Domicile and Residence – The Same and Different

Another concept that closely resembles and is often confused with domicile is “residence.” Residence does not, however, generally involve the requisite attitude of mind – the intent to remain permanently or indefinitely in a locality. Primarily, residence requires only physical presence in a particular locality, or an actual place of abode there. (See Stacher v. United States, 258 F.2d 112 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 358 U.S. 907 ( 1958); Weible v. United States, 244 E2d 158 (9th Cir. 1957).)

Residence is a necessary component of domicile, but the converse is not true. A person can have numerous residences, but only the place most significantly related to him, around which he organizes his life, is his domicile.

In other statutes, when the term “residence” is used, it is not al¬ways synonymous with “domicile.” For example, in construing the Immigration and Nationality Act (Immigration and Nationality Act §§ 310(a), 340(a), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1421(a), 1451(a)), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said: “There is an essential difference between ‘domicile,’ which generally involves intent, and ‘residence,’ which generally involves an actual place of abode.” (Stacher v. United States, 258 E2d 112, 116 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 358 U.S. 907 (1958).) The court found that residence, for purposes of that statute, did not involve intent. Therefore the interpretation of “residence” will depend on the purpose of the statute and the context in which it is used.


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