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relocating to St. Thomas for a year  

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mtdoramike
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January 8, 2013 10:38 pm  

Hi, my wife and I are retired and located in Florida and plan to relocate to St. Thomas for a year or so. My question is, I would like to purchase a used car in St. Thomas to drive around with. But I don't want to have to turn in my Florida drivers license and obtain a St. Thomas drivers license since we would be returning to the states in a year or so. I'm aware that I would have to obtain St. Thomas license plates and registration for the car as well as insurance, which I have no problem with. I just would hate to go through the hassle of getting a bew St. Thomas DL only to return to Florida a year later and have to get a new FL DL as well.

Any way around this or am I stuck here.

Thanks,
Mike


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Linda J
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January 8, 2013 11:45 pm  

Just don't do it. There is very little chance you will be caught. Just be aware that you'll be in violation of the law.


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mtdoramike
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January 8, 2013 11:52 pm  

Just don't do it. There is very little chance you will be caught. Just be aware that you'll be in violation of the law.

Yes, but the problem is, when I go to get the vehicle registered in my name and get the license plate, they are going to want to see my drivers license and if I don't have a St. Thomas DL, they won't allow me to register the car.

I know there has to be a way around this. There are people that travel back and forth to St. Thomas from the states all the time like retired folks who have a home in St. Thomas as well as one in say New York and spend like 6 months in each place. I'm sure they own a car in St. Thomas as well as where they live in the states and I would imagine they don't switch out drivers licenses every 6 months.


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divinggirl
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January 9, 2013 12:40 am  

You can register a car regardless of where your license is from. That said, if you plan to "live" on STT then the law requires you to obtain a VI driver's license.


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St X
 St X
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January 9, 2013 2:55 am  

Renew your Florida license before you leave. When you get here, jump through all the hoops and get your VI license and registration, etc.
When you go back to Florida, go to DMV and tell them you lost your license and need a new card. You should still be in their system as a current licensed driver.
If you're not up for renewal in the next year or so, you don't even have to worry about the renewal part.


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Ronnie
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January 9, 2013 4:26 am  

Renew your Florida license before you leave. When you get here, jump through all the hoops and get your VI license and registration, etc.
When you go back to Florida, go to DMV and tell them you lost your license and need a new card. You should still be in their system as a current licensed driver.
If you're not up for renewal in the next year or so, you don't even have to worry about the renewal part.

That's what I did Mike. I turned in my VI license when living in Fl and commuting back and forth, and I as returned home, I got a new duplicate of it, so I had two for some time.


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AandA2VI
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January 9, 2013 5:20 am  

In AZ we ordered 2 new ones claiming the original we're lost. Cost $7 each and mailed to us in a week. This way we can give one up when we get our VI ones and still have one AZ set for when we come back to visit...or move back lol. Pretty funny our AZs don't expire until I'm like 80 😕


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speee1dy
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January 9, 2013 12:03 pm  

i had a florida drivers license for a few year and then i went to md for a visit and got one from there, finally got one here and it is due for renewal this year in october. i am hoping to not be here by then though. i had procrastinated so long on getting one here because of the horror stories i had heard which were not true.
i think you should be fine for the year you are here.


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beachy
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January 9, 2013 2:16 pm  

DMV does not seem to notify the states when you actually turn in a license. A relative went through the process, then a few months later needed a transcript of the stateside license...and it was still in effect.


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Mytcar34
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January 10, 2013 5:20 am  

Ok it is illegal to be licensed in two states at the same time period VI included. If you get a ticket and they run your licence it will flag it.It is against the law to posses two drivers licence. Most states when you apply for a new licence you must surrender your current licence which they normally cut or destroy I moved from Texas to Alaska got a Alaska drivers licence had to surrender my Texas licence, when we return to Texas in April i will have to retake driving test to get a new drivers licence. If you apply for a duplicate/ lost licence you are in violation just because you have got a duplicate licence does not make it valid period. The VI may be a bit more forgiving you may have to get the current VI licence before 90 days on island to transfer a title and get insurance. The correct way would be to get a current VI licence for a year then when you make the move home reapply for a new Florida licence.I know its a pain and cost money Suggest you contact the VI vehicle department and the Florida DMV to be sure. Good luck on your adventure.


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Linda J
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January 10, 2013 10:25 am  

The VI law says that, if you live in the VI for at least 90 days, you must get a VI drivers license. This law is ignored and I'll tell you why. Some people, on STX, at least, are "snow birds". They come down for the 4-6 months of winter. Many own homes and vehicles both in the VI and their home state. It is unrealistic to expect these folks to swap drivers licenses twice a year. So they do nothing. They keep their stateside licenses. They register their cars under that license, and, if pulled over, tell the officer they are not permanent residents. I agree that a person who lives in the VI all the time should get a VI license, but there are many reasons why people do not.


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mtdoramike
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January 10, 2013 11:58 am  

The VI law says that, if you live in the VI for at least 90 days, you must get a VI drivers license. This law is ignored and I'll tell you why. Some people, on STX, at least, are "snow birds". They come down for the 4-6 months of winter. Many own homes and vehicles both in the VI and their home state. It is unrealistic to expect these folks to swap drivers licenses twice a year. So they do nothing. They keep their stateside licenses. They register their cars under that license, and, if pulled over, tell the officer they are not permanent residents. I agree that a person who lives in the VI all the time should get a VI license, but there are many reasons why people do not.

This is my point exactly. There should be a way around this legally. But just like Linda describes, Florida is in the same boat. Here we have snowbirds that own a home up north and own a home here in Florida and spend 6 months at each home. They don't change licenses or tags each 6 months either. But by law they are required to if they meet the following residency requirements such as: Owning a home in that state, obtaining employment in that state or enrolling their children in school in that state. In St. Thomas, I would be doing neither of the three and can not find St. Thomas's residency requirements any where on line.

We are both retired, our child is grown and we would be renting a home while there.


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Linda J
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January 10, 2013 3:19 pm  

I'll be honest. For a long time during our 8+ years on STX I kept my KY drivers license. Lazy, I guess. I decided that if I was ever pulled over I'd just tell the truth. Finally, I turned in my KY license and got a VI one. But I would not have felt comfortable swearing under oath (via affidavit) to KY that I'd lost it to get another KY license.

To the best of my knowledge there is no way around this law, it's pretty clearly stated. And, IMO, it's a waste of time and energy trying. So, go ahead, be a scofflaw!!.


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blu4u
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January 10, 2013 4:13 pm  

The VI law says that, if you live in the VI for at least 90 days, you must get a VI drivers license. This law is ignored and I'll tell you why. Some people, on STX, at least, are "snow birds". They come down for the 4-6 months of winter. Many own homes and vehicles both in the VI and their home state. It is unrealistic to expect these folks to swap drivers licenses twice a year. So they do nothing. They keep their stateside licenses. They register their cars under that license, and, if pulled over, tell the officer they are not permanent residents. I agree that a person who lives in the VI all the time should get a VI license, but there are many reasons why people do not.

Linda, Techincally, "snow birds" who come to the VI for six months (or 2 months or whatever) are not full time residents. Especially if they mantain a fulltime residence in FL. I believe they can purchase and register and insure a car in the VI with their FL license. My brother was able to do it with his NY license.
AandA, Since you are moving to VI and the VI will be your full time residence, why not give up your AZ lic? Will you be filling taxes in the VI? Changing your voter registration? Honestly folks getting VI DL isn't water boarding. Bring a magazine.Go early. Chat it up with other customers.

And if your insurance company ever runs a "post claim" search and discovers that your have two licenses in two different states, they will probalby refuse the claim based upon fraud.


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mtdoramike
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January 10, 2013 4:38 pm  

It's a violation of federal law to possess two drivers license from two different locations.

"Linda, Technically, "snow birds" who come to the VI for six months (or 2 months or whatever) are not full time residents. Especially if they maintain a full-time residence in FL. I believe they can purchase and register and insure a car in the VI with their FL license. My brother was able to do it with his NY license." This is my point, we wouldn't be spending more than 6 months to a year at the most on St Thomas. Our home is now in Florida and has been for the past 38 years. My wife was borned and raised on the Northside of St. Thomas and still has family there that she would like to reconnect with but only for an extended visit and not to settle there and take up residence.

I lived on St. Thomas back in the early 70's for about 5-6 years and left there in 1976. I used to work for Blue Beards Castle back when it was a hotel and St. Thomas Foods when they were still around not to mention a few other places that needed maintenance work. St. Thomas is a beautiful place to visit and even stay for a few years, but not to live there unless you are an exceptional type of person who thrives on that lifestyle.


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noOne
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January 10, 2013 11:47 pm  

I dunno, when I moved to North Carolina in '97 I went and got a license here. When I was done with everything, I tried to turn in my old MA license and was told I could keep it. Maybe the licensing laws vary from state to state (or territory).


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fdr
 fdr
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January 11, 2013 10:55 am  

1997 is pre 9/11 -- the rules have changed everywhere, a lot.


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Ca. Dreamers
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January 11, 2013 12:25 pm  

We got here October 22nd, cars got here October 31st we spent all of 2 hours in the BMV getting all the titles a straight, walked out with plates and titles. We both have since turned in our California DLs and obtained our VI DLs, all in less than 2 hours at the BMV. The fear of the BMV is greatly exaggerated. If you go in pleasant without issues they will respond in kind. If your gonna live here you better "LIVE HERE"!


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mtdoramike
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January 11, 2013 1:05 pm  

We don't want to "LIVE THERE", we only want to go for an extended visit for around 6 months-8 months. What we want to do is buy a car on island upon our arrival for hopefully $5000.00-$6000.00 that we will use while there and then resell the car before we return to the states. This will keep us from having to rent a car for that length of time, which would cost a lot more than that. If we were going down to live or spend more than a year on island, then I wouldn't have a problem changing out DL's and get my St. Thomas DL. But for a 6 month stay is a bit rediculous.


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VIsnorkeler
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January 11, 2013 3:24 pm  

You don't need a driver's lisc issued by the USVIs to buy, insure, or sell a car here. Stop worrying about it.


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speee1dy
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January 11, 2013 7:50 pm  

i am with visnorkler on this. as i stated i had stateside license for years-the only reason i changed was because i got called for jury duty in md. needed to stop that from happening again


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Mytcar34
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January 11, 2013 10:39 pm  

If you get pulled over in the VI if they run your plates it will show your VI address also your insurance card will show your VI address and your going to hand them a Licence from Florida, good luck.


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blu4u
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January 11, 2013 10:59 pm  

Why? Alot of folks have second homes in the VI and travel for extended periods? These folks are committing any sort of fraud by vacationing...


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CAtoSTX
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January 11, 2013 11:51 pm  

I've never had a problem using my VI license, except maybe a bouncer questioning its validity.
Even renting cars stateside has never been an issue.

If you live here, get your license... It's a badge o honor.
If you're just temporary, don't bother with the hassle
Why is there so much debate over it?


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sheiba
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January 12, 2013 12:54 am  

I live in the vi 10 months of the year. Have a south Carolina license. Own a car in st Croix. Have been pulled over with s.c. license. They question it, I tell them I'm here part of the year, they say ok.
You should not have any problems. Police are accustomed to seeing non vi licenses. Somewhat common with the snowbirds.


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