Saturday, February 14, 2009

Don't You Need a Permanent Address?

A correspondent in England ("S.O.") writes:
Hey Glenn, spent ages reading your blogs and was really interested by your articles on free sleeping, it certainly seems like an interesting way to live. As you seem to be doing it successfully I just wondered about how you get around the fact that if you want to hire a car for example or have a bank account, many organizations require one to be a homeowner or have a permanent place of residence. Or is this less of a problem in the States as opposed to England?
You'd think it would be a problem, but I rarely have to give a residential address for anything. My Post Office box works for almost everything. Whenever I need a non-PO box address, I use my parents' address in Massachusetts. Unless you have burned all your bridges, there is always some a relative or friend with a residential address who will let you claim it as "home" for occasional mailing. However, the only time I have used my parents' address is for manufacturer's rebates that say "No P.O. Boxes."

When you sign up for a PO Box, you have to show identification and give a residential address, but the address can be out of state, and they certainly don't verify it.

I recall that you also have to give a local residential address when you apply for a Nevada driver's license, but there is no attempt to verify it, and there is a space on the form for an alternate address where your mail should go. (I think the state is more concerned about you living in the state and not applying for a license than not living here and applying.) I have since changed my only address to be the PO Box, and that's the one that appears on my license. (I know, I was also surprised that they accepted it!)

I successfully applied for TSA airport security clearance without a permanent residential address, just the PO Box. They wanted to know all of my prior addresses, but I didn't lie on the form in any way.

The only time I had to fudge my address is when applying for health insurance through my employer. The insurance company needed my local residential address, and since Las Vegas is where I wanted the services, it couldn't be the Massachusetts address. In this case, I simply asked a friend if I could use his address. The application form also provided a separate mailing address where I put my PO box, and my friend in fact never received any mail from the insurance company.

Your cellphone, of course, is place-independent. Your area code is determined by the location of the office that you first walked into, but thereafter you can keep the same number for life (as long as you pay the bill).

As far as the taxman is concerned, I live in Nevada, which happens to have no state income taxes. (Nevada is still my residence more than anywhere else.)

It may be different in the U.K., but here in the states there just isn't any legal or financial need to have a permanent residential address.


  1. Love your blog. I feel like I found a "home!" I have spent the greater part of my youth "freewheelin" and free-living all over the US in my old brown PU truck.
    The Cal-Nev-Ari zone was my fav playground.
    I long for those days and am seriously thinking of liquidating all of my assets and taking to the road "free-style" again!
    Thanks for the encouragement.
    aka "MuleKist"
    a friend of animals & earth

  2. I needed to say that it’s great to know that someone discussed this as I had a hard time discovering the such a identical technical information elsewhere. This was the first web site that gave me the info. Thank you

    Nevada Drivers License

  3. I lived in Las Vegas, Nevada from October 2010 to February 2011. It was no picnic. All my estate money from my father ran out. The 1 lease-apartment I had behind Wynn Hotel, I could not afford the rent ($625/month), plus water bill, plus electric bill, plus sewage bill----all was out of my monthly budget, so I sacrificed not having a television, any rented/owned furniture----just one $25 foldable chair. That was what I sat on, ate on, and slept on. I felt homeless. I could not live like that, using the Las Vegas strip as my distraction, source of food, and my jobhunting grounds, just so I would not be sitting in my apartment after dark beyond normal business hours, staring into the darkness, staring into nothing, extremely depressed. So that was for my first month in Las Vegas. So I decided to move to a weekly apartment place called Siegel Suites 45-degrees behind Wynn Hotel, across the street adjacent to my first apartment (lease apartment). I kept running out of money because none of the places I applied to were hiring me. So, on my last month (7th month) in Las Vegas, I transferred to a worse-looking, worse-maintained weekly apartment a few blocks down the street that was $125 cheaper in rent. The carpet was very wet, soaked, soggy to walk on, and mold everywhere----so I had to spray Lysol Anti-Mold Disinfectant Spray everyday there for my first week out of 4 weeks just so my asthma would not return and so that I can endure sleeping on the couch there. The carpet finally dried up in the 2nd week. My place got broken into. Nothing valuable was found, just some of my things knocked down and ransacked while I was jobhunting. I do not own anything valuable. Anything I value (my cellphone and bank card) I kept very close to my body in my clothing and always with me wherever I went. Something I learned living in both Arizona and Nevada....even my home state of California. Of all the places in the U.S. I lived in in the last 15 years, Las Vegas was THE WORST; it even beat Arizona and a small town in Tennessee. I do like visiting parts of Las Vegas, but as long as nothing is paying me there jobwise legitimately and not have a condominium of my own at the good side of the strip, I will likely not live in Las Vegas again. I do need free lodging and free CNA training in a Nevada hospital to get back on my feet since we do not have them here in my area in California. Please, could someone help me get back on my feet?

  4. In addition to my last comment: If I do get hired for a long-term paying job in Nevada that is decent in amount, THEN I will live in Las Vegas again, of course. :) So can anyone please help me get back on my feet? :)

  5. I know I'm commenting on a very old post, but I've spent the evening reading everything from here forward. I wanted to add that now that phone number can pretty much be whatever you want it to be if you use Google Voice. You can forward your GV number to any phone you wish, so even if you change cell phones like you change your socks, you can always have your number.

  6. just find out the address of your post office and use the address and change the (po box) to ( # ) and put your box number there. it looks like a real apartment address that way. 1234 Main st # 601. Anytown, usa

  7. This is really an old thread. But, my experience with the US Postal Service PO Boxes is different than this. i have had the same po box number from 1970 or so. When I applied I needed a street address and had to bring the card USPO mailed to that address to finalize the application and get the box. This was fine for decades until recently, the last 5 years or more, I have needed to prove i have a street address in order to renew my box. I would not advise anyone to use a USA PO Box for an address unless they have a street address. Also, my PO Box loads up with junk mail two times a week. You need some one to empty the box. The PO will not forward any mail unless you close the box and change your address.