Rainbow's End campground.

RV parked in front of the Livingston, Texas Drivers License Office to take our driving test.
As I mentioned earlier, we figured out what the route was for the driving test and actually drove it ahead of time, which helped a good bit.  I feel we would have passed without the practice, but it really helped Misty, just to know what was coming up.
Livingston Texas Class B Drivers License Route.
Looking at the above picture I will try to lay it out for you.  I used colored circles and arrows on the map to try and show the route easier.  These are for the blog only and are not really on the route you drive. (So in the below route instructions, the colored circles referenced are only for the above route map.)

All that was required for the driving test was the tester to check that all of our flashers, brake lights, and horn worked on the RV and then have us drive the below route.  There were no technical questions asked, such as "how to do an air brake test?" and no parallel parking.

Starting at the (green circle) in front of the Driver License Office on N Washington Ave drive south to 190 W Church Street.

At the (blue circle) turn right on 190 W Church St and drive west.  Drive west on it until the US 59 Loop-N.

At the (red circle) turn right on US 59 Loop-N feeder road.  Drive on the US 59 Loop-N until you reach N Houston St.


At the (orange circle) turn right on N Houston St.  


After crossing RR tracks turn right at the (yellow circle) on N Washington Ave and drive south. 

Once you reach Allie Bean Dr (pink circle) turn left.  This is the street that they will have you back up in a straight line on for about 20 yards.  Follow it to N Houston St.

At N Houston St (purple circle) make a left and follow the street back to N Washington Ave.

At the (teal circle) turn left on N Washington Ave and drive south until you are back in front of the Driver License Office.

Easy peasy lemon squeezey!

After passing the driving test you will be issued a printout with your license info and photo as a temporary license until you receive your permanent license in the mail.

We also signed up for our voters registration cards off of our drivers license applications.  You can either get them then or when you register your vehicles, but why fill out a drivers license application and voters registration form when the drivers application will suffice for both?

So now we are 100% Texan.

I hope that our experience will help someone else to become a Texan without any problems.  I had all sorts of questions and fears heading into it, but now know that there really was nothing to worry about.

God bless!

Thanks!
Don, Misty, and Kids...











7 comments:

  1. Great post, I'm sure this will be very helpful to people. We were already Texans when we started which made it easy. In 2011-2012, we full-timed for 14 months and made it to 40 states. Bummed we missed yours though. We hope to do it again! Let us know if you need any advice on places to visit, etc http://wherevertheroadleads.blogspot.com/

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  2. Were glad that you liked it and hope it helps someone else who wants to become a Texan.

    Maybe when you hit the road next time, you can make it to West Virginia.

    Also we will keep in mind to ask you about places we are about to visit.

    Misty and I also want to congratulate you on the birth of your daughter, Katie!

    We will add you to our blog roll and follow your blog.

    Thanks!
    Don, Misty, and Kids...

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  3. We corresponded a few weeks ago about possibly meeting in KY or TN. Having email troubles (with the one I gave earlier). We are at Diamond caverns TT for another week/ possibly 2 and then not sure after that.

    BTW- this is a great post on how to become a Texan! We went through this process last spring and share your address.

    Deb. (desertrainblog.com)

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  4. Deb,

    We are currently about 3 hours from your location in Yuma, TN and will be here until Saturday at which time we will drive to Campbellsville, KY to stay for a couple months.

    If you would want to meet half way this week, then Nashville would be just about middle way for the both of us.

    I will look to see what's all in the Nashville area that maybe we can both visit and meet, depending upon your schedule.

    We really would like to meet even if it is just for a little while.

    Thanks!
    Don

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  5. We will be here in KY (a bit over an hour from Campbellsville) through most of next week now. James works most days of the week but might have time Sunday. You may still be getting settled then. Let us know if that works. We may be able to come there or if you'd rather come here that's great too. There are a couple other full time families here. Deb

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    Replies
    1. We could either drop by your place on Saturday when driving to Campbellsville or run back over on Sunday. Our schedule is pretty much open until Monday, when Misty starts work with Amazon.

      Don

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  6. Either one works for us. Our email is working now info@desertrainblog so let us know what works best. We are flexible. We look forward to meeting you all... I mean y'all (being Texans now). Deb

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