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Enrollment Services

Your Path to Getting Started

Enrollment Services

Your Path to Getting Started

Enrollment Services

Your Path to Getting Started
Enrollment Services

Residency Requirements

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 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 employment ties:
    • Permanent employment of 30+ hours/week will be a factor taken into consideration if the student is 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 or Washington State Identification Card within 30 days of arrival if they have a current out-of-state driver’s license
  • All motor vehicles, RV, boat, trailer registrations:
    • All 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 the student does not register to vote in Washington, this means that they 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. For students under 25 years of age who are not financially independent, they will have residency determined based on domicile of at least one parent.

A student may be eligible for in-state tuition 12 months from the date they began to establish domicile in Washington State. 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.

Students wanting to establish Washington State residency must fill out a residency questionnaire, provide documentation, and set up an appointment with the residency specialist. Please review the documents and contacts below. 

Proof of Residency

No single factor or specific combination of factors provide a guarantee that a student will be eligible for resident 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, recreational vehicles, boat, and trailers 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.
  • Submission of a copy of the Federal Tax return for the current and prior calendar year.
  • Keep receipts from Immigration and Naturalization Service that show the date your application for Permanent Resident Status was filed (if applicable).

After a student has established domicile in the state of Washington for the required period, it is their 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.

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 of your military orders to Washington State and your driver’s license. Additional documentation may be required, including review of military ID. Some documentation may be provided in a virtual format with SVC staff.

Student Eligibility to Pay In-State Tuition

RCW 28B.15.012(e) (commonly referred to as HB 1079) which took effect July 1, 2003 and was revised in June 2021 by SB 5194, allows any person who is not documented as a citizen to attend college paying in-state tuition. Both U.S. citizens and non-citizens can be Washington residents, including undocumented students. In most cases, a Washington resident is someone who lives in the state for one year immediately prior to starting their college or program.

To be eligible to sign this affidavit, students must:

  • Earn a high school diploma, GED, or diploma equivalent before your first term at the college determining residency; AND
  • Maintain a primary residence in Washington for at least 12 consecutive months immediately before your first term at the college determining residency.

Residency Deadline

The deadline to prove residency is 30 calendar days during the current quarter a student seeks reclassification. Student must be eligible for residency by the first day of the quarter.

Residency Contacts