Determination of Residence
Residency status is determined at the time your application for admission or class registration is processed. The presumption is that before domicile is established, an individual must do everything a resident of Washington is required to do as stated below:
- Students must prove conclusively that they have not come to Washington State primarily for educational purposes. (Students who are enrolled for 7 credits or more a quarter.)
- Students must live in the state for at least 12 consecutive months as legal residents. A legal resident is an individual who has relinquished all valid legal ties (e.g., driver's license, voter registration, vehicle registration, etc.) with their former state of residence and established such ties in Washington.
- Establish legal ties:
- Permanent employment of 30 + hours will be a factor (if taking more than 6 credits a quarter during the first year of being present in Washington State).
- Driver's license/state ID. Students must obtain a Washington State Driver's License within 30 days of arrival if they have a current out-of-state driver's license. A Washington State Identification Card must be obtained if student has no driver's license.
- All motor vehicles, RV, boat, trailer registrations must be registered in Washington. Students who own or drive a vehicle in Washington must be registered in Washington within 30 days of arrival.
- Voter registration. Students who have a current out-of-state voter's registration must register to vote in Washington within 30 days of arrival. If an individual has previously registered to vote in another state, they must register to vote in Washington. If the student does not register to vote in Washington, this means that s/he may still vote absentee in the prior state of residency
- Establish a bank account in Washington.
- Be financially independent for the current and prior calendar years. (Students who are not 25 years of age or older must submit their parents' most recent tax returns).
Once domicile is established, the student may be eligible for in-state tuition 12 months from the date of arrival if all legal ties were in place within 30 days. This is because the Washington statute says that domicile must be in existence for one year immediately prior to the first day of the quarter for which the student wants to be classified as a resident.
The determination for residency can be complicated and other factors may help students establish proof of domicile. After filling out the residency questionnaire a residency officer will review it and may request additional documentation.
Proof of Residency
No single factor or specific combination of factors provide a guarantee that a student will be eligible for residency status. A student can begin to establish and document residency in the state of Washington by completing the following:
Obtain a Washington State driver license or identification card.
Register all motor vehicles in the state of Washington.
Register to vote in the state of Washington.
Provide copies of your rent receipts (or lease agreements or home purchase papers).
Open (or transfer) your checking/savings account to a bank branch in Washington State.
Keep receipts from Immigration and Naturalization Service that show the date your application for Permanent Resident Status was filed (if applicable).
After you have established domicile in the state of Washington for the required period, it is your responsibility to request a change in residency status. Applications for a change in classification will be accepted up to the thirtieth calendar day following the first day of the quarter for which application is made.
For more information, call 360.416.7620 or 360.675.6656.
Residency for Military Personnel
If you are active duty military, stationed in the state of Washington, you, your spouse and dependents qualify as residents for tuition purposes. At the time you, your spouse or dependent family members apply for admission, you must provide documentation such as a copy of your military ID card or other appropriate documents.
Student Eligibility to Pay In-State Tuition
House Bill 1079 which took effect July 1, 2003 allows people who are not documented as citizens to attend college paying in-state tuition.
People who have resided in Washington state for the three years immediately prior to receiving a high school diploma and completed the full senior year at a Washington high school or who have completed the equivalent of a high school diploma and resided in Washington state for the three years immediately before receiving the equivalent of the diploma and who have continuously resided in the state since earning the high school diploma or its equivalent.