1. A person must physically reside in Washington State, primarily for purposes other than educational, for the twelve consecutive months prior to the first day of the semester of application. (You may be a student during the twelve months of establishing residency, as long as you meet all residence requirements outlined below.)
2. For a student to be considered independent of parents for residency purposes, the student:
- Cannot be claimed as a dependent by parents for the current and prior calendar year.
- Must be financially self-supporting for the current and prior calendar year.
- Note: Any student who lived at a parent's home during his or her senior year of high school may not count that year for independent status.
3. The following documents will assist in the determination of residency status:
- Verification of your financially independent status for the current calendar year and the prior calendar year. For example, tax return for the most recent tax year, W-2 forms, financial aid award letters, irrevocable trust funds with documentation that you are withdrawing funds from the trust, or paycheck stubs showing year-to-date income. You must show your plan for continuing to independently finance your education.
- A copy of your parent's federal tax return for the most recent tax year (top portion listing dependents claimed). This is only required if you are 24 years of age or younger.
- Copies of rent receipts, lease agreement, letter from landlord, canceled rent checks, or home purchase agreement verifying physical residence in Washington for the twelve consecutive months prior to the first day of the semester of application.
- Proof of any permanent full-time or part-time employment in Washington during the one year prior to the semester of application.
- A copy of a Washington State driver's license if you drive. License should be acquired upon moving to this state or at least one year prior to the semester of application. You may not wait until the expiration date on an out-of-state license. If you do not drive, provide a copy of your Washington State identification card.
- A copy of Washington State vehicle registration if you own or drive a vehicle for the one year prior to the semester of application. A copy of your title will not suffice.
- A copy of a Washington voter registration for the one year prior to the semester of application.
- Proof of having established a bank account in Washington and any other documents you may have to show that you have established other "ties" with Washington for the one year prior to the semester of application (clubs, organizations, etc.).
- If you are not a U.S. citizen but hold permanent resident immigration status, temporary resident status, or refugee status, attach a copy of both sides of your Resident Alien Card, Form I-94, Temporary Resident card, or other verification of your status with Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). (A person holding immigrant status may apply for a change in residence classification one year after application for the qualifying visa.)
- Live in the state for twelve consecutive months.
- Be financially independent for the prior and current calendar years (January–December).
- Establish ties:
- If you have a current out-of-state driver's license, you must obtain a Washington State driver's license. If you do not have any driver's license and do not plan to drive, you must obtain a Washington State identification card.
- Register to vote in Washington.
- Establish a bank account in Washington.
- If you own or drive a vehicle in Washington, you must register it in Washington.
Is it possible to establish residency while attending school?
- It is possible, if you meet the above requirements and establish the above ties within two to four weeks of arriving in Washington.
I have lived in Washington for two years, but I didn't establish my ties within two to four weeks of arriving in the state. Can I still qualify for residency?
- Yes, as long as you establish ties at least twelve months before the beginning of the semester for which you are applying.
What is required in order to be considered financially independent?
- First of all, you cannot be claimed as a dependent on your parents' tax return for the prior and current calendar years.
- In addition, you must also be able to document enough income in the prior and current calendar years to show that you have been paying over half your expenses in that period. For example, if you were applying for a change in residence classification effective fall semester, you would have to show that you had been paying over half of your expenses for all of the prior year and for the first nine months of the current year.
- Income can include the following: employment, financial aid, scholarships, and irrevocable trust funds (with documentation that you have been withdrawing funds from the trust).
- If you are a nonresident student, the amount of income required to be considered financially independent is based upon your ability to pay at least 51% of the estimated expenses listed on page in the Admissions and Financial Aid section of the Washington State University Catalog.
I have Permanent Resident immigration status. Can I qualify for Washington State residency?
- Yes, if your application for adjustment to Permanent Resident status was filed at least twelve months prior to the beginning of the semester for which you are requesting to be classified a Washington resident, and if you meet the requirements listed under question number one (with the exception of registering to vote).
What types of visas are acceptable for establishing residency in Washington?
- You can establish Washington State residency for tuition and fee purposes if you are on an A, E, G, I, or K visa and fulfill the requirements listed under question number one (with the exception of registering to vote).
If I think I qualify as a Washington resident, how do I apply?
- Print, complete, and mail a Washington State Residency Application (PDF). Call 509.335.5346 to have one sent to you.
When should I submit my application and documentation?
- No earlier than the semester prior to the one for which you are applying and no later than the 30th calendar day of the semester for which you are applying. If you want a decision before tuition is due, you should submit your application at least four weeks before tuition is due, because it can take four weeks to process an application.
What happens if a decision is not made by the time tuition is due?
- You are responsible for paying the resident portion of your tuition. If a change in your residence classification is approved, the nonresident fee will be credited to your student account.
ESTABLISHING RESIDENCY IF YOU ARE FINANCIALLY DEPENDENT ON PARENTS
1. For a student to apply for residency as a dependent, one or both of the student's parents or court-appointed legal guardians must have physically resided in Washington State for the twelve consecutive months prior to the semester for which the student is applying for a change of status.
2. The student must be identified as a dependent on the most recent federal income tax return of the parents or court-appointed legal guardian.
Note: If parents are separated, student can be claimed as a dependent by either parent, as long as one parent has resided in Washington for one year prior to the semester of application and has established a domicile.
3. The student completes sections one and two of the questionnaire; parent or legal guardian completes section three and submits the following documentation that shows his or her ties with Washington for a minimum of one year:
- A copy of parent's most recent federal tax return identifying the applicant as a dependent (top portion only listing dependents claimed).
- A copy of parent's rent receipts, lease, or home purchase agreement covering the 12 consecutive months prior to the semester of application.
- A copy of parent's Washington State motor vehicle registration, and Washington driver's license.
- A copy of parent's Washington State voter registration.
- If parents or legal guardians are not U.S. citizens but hold permanent or temporary resident status, or refugee status, attach a copy of both sides of parent's Resident Alien Card, Form I-94, Temporary Resident Card, or other verification of their status with Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
ESTABLISHING RESIDENCY IF YOU ARE A MILITARY OR CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEE, OR THE DEPENDENT OF ONE
Military and civil service personnel who have been out of state
A person does not lose a domicile in Washington State while a member of military or civil service of this state or of the United States if that person returns to Washington State within one year of discharge from said service, with the intent to be domiciled in Washington.
1. If you were a resident of Washington State for a minimum of one year prior to leaving the state as a member of the military or civil service:
- Provide documented evidence that you resided in Washington for a minimum of one year prior to leaving the state for a military or civil service assignment and that you are currently in the military or civil service.
- Provide verification you have maintained some ties with Washington while out of state. For example, voting absentee, maintaining driver's license, vehicle registration, bank accounts, or property.
2. If you are the dependent of a member of the military or civil service, you complete the front of the questionnaire; your parent completes the back. Your parent must provide documented evidence that:
- He or she resided in the state for a minimum of one year prior to leaving the state for a military or civil service assignment.
- He or she is currently a member of the military or civil service.
- He or she has maintained some ties with Washington while out of state. For example, voting absentee, maintaining driver's license, vehicle registration, bank accounts, or property.
- The student is identified as a dependent on parent's most recent federal income tax return. Provide a copy of the top portion only listing dependents claimed.
Active duty military stationed in Washington
- Active-duty military personnel stationed in Washington State, as well as their spouses and dependents, qualify for resident tuition at the university.
- You must go to the Student Affairs Office, Academic Center Building, Suite 130 and take a copy of your orders assigning you to a post or base. If you have questions, contact Lisa Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-358-7530.
ESTABLISHING RESIDENCY IF QUALIFYING NATIVE AMERICAN STUDENT
Members of any federally-recognized American Indian tribe whose customary and tribal boundaries include portions of Washington State are eligible for resident tuition under certain circumstances, as provided by RCW 28B.15.0131.
For more information, visit the Washington State Legislature website.
If you have additional questions, contact the tribal liaison at 509.335.8618.
RESIDENTS WHO HAVE BEEN OUT OF STATE FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY
If you are a Washington resident who has been out of Washington State to attend an out-of-state college or university, the following must be submitted with a Residence Questionnaire:
- Verification that you resided in Washington for a minimum of one year prior to leaving the state to attend school.
- Verification from the out-of-state college or university that you were enrolled as a nonresident and paid nonresident tuition. (If enrolled in a private school, provide verification of enrollment).
- Proof that you maintained all ties with Washington (such as driver's license, vehicle registration, bank accounts, voter's registration, property, personal belongings) and that you did not take steps to establish a domicile in another state.
If you are dependent upon parents, please refer to the financially dependent section.
CONTACTS & DEADLINES
Requests for change in residency status are handled through the following offices.
Undergrad. & Professional students
Office of the Registrar
French Admin. Building, 346
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-1035
For Graduate students
The Graduate School
French Admin. Building, 324
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-1030
Hours: M-F, 8 am-5 pm
- If your admission to the university is pending, submit the residence questionnaire (PDF) and documentation as soon as possible.
- If you have already been admitted, the deadline for submission of the questionnaire and documentation is the 30th calendar day of the semester. However, it is to your advantage to submit your file prior to the beginning of the semester to be considered for a change of residence status by the tuition due date.
- Please allow three to four weeks review time.
- Tuition is due on the Friday of the fifth week of the semester.
- Any application received after the 30th calendar day of the semester will be reviewed for the following semester.
and Pam Medley
Academic Center, Suite 130