I have been in the US for a couple weeks now, my wife and I drove down to Illinois from Canada and brought our car with us. We have insurance on our vehicle now from a US company, but now we are running into the issue of registration.

Illinois has requirements for anyone who moves here and is a resident, that they must register their car in 30 days.

Am I considered a "resident" here, even though my visa is "non immigrant" status?

I can't find any exact explanation to this question, I even called the Secretary of State office here and he wasn't sure. The law allowing Canadiands to "tour" the US as detailed in this question is a bit confusing too - but I think it would only apply to B visas (tourists). (Entering the US with car using J-visa)

My plan is to register the car in the next two weeks, and suck it up I have to pay taxes, but I wanted to see if anyone else know this exact situation and if I could potentially get away with keeping my Canadian plates and avoiding the taxes.

  • I don't know the answer, but state government is different from federal government. Also, different departments in the state government have different definitions of resident. Departments that are likely to have different definitions are motor vehicles, income tax, real estate and personal property taxes, and fishing licenses. Aug 28 '19 at 21:31
  • I got that idea that State is different from Federal, which is similar to Canada. My best guess right now is that Illinois considers you a "resident" if you are here for longer than 30 days, but the Federal government overall doesn't consider me a resident. I'm still confused but I am continuing with my original plan to register later this month. Will see if anyone else can respond though. Thanks.
    – Benjamin
    Aug 29 '19 at 14:28
  • I've never been in Illinois except for O'Hare airport, but I did attend university in California, having lived in Connecticut before that. It was routine for out-of-state students to keep their out-of-state licenses and registrations for long periods of time, on the theory that they intended to return to their home state after they completed their studies, so were not residents. Aug 29 '19 at 17:43
  • Yes I looked into this - U.S. States have reciprocity of registration and licencing, so if you are from another state you can be in Illinois perpetually (if you have reciprocity). However, this reciprocity only applies to States and not to Canadian Provinces.
    – Benjamin
    Aug 30 '19 at 19:51
  • It's interesting that you mention re-registering the vehicle, but no mention of getting an Illinois driver license. If you have to change one, it seems likely you would have to change the other. If you do fill out any DMV forms, make sure you don't accidentally register to vote; doing so could get you banned from the US. Aug 30 '19 at 23:14

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