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Old 01-05-2021, 01:41 AM   #1
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Default Hawaii Resident wants to purchase/register Class B on Mainland

My wife and I (both retired) live in Hawaii (Oahu) and want to buy and use an RV exclusively on the mainland continental U.S. - the RV would never be in Hawaii. We plan to maybe travel 4-6 months a year in it, and keep it parked in storage the rest of the year (and the storage location might be in various locations depending on our itinerary's).

I can't figure out how we would register it on the mainland in a state that we are not residents of? And shipping it back to Hawaii just to register it would not be an option! We plan to maintain our Hawaii residency and Hawaii drivers license.

Thanks for any insight or help!

- Brian
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Old 01-05-2021, 01:56 AM   #2
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Are you sure that the vehicle needs to be physically in Hawaii in order to register it? Sometimes a photograph or a pencil rubbing of the VIN plate suffices.

These kinds of rules vary wildly by state and aren't even always mutually consistent. We live in Pennsylvania and have a vacation home in New Mexico, where we keep a car. When we looked into registration, we discovered that PA said that the vehicle should be registered where it is primarily used, and NM said that you must be a resident in order to register a vehicle. We flipped a coin and purchased and registered the vehicle in PA and immediately drove it to NM, where it has been ever since.

I realize that this story doesn't quite answer your question, but it does illustrate that these things are not all that cut and dried. If Hawaii won't register the vehicle without it being in their presence, I would check out several Western states until you find one that will register one to a non-resident. I am pretty sure you will find one.
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Old 01-05-2021, 02:33 AM   #3
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Hi Avanti, thanks for your reply. I think this is a similar situation to owning and keeping a car in another state that you might have a vacation home in but are not a resident of.

But from what I can tell, to register a car (or RV) in Hawaii, you need to have a regular Hawaii inspection certificate, which I don't think can be done on the mainland.

Similarly, I can't register a vehicle in another state while having a Hawaii address and Hawaii drivers license!

It seems to be some kind of weird Catch-22. Also, for people on the mainland crossing state lines is easy, but not for those of us living in Hawaii - you have to cross the ocean!

In googling around, I haven't found a clear answer to this dilemma. I did see where I could setup an LLC in Montana but that sounds pretty ridiculous if I'm willing to pay the taxes and registration fees wherever I buy the vehicle.

My next step is to maybe call an RV dealer on the mainland and ask them what they think.
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Old 01-05-2021, 04:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by HawaiianBrian View Post
Similarly, I can't register a vehicle in another state while having a Hawaii address and Hawaii drivers license!
It is this assumption that I question.
In my non-expert reading of PA law, I see nothing that would prevent a non-resident from registering a vehicle. And, if it is true here, it may be true elsewhere. If I were you, I would check around in several states. It is worth checking with a notary public or whoever does the registration in the particular state.

Your "catch 22" point is similar to what my story illustrates. But, don't assume that you can't find a way to use ambiguity to your advantage.

I agree that the Montana thing is ridiculous. The whole thing is bogus and, as I understand it, not recognized in many other states.
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Old 01-05-2021, 04:51 AM   #5
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Washington State will let you register there if you have a vacation property. I have a motorcycle registered and insured to my vacation property address and a BC drivers licence. The motorcycle lives at my vacation property. I believe Arizona and Florida will also let you register a vehicle if you are from out if state but have a local address.
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Old 01-05-2021, 06:57 AM   #6
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consider/explore forming a Montana LLC which will own the RV


advantages:


NO sales tax on the RV !


No inspections


Plates/registration are permanent


there ARE tax implications - the LLC must have a legit reason to exist.
the RV can operate as a substitute for lodging when on mainland


I am not a lawyer or tax expert
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Old 01-05-2021, 07:00 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ks@yvr View Post
Washington State will let you register there if you have a vacation property.

Good Tip, Thanks.
we are considering getting a place at Pt Bob to be closer to family in BC
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Old 01-05-2021, 08:57 AM   #8
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Have you checked out a couple of general RVing forums? "RV.net" and "iRV2 forums" are a couple that come to mind. I know both of them have sub boards for full-timers. Many of those guys do not have permanent homes. They full time in their MH's and move about. I bet they would have good ideas how to accomplish what you are trying to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HawaiianBrian View Post
My wife and I (both retired) live in Hawaii (Oahu) and want to buy and use an RV exclusively on the mainland continental U.S. - the RV would never be in Hawaii. We plan to maybe travel 4-6 months a year in it, and keep it parked in storage the rest of the year (and the storage location might be in various locations depending on our itinerary's).

I can't figure out how we would register it on the mainland in a state that we are not residents of? And shipping it back to Hawaii just to register it would not be an option! We plan to maintain our Hawaii residency and Hawaii drivers license.

Thanks for any insight or help!

- Brian
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Old 01-05-2021, 07:23 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies. I also received a reply from another forum that mentioned that Florida allows you to register a vehicle if you live out of state but have a Florida address (I guess it could just be a mailbox service). I need to do more research though as I don't want to get into a bind after I purchase something.

Seems like this should be simpler, but I guess I have a somewhat unique situation. It's almost like I'd be a 'semi' full-timer or something.

- Brian
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Old 01-05-2021, 07:36 PM   #10
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I'd strongly consider setting up an LLC to own/register the vehicle. We did that with an Era our family purchased. Setting up an LLC is not hard, I've done it many times and it usually costs no more than a few hundred bucks, and then maybe $100 or so a year to keep it active with the state. If you decide to rent the RV out using outdoorsy or similar during the part of the year that you don't use it, the LLC should give you some liability shield (I'm not a lawyer, so check into this yourself).

A lot of people put all kinds of valuable assets in LLCs these days. You'd be amazed as to how many homes are really owned by LLCs or trusts today. I'd wager that is particularly true in HI.
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Old 01-10-2021, 05:10 PM   #11
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Many years ago, I bought a car in NJ and then drove it to CA where I was and am a resident. I had to register in NJ to get title. When I got home, I re-registered it in CA; there was something like 3 or 6 months to do that. You should be able to find a state where you can do that and leave it registered there; look for the one that charges the lowest registration fee that you plan to pass through. You should be able to research this online by going to the DMV web pages of various states. Then you can renew your registration by mail.
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Old 01-10-2021, 05:31 PM   #12
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If you rent an RV site for 30 days, you can use that as a legal address. But it's not guaranteed you will get your mail after you leave, so get a PO box added as your mailing address. You can forward your mail from there.

Many (most, all?) states do not allow a mail forwarder or PO box as a legal address. And yes, they do check. It has to be a residential address.
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Old 01-10-2021, 05:31 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by stevegoldfield View Post
Many years ago, I bought a car in NJ and then drove it to CA where I was and am a resident. I had to register in NJ to get title. When I got home, I re-registered it in CA; there was something like 3 or 6 months to do that. You should be able to find a state where you can do that and leave it registered there; look for the one that charges the lowest registration fee that you plan to pass through. You should be able to research this online by going to the DMV web pages of various states. Then you can renew your registration by mail.
Maybe it worked that way once upon a time, but in every state I am aware of, that is not how it works today. Rather, the state in which the vehicle is purchased will issue an "in-transit" registration, which is valid for 30 days and does not constitute a true registration. OP cannot use this mechanism to register in Hawaii, because of the requirement for a physical safety inspection, which would require transporting the vehicle to Hawaii.
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Old 01-10-2021, 05:38 PM   #14
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What does the state of Hawaii have to say about this?
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Old 01-10-2021, 05:48 PM   #15
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Brian, I sent you a private message about this.
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Old 01-10-2021, 09:31 PM   #16
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I was a full timer for 6 years. I was a Good Sam member, and used their mail service. They were able to provide me with both a mail forwarding address, and a 911 address. They are a Florida address.

The Escapee club also offers mail forwarding services. They use both Texas and Florida as possible addresses.

I'd look into each of these clubs.

Nick

Now a Florida resident.
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Old 01-10-2021, 10:41 PM   #17
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Quote:
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What does the state of Hawaii have to say about this?
Nothing, unless OP wishes to register the vehicle in Hawaii. The question is whether there is any state that will register a vehicle to a non-resident.

I just found some useful information on this topic. According to this website:

https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/regi...non-residents/

the answer to the above question is "Yes", at least for the state of California:

Quote:
A non-resident vehicle must be registered in California if the vehicle is based in California or primarily used in California; a vehicle is considered to be primarily used in California if it is operated or located in the state for a greater amount of time than it is located or operated in any other jurisdiction.
I did not read the rules for all the states, but if this information is correct, it appears that this solves OP's problem. Whether California is unique in this regard, and if not whether it is the optimal choice, I do not know.
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Old 01-10-2021, 10:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HawaiianBrian View Post
My wife and I (both retired) live in Hawaii (Oahu) and want to buy and use an RV exclusively on the mainland continental U.S. - the RV would never be in Hawaii. We plan to maybe travel 4-6 months a year in it, and keep it parked in storage the rest of the year (and the storage location might be in various locations depending on our itinerary's).

I can't figure out how we would register it on the mainland in a state that we are not residents of? And shipping it back to Hawaii just to register it would not be an option! We plan to maintain our Hawaii residency and Hawaii drivers license.

Thanks for any insight or help!

- Brian
We live in Florida and my wife like to visit HI. I wish we could work out a deal. LOL There have been a lot of people moving to Florida and getting residence. They are getting a second home with a place to park an RV. A Class B is great and easy to park and store. We have a 2020 Travato K59, with 15,000 miles. We used this great vehicle most of the summer, and it is fully loaded and tricked out. Storage is always an issue and these vehicles need to be started and maintained (gas is only good for 45-69 days without additives). Especially generators. I have 12 hours on my generator and start it every other month with a load. It starts up on the first push every time. Yea. We may be interested in selling it in a few months, based on some family issues, but I know these Class B vehicles are in premium demand, so I won't be taking much less than asking. Maybe find a place like Arizona where it is dry and a lot of open land. Shorter flight from HI than across the country. We have learned so much about camping, traveling, and just enjoying the outdoors of the great USA this year.
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:28 AM   #19
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If your vehicle is over 15 years old and never registered in your name, You can register it in vermont without being a resident. You only need a bill of sale, not a registered title. You can do this directly with the state, or there are agents who charge a small fee to do it. https://www.cartitles.com/title-option-2/
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Old 01-11-2021, 12:52 AM   #20
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I don't know the answer to you question but I live in California and had a car in New York registered in New York. The only insurance company I could find to insure the New York Car was Progressive. My Car insurance for my cars in California would not add it on to my policy. Basically I'm saying to look into insurance along with the registration issues.
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