Contacts-Ph: 360-650-3431 Email: Laura.Jensen@wwu.eduFollowing are some frequently asked questions regarding residency in Washington.
(Click a question below to view the answer.)
If I move to Washington in August and start school in September, will I qualify for residency a year later?
No. If you move to Washington for education purposes and you continue in school, you cannot even later be reclassified as a resident.
Yes, but how about if I move to Washington with my parents? How soon would I qualify?
If you are a dependent student (your parents claim you for tax purposes) and they moved here in August a year ago (presumably for non-education purposes), then you should be eligible for residency for the coming Fall Quarter.
If I moved here for education purposes but now have decided to become a permanent resident of Washington, how can I possibly gain residency?
The only way that can be done is to stop out of school for a full year. During that year, assuming you have been a dependent of non-resident parents, you must become independent and self-supporting (presumably by becoming gainfully employed), declare your intention to become a Washington resident by severing ties with the former state and obtaining Washington documents (driver's license, vehicle registration, etc.), and in other ways prove that even though you came initially for education, your purposes have changed. (During that year, you may take up to six credits a term without jeopardizing your chances of qualifying for residency).
How long does it take to become a resident for tuition purposes in Washington?
That depends on your status at the time you move to Washington. If you come to Washington primarily for the purpose of education and you are in the process of becoming independent from non-resident parents, you may never be eligible for residency. On the other hand, if you are a dependent student and you move here with your family for work purposes, you should be eligible a year after your arrival. If you are independent and self-supporting when you move to the state for non-education reasons, and you do not start school for a longer period of time after arrival, you may be eligible for residency one year after arrival.
What is required to become domiciled in Washington?
Ordinarily, you become domiciled in Washington by severing ties with your previous state and obtaining documents (driver's license, vehicle registration, voter registration, etc.) that attach you to Washington. A year after you have done that, you might be eligible for residency, assuming you also can prove that you came to the state for reasons other than education, that you have not been enrolled in school for more than six credits (per term) during the period, and that you are independent and self supporting.
How do I prove that I'm independent?
You can prove independence by demonstrating that during the past year you were not claimed as a dependent for taxes by your parents or guardians or any other person and that you had sufficient income on your own to provide for your support.
Can I attend school part-time while gaining the domicile in Washington?
As long as you can prove that you came to Washington for non-education purposes, you can take as many as six credits per quarter during the year you are becoming a resident.
What are some examples of non-education purposes?
People move to Washington for a variety of reasons: employment, retirement, improved living situations, etc. If you move to Washington September 15 and start school here on September 20, there is a presumption that you came for education purposes.
Now that I'm in Washington and attending college, can I ever be reclassified as a resident?
Assuming you are independent or in the process of becoming independent, the only way you could gain residency in this situation is to interrupt your enrollment and remain out of school a full year. At the beginning of that year you must declare your intention to become a resident by obtaining Washington documents (driver's license, vehicle registration, etc.). At the end of the year, you should be able to prove that you made the declaration of intent a year before and that you have been independent and self-supporting.
I moved to Washington last September, but every summer I work for the Forest Service in Montana. Will that hinder my chances of gaining residency?
It may. Considering the fact that the first principle of gaining residency is 12 consecutive months of physical presence in Washington, you risk the chance of fulfilling that minimum requirement if you leave for the summer. That is particularly true if you are going back to you home state, and even more true if you are living with your parents in your home state for the summer.
My husband is in the Navy and has been stationed in Washington. Can I be classified as a resident?
Military persons who are permanently stationed in Washington and their dependents can be classified as residents (for tuition purposes only) by submitting a letter from the commanding officer verifying the Washington station. Members of the Washington National Guard also are eligible for resident status. This resident status is not permanent and will be revoked when the military person is reassigned out of state.
I have lived in Alaska with my mother but my father is a Washington resident. Can I be classified as a Washington resident?
If you are a dependent student and you have a parent who is a Washington resident (i.e., has lived in Washington at least one full year), you can be classified as a resident. You need not be claimed for tax purposes by the resident parent. It will be necessary to submit the Residence Questionnaire with documentation.
Can I live in a university residence hall while I'm becoming domiciled in Washington?
If you live in a residence hall on campus, there is a presumption that you have come to the state for education purposes. To gain residency, you must prove that you have come to the state for other reasons. Therefore, it is not likely that you can become a resident while living on campus.
Do I have to get a driver's license to gain residency?
If you do not drive, you can't be required to get a driver's license. Assuming you have other evidence of having declared your intention to become a resident (such as voter registration), you should at least have a Washington ID card, however. Since it is possible to obtain the ID card without surrendering a driver's license from another state, you must provide evidence that you do not have a license from another state.
I was a long-time resident of Washington but then I left to take a job in another state. Now I want to return home. Can I be classified as a resident?
That depends on a number of factors. Assuming you are an independent student, if you moved to another state and became gainfully employed and changed your documents, then you most likely will have to go through the domiciling process described above. If you started a job in another state but changed your mind after a couple weeks there and then returned to Washington, you should be able to prove that you never established the domicile in the other state.
I went to college out of state. Now that I have returned to Washington, am I still a resident?
Assuming you left the state only for education purposes, and you did not change your documents while there, you most likely can still be classified as a resident here. Furthermore, if you are dependent on your Washington parents, you certainly are still eligible for residency.
I moved from Washington to Japan with my parents ten years ago. Can I attend college in Washington as a resident?
Assuming you are still a dependent of your parents and they have maintained their ties with Washington (they may still have a Washington driver's license, voter registration, etc.), then you probably will be eligible for residency.
If I marry a Washington resident do I get classified as a resident immediately?
No. You must go through the 12-month process of gaining residency. A year after moving here and changing your documents, you should be eligible, assuming you can thus prove that you came to Washington for reasons other than education.
I moved to the United States and to Washington from another country a year ago. I just applied for permanent resident status (green card). Am I eligible for residency?
No, you won't be eligible for reclassification until you have been granted permanent resident status. Once you have been approved for permanent resident status, the effective term of residency is one year after the date of application for permanent resident status (green card).
Where can I get other residency questions answered?
Contact the Registrar's Office, Old Main 230, 360-650-3430 or email Registrar.Office@wwu.edu.
Page Updated 03.11.2011