Changed my state of residence from California. Harder to go back to California?


7+ Year Member
Sep 2, 2012
Medical Student
Hello friends,

I am just a first year DO student but thought my question might be more suitable for this forum (and not med student forum). I changed my state of residence to one of the Midwest states (from California) since that's where I go to school. If I want to go back to California for rotations and residency, will I be at a disadvantage compared to California students since I'm not a Californian anymore?

I heard that residency programs (especially Californian ones) look for regional ties and think I made a mistake by cutting my ties to California... When I go back to California for the winter break, should I change my license and registration to California again? Then I would have to use my parent's apartment address though... Any input would be greatly appreciated.


Trauma Attending
10+ Year Member
Feb 4, 2006
Attending Physician
No. For those that care about "ties" to California all that matters is that you used to live here and your parents still do. It doesn't matter at all what your registered address is. Actually people will think it's weird if you are registered somewhere other than where you live.
It actually may cause you significant problems to be listed as living in California when you aren't - your new state may require your car to be registered where you live, it comes up on your taxes, may change your school tuition, etc. Be a resident where you actually live and go to school.
  • Like
Reactions: Winged Scapula
Aug 12, 2015
Fellow [Any Field]
The meaning behind "regional ties" is that you have family/friends/support system that will pull you into sticking to the area. Many places look for this because they want their graduates to stay in the area after they graduate instead of flying back to henceforth from whence they came.

You will be disadvantaged from doing 4th year rotations in California regardless for the simple reason that you are not going to medical school in California. Unless your school has established relationships with Cali hospitals.


7+ Year Member
Sep 16, 2012
Attending Physician
The fact you were born there and have family there is much more important than your current state of residence. I personally didn't have any problem getting away rotations or interviews for residency in CA.

With that said, you can actually keep your old state of residence if you are a full-time student. I talked with both the CA and IL DMV and both were fine with me keeping a CA license/registration. Maybe there are different policies in a few other states, but as a general rule out of state students are not considered residents. It was nice--I didn't have to change my license or registration, and when I renewed my registration I didn't have to pay county taxes anymore, or get a smog check. There was no real benefit to me changing my license/registration.

Some states do allow you to claim residency after being a student for a year or two (most don't), which would allow you to be eligible for in-state tuition. But remember just getting a license/registration in a state doesn't make you a legal resident--you have to be paying taxes, and generally be there for reasons other than to get an education.

However, it is generally recommended to get insurance in the area where you're keeping your car. At the very least you need to talk to your insurance agent and let them know where you're living now, as your rates will differ (I just got a new State Farm agent/policy). And more importantly, some states like MI require specific no-fault riders if you keep your out-of-state insurance plan, otherwise you're driving illegally (as you won't have the minimum insurance). That's far more important than changing your plates/registration.
  • Like
Reactions: Winged Scapula


Lifetime Donor
7+ Year Member
Mar 13, 2012
Resident [Any Field]
No, you'll be fine. You clearly have strong ties to the region, just make that obvious (if it isn't based on where you went for undergrad).