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Moving to Alaska for Free?

May 1st, 2014 - 1:39 PM

Will Alaska really pay me to move there?

 It’s time to squash the rumors that you can move to Alaska for free or get paid to move to Alaska. They're not true.

It's unfortunate, I know.

The rumors got started as a result of the state’s Permanent Fund Program, through which all of Alaska’s permanent residents (children and adults) get a little piece of the state’s oil wealth each year. Alaska has been paying out Permanent Fund dividend checks since 1982 in amounts ranging from $331 to $2,069 per person. The payout for 2013 was $900. Not bad, but still not close to 2008’s $2,069 payout (the highest yet). A person eligible for dividend checks since the program’s inception would have received $35,143.41 from the State to date.

Can I move to Alaska for free?

You don’t get paid to move there, but you CAN get paid to live there

It’s true. You can get paid to live in Alaska, but you must have intentions to be an Alaskan citizen indefinitely; you're in it for the long-haul. Like any program, there are some strict requirements you must meet to qualify. In fact, in 2013, 670,865 Alaskans applied, but only about 640,436 are estimated to qualify.

Before you start packing your stuff with intentions of moving to Alaska for a Dividend check, make sure you'll meet the eligibility requirements.

How do I establish residency in Alaska?

Did you notice that the big eligibility requirement is establishing residency? To do this, you’ll need to get an Alaska driver’s license, register to vote, register a vehicle, purchase a home, or sign a lease for non-government housing. And you’ll need to make sure you don’t: register to vote in another state or county, file a resident tax return in another state, or execute a will that shows your residency in another state. Otherwise, the Alaska Department of Revenue will assume you don’t intend to stay in Alaska permanently—and that means you won’t qualify.

Why does Alaska give its residents “free” money?

It all began in 1969 when Alaska auctioned off 164 tracts of state-owned land to oil companies with the highest bid—which netted $900 million. This was a huge deal for Alaska! And the debates began… is the State spending the money right? Where should the money go? In 1976, it was put to a vote and Alaska voters established the Permanent Fund Program, which puts a percentage of the oil money into a fund called the “Permanent Fund,” to save money for future Alaskans. Then in 1982, the first dividend check of $1,000 was distributed to Alaska residents.

What about free land in Alaska?

While the Federal Homestead Act of 1862 made it possible for the government to provide “free” land to homesteaders willing to develop it, it came to an end in 1986 with the repeal of the Act. The State of Alaska website does, however, offer land for sale in Alaska. Take a look at what’s currently available.

It’s Almost Like Moving to Alaska for Free

So, we’ve established that moving to Alaska isn’t free, and the State doesn’t pay you to move there—but, if you’ve decided that a permanent move to the Last Frontier is in your plans, there are moving options that are convenient, low-cost, and don’t involve driving a rental truck up the ALCAN.

U-Pack Moving is an excellent option.

Let’s face it, moving to Alaska with full-service movers is expensive. And driving a rental truck up the ALCAN Highway is possible, but stressful. And why experience the beauty of Alaska in a rental truck when you can experience it on your own time, in your personal vehicle (or from the skies)?

Here’s how moving to Alaska works with U-Pack:

A moving trailer, ReloCube, or 40 ft. ocean container is delivered to your location. You load it, and we take care of the transportation to your new home in Alaska (or you can save money by unloading at the service center in Anchorage). It usually takes about 8-13 business days for your shipment to arrive—depending on where you’re moving from.

If you’d like to know the price to move to Alaska with U-Pack, or if you just want to see if your Alaska location is serviceable to the door, give us a call at 800-413-4799 or enter some of the basic information about your move online and we’ll email your quote. In most cases you’ll find that the price is comparable to truck rental.

We hope we’ve answered your questions about the “moving to Alaska for free” myth. If you have other questions, please leave a comment below. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. Happy moving!

More Alaska Resources:

Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend Eligibility Requirements
How to Establish Residency in Alaska
How to get a driver's license in Alaska
Moving to Alaska Frequently Asked Questions