Washington State Residency

We determine your residency for tuition and fee purposes at the time you apply for admission. Non-resident students pay a higher tuition rate than resident students do.

Students listen to a presentation in the library.

General Information

Location & Contact Info

Service Hours

  • Monday – Wednesday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Non-resident students may apply for residency once Washington becomes their permanent home for at least 12-months, and by meeting one of the following conditions:

  • U.S citizen
  • Hold a permanent resident card for at least 12-months before you apply
  • Hold an A, DV, E1, E2, G, H1-B, H4, I, K, L1, L2, N, NATO, O, Q, R, S, T, U, or V visa for at least 12-months before you apply
  • Hold refugee, asylum or pending asylum status (with Employment Authorization Card) for at least 12- months before you apply

The State Legislature adopted RCW 28B.15.011 through RCW 28B.15.15, which sets forth the requirements related to establishing residency in the State of Washington. Additionally, these rules require the The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) to work with the State Office of the Attorney General to establish rules and regulations that colleges and universities must follow when determining residency. Bellevue College follows these rules when reviewing residency applications, and in determining if students meet the state’s residency requirements

Residency Application Process

On May 12, 2021, Governor Inslee signed S.B. 5194, which updates the residency requirements under the Affidavit of Residency.  Students applying for residency for Summer quarter 2021 and later should review the affidavit of residency page to see if they meet the revised requirements. 

Non-resident students apply for residency by completing the Washington Institutions of Higher Education Residence Questionnaire and by submitting the documents listed on Washington State Residency Requirements. The best way to submit the questionnaire and documents is by email to residency@bellevuecollege.edu.

Application Deadlines

There are three application deadlines non-resident students should be aware of:

  • Apply up to three quarters in advance of becoming a resident student. The college waives the non-resident operating fee differential for eligible students who have submitted all required documents and been approved for residency status within the next three quarters. This significantly reduces the amount of non-resident tuition a student must pay.
  • Apply by the suggested admission deadline as indicated on the online academic calendar. Students who meet this deadline may be eligible for a tuition deferment, which holds students in their classes without payment until a decision is made.
  • Final Deadline – Apply by the 30th calendar day of the quarter. Students should check the online academic calendar for exact dates. By regulation, the college processes applications and documents received after the deadline for the next quarter.

Students who apply or submit their documents after the final deadline for the quarter in which they are seeking residency adjustment, do not qualify for a tuition deferment. However, if they later qualify for residency status in that same quarter, they are eligible for a refund of the difference between non-resident and resident tuition, only for the quarter in which they applied for residency adjustment.

Exempt Groups

Some groups of students do not need to complete the residency application process, or may need to submit additional documents. These groups include the following:

Additionally, under policy 2400 Tuition and Fee Waivers, the college is allowed to waive the non-resident tuition differential or the non-resident operating fee differential (excluding building fees) for some non-resident students under the following criteria:

  • Higher Education Employee Waiver
  • Refugee Waiver
  • Eligible students taking only online classes
  • Students who have completed the residency application process and have been approved for residency within the next three quarters
  • Eligible students participating in co-curricular activities and registering for a related and required class for at least one quarter during the regular academic year (fall-spring)