Help me establish California residency without a permanent home address.
August 20, 2016 3:57 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving from the East Coast to Los Angeles in the next few weeks. It is intended to be a permanent move, but I will be staying at an Airbnb for the first couple of months while I apartment-hunt, etc. In studying the California DMV guidelines here I see that I will need to provide a residential address to print on the license (even if I use a PO Box for my mail.) Is there any way around this?

It seems like a bad idea (potentially illegal or fraudulent?) to use the Airbnb address. I maybe could use a friend's address, but that also feels legally gray to me.

I was hoping to get most of the official admin stuff out of the way (smog check, driver's license, car registration, etc.) in my first week or so in LA before I start my full-time job. I realize I might be able to wait until I have my own place and may be considered a temporary resident until then (not required to get my driver's license transferred yet) but that could take months, and I'd love to get it taken care of while I have the time, and with plenty of leeway to get registered to vote before November.

What also makes it particularly urgent for me is that I would love to get a medical marijuana license and begin using it as soon as possible. I've read online that it might be possible to get the medical marijuana license as a non-CA resident (without a CA driver's license) at some doctor's offices and you might be able to use it at some dispensaries, but not most. All insight welcome!
posted by futura_light to Law & Government (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If the Airbnb address is where you will be actually living for the time being, there is no fraud or illegality in listing it as your residential address. It is the appropriate address to use. As soon as you relocate you notify DMV and they will make the change and, I believe, send you a sticker to put on your license showing the new address.
posted by uncaken at 4:18 PM on August 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

Seems totally legit to use the AirBnb address, especially since you'll be there a few months. Be sure to submit mail forwarding once you move.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 4:22 PM on August 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

In my experience in California, there is no sticker. You can (and are required by law to) change your address with the DMV whenever you move, but the original one stays printed on the license card until you get a new license.

There's nothing wrong with using the address of a place you legitimately live for several months and changing it after a move though.
posted by zachlipton at 4:31 PM on August 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Staying in an Airbnb for over 30 days makes you legally a tenant of that apartment in California.
posted by bradbane at 4:35 PM on August 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best answer: It is increasingly difficult, I am told, to get your Green Card without a CA license* (it's not actually legally required but doctors and dispensaries are pretty hardcore about it). Just go get your license first thing with your Airbnb address.

*Although I am told that Venice Beach is where to go to find tourist-friendly doctors and dispensaries. You'll still be better off if you have a CA temp license in hand.

Change your cell phone bill to your Airbnb address right away, so you have it for backup documentation along with your rental agreement for your temporary digs. Make an appointment for the DMV online, do not just go in.

The state really is looking for the address where they're most likely to find you, the place where you reside, it's not about busting you for not having a traditional lease. Change your address when you move, they send you a new license.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:35 PM on August 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you all! Exactly what I needed to know.
posted by futura_light at 4:48 PM on August 20, 2016

I've never seen anything at any dispensaries that would hint at some kind of out-of-state card, and I've never seen a mention of it in any of the zillions of ads that have been run on the back pages of the SF Weekly.

You can get a card the same day you get the ID in the mail, it's just an hour or two at the evaluation. It's possible they'd take a non-picture temp card, but call first to be sure.
posted by rhizome at 7:27 PM on August 20, 2016

Also, the only address on my CA license is my P.O. Box so you may be able to use that.
posted by carolr at 4:24 AM on August 21, 2016

Download the Eaze app once you're settled. You can do a face-to-face doctor consult online and get your card immediately, without leaving the house. Just have to be in CA.
posted by buzzkillington at 6:43 AM on August 21, 2016

I don't know about CA but I've moved around a lot and the easiest thing to get a legal address is having a bank do a rush order on a new check run. They're not very strict (at all) about printing up check with new addresses. DMVs will accept this everywhere I've been.
posted by geoff. at 5:23 AM on August 22, 2016

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