Financially Independent

You are an independent student if you are no longer financially dependent upon your parents or legal guardians. Residency is determined by several factors.

  1. 12 months of continuous physical presence prior to the first day of the quarter.
  2. Intent to establish a permanent domicile prior to enrolling in more than 6 credits a quarter..
  3. Financial independence  for the previous and current calendar year.
  4. Note:  Married students under the age of 25 must provide a copy of  federal income tax return.

What documents will you need to provide?

  • Completed Residence Questionnaire
  • Immigration documents (if you are not a U.S. Citizen)
  • Rental/ lease agreement (first and signature page only)  or home purchase agreement.
  • Verification of current employment and year-to-date earnings.
  • Washington State driver’s license or Washington State identification card. Note: Residents of the state are required to replace their previous state’s driver’s licenses within 30 days of becoming a resident.
  • Washington State vehicle registration(s)
  • Washington voter registration or Certificate of Voter Registration
  • First and signature page of federal income tax returns for the most recent tax year. You may also provide W-2 forms, financial aid award letters, irrevocable trust funds with documentation that you are withdrawing funds from the trust, and/or paycheck stubs showing year-to-date income. You must demonstrate financial independence for the previous and current calendar year.
  •  A copy of parent’s most recent federal income tax return demonstrating that you are not named as a dependent may also be required if you were claimed as a dependent the prior tax year.



A nonresident student who enrolls for more than six hours per quarter shall be presumed to be in the state of Washington for primarily educational purposes. Such period of enrollment shall not be counted toward the establishment of a bona fide domicile of one year in this state unless such student proves that he or she has, in fact, established a bona fide domicile in this state primarily for purposes other than educational.  Therefore, the 12-month count will begin when ALL duties required of Washington residents have been completed.   Note: Presumption does not apply to students who have been transferred to the state for employment, moved to Washington with parents or who have moved with their spouse.

Residency documents may be mailed to the Residency Office in B125N.  Completed questionnaires and all supporting documentation must be received by the 30th calendar day of the quarter for which application is made. Documentation received after the 30th calendar day will be considered for the following quarter. You will be contacted by the residency office once your documents have been reviewed and a decision rendered.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to work in order to obtain residency?

If you attend school during your first year in Washington and enroll in more than 6 credits per quarter, yes, you will have to verify that you work. In this case, you must work for approximately 30 hours a week for the entire time you are attending school for more than 6 credits or document that you are able to meet 51% of your annual expenses, including tuition, books,  food and housing and personal expenses through employment at a non-student job for the current and previous calendar year.

Can I use trust funds to supplement my financial independence?

Yes, you may use trust funds to supplement you financial independence; however, the trust funds are only valid if it was established before you entered the 10th grade. You will be asked to provide documentation of when the trust was established.

What if a student only left the state of Washington for school?

If you only left the state of Washington for the purposes of attending school, you may still be considered a resident for tuition purposes if you:

  • Complete a Residence Questionnaire
  • Provide proof that you were consistently enrolled in school for the entire time that you were absent from Washington,
  • Provide proof that you were paying out-of-state tuition, and
  • Verify that you did not sever any of your legal ties (obtain another license, vehicle registration, etc.).
I just moved to Washington to get married. My spouse has lived in Washington for over a year. Am I a considered a resident?

No. As an independent student, you must physically reside in Washington for at least twelve months and provide proof that you have established legal ties to Washington before residency is granted. Legal ties include, obtaining a Washington state drivers license, registering a vehicle, or registering to vote in Washington.

How do I qualify for the Non-resident tuition waiver?

The non-resident tuition waiver is applied by the Residency Office. To qualify for the non-resident tuition waiver, an independent student must meet the following conditions:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or have a permanent resident card (green card)
  • Paid  non-resident tuition for one quarter
  • Provide documentation that verifies all necessary steps have been taken to establish Washington domicile (residency).
I am an American Indian moving to Washington from Idaho. When will I pay in-state tuition?

American Indian students who meet the following two conditions are eligible to pay resident tuition at colleges and universities in Washington State:

  • For a period of one year immediately prior to enrollment, the students must have been domiciled in one or a combination of the following states: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington.
  • Students must be a member of one of the federally recognized Indian tribes, as determined under Title 25 of the Code of Federal Regulations (25CFR), whose traditional and customary tribal boundaries included portions of the state of Washington, or whose tribe was granted reserved lands within the state of Washington.


Last Updated September 18, 2017