(a) For the purposes of this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:
(1) DECLARATION OF RESIDENCE. Any written document which conveys a person's intention to designate any place within this state as his or her place of residence.
(2) PERSON. Whether used in the singular or plural form, a natural person who is a citizen of the United States. When used in reference to the designation of a place of residence, the word "person" shall include any dependent minor child of a person.
(3) PLACE or PLACE OF RESIDENCE. A physical location which is capable of habitation and may be described in any way reasonably calculated to locate the same.
(4) RESIDENT. A lawful citizen of this state for all legal purposes other than registration to vote or qualification for elected office.
(b) Any person who is absent from this state on military duty, eleemosynary journey, mission assignment, or other similar venture may designate any place within the State of Alabama as his or her residence. Upon filing a notarized declaration of residence with the judge of probate of the county in which the designated place of residence is located, the person and his or her dependent children shall thereafter be considered residents of that designated place for all purposes under the law.
(c) The judge of probate of the county, upon receipt of a declaration of residency, shall file the same within the public record of his or her office.
(d) Notwithstanding the foregoing, a declaration of residence filed under this section shall not affect the person's eligibility to register to vote or qualify for an elected office if that person otherwise meets the requirements of law to register to vote or to qualify for elected office.
(e) Notwithstanding the foregoing, if a person is previously registered to vote in a district their voting rights shall continue in that district.
(f) In the event a person has filed a declaration of residence as provided in this section and otherwise meets all requirements of law to register to vote or to qualify for elected office, then that person may also register to vote or qualify for elected office at the place of residence designated pursuant to this section.
(g) Notwithstanding the foregoing, the filing of a declaration of residence under this section does not establish permanent residency for the person filing the declaration for the purposes of eligibility for the Alabama G.I. and Dependents' Educational Benefit Act, Sections 31-6-1 through 31-6-17, inclusive.
(h) Nothing in this section shall be used to change the venue of any pending civil action or for the purpose of forum shopping.
(i) Notwithstanding the foregoing, the filing of a declaration of residence under this section does not establish permanent residency for the person filing the declaration for the purposes of qualifying for in-state tuition rates at a state-supported institution of higher education, unless the person either filed a personal income tax return with the State of Alabama or would have been required to file a personal income tax return if the person otherwise had a tax liability.