Office of the University Registrar

Coronavirus FAQs – Residency

The Residence Classification Office has been receiving many inquiries about how the COVID-19 global health emergency will impact the residency process. Currently, there have been no changes to the residency laws with regard to the pandemic, however, the Residence Classification Office will review each application with consideration of the circumstances. The following information is provided to help students plan throughout their residency period and prepare documentation for their application but does not guarantee that residency can be approved or verified.

Legal Ties

I wasn't able to get my WA state driver’s license/ID/vehicle registration right away due to the Department of Licensing being closed. What can I do?

The Residence Classification Office is aware of the Department of Licensing closures and delays. We recommend including information showing the earliest date you scheduled an appointment with the DOL to change your license/identification/vehicle registration and a statement of explanation with your residency application.

Please note that the closure of the Department of Licensing in March 2020 does not excuse a delay in obtaining these legal ties for students who arrived in the state more than 30 days prior to the closure.

I wasn't able to register to vote right away because the online form requires documentation that I was unable to obtain due to agency closures. What can I do?

Include a statement of explanation and any supporting documentation with your residency application.

Note that, because voting is a right reserved for residents of a location, voting in another state will contradict Washington state residency.

Physical Presence

I was out of the state due to COVID-19. Will this impact my residency application?

Question: I left Washington to be with my family in early 2020 when the University moved to remote instruction. Will this impact my residency application?
Question: I traveled outside of Washington and was subject to a quarantine, which impacted or delayed my ability to return. What should I do?
Question: I have been outside of Washington caring for a sick family member. What should I do?

For all of these circumstances, you should list your absence, location, dates, and purpose on your Residence Questionnaire. If there are special circumstances involved with your absence, we encourage you to provide a written statement of explanation along with any relevant documentation.

For those quarters when classes were remote, how does my physical presence in another state impact my residency application?

Question: With remote classes, do I have to go/return to Washington? How will this impact my residency application?
Question: With remote classes, do I need to keep my apartment in Washington if I am remote learning from somewhere else? How will this impact my residency application?

If you have not yet lived in Washington, you will not be able to begin your residency period until you arrive in the state and obtain your legal ties.
If you are already in the process of establishing residency for tuition purposes and you do not return to Washington because classes are remote, there may be a concern that you were only in the state for an educational purpose. We will review each case based on individual circumstances, but we encourage you to provide documentation showing the purpose and duration of your absence.

I mostly stayed in my apartment during COVID. How can I document where I have been?

Be creative. We can accept any reliable, verifiable documentation of your physical presence. You may submit multiple types of documents to cover this time period. Check your bank/credit card statements for indicators of your physical presence. (Some food delivery charges could place you in the state, for instance.) If you have seen a doctor, verification of those appointments could place you in the state. What you can provide will depend on your individual circumstances.

Financial Independence

Do CARES Act and/or stimulus payments count as independent funds?

Yes. These payments come to you as an independent individual.

I lost my job due to the pandemic. How does this impact my financial independence?

We recommend applying for unemployment benefits if you qualify to do so. These payments will be classified as independent income.

If you are receiving unemployment or other benefits from a state other than Washington, please contact the Residence Classification Office to determine whether this will impact your eligibility for residency for tuition purposes.

Can I accept financial help from a friend or family member?

At the current time, the residency guidelines have not changed, so students should be careful not to accept significant financial support in an amount that would cause them to be considered financially dependent. Washington state law defines gift money, cash earnings, and personal loans as dependent funds.

I need emergency financial help. Where can I get help?

The University of Washington has resources available for students experiencing financial emergencies. Please review the following for more information:

Presumption of Educational Purpose

My job cut my hours due to the pandemic, so I am no longer working 30+ hours per week. How does that impact my ability to show I’m not here for an educational purpose?

Provide documentation of your previous work history as well as your reduction in hours. Your employer may be able to provide a verification letter regarding your employment reduction. You may provide additional community ties to show your non-educational purpose.


I am considering changing my visa type to F1 because of delays I am experiencing in renewing my (other) visa. Will this impact my residence classification?

The short answer is Yes. The long answer depends on your current classification and residence history.

When your immigration status changes to an F1 visa, your student status automatically changes to International Student in your student record. This has an immediate impact on your tuition rate, as it sets your tuition rate to non-resident with international student charges.

If you can continue to qualify for residency because you meet the terms of the Affidavit of Residency, you must contact our office for advice, as you may need to fill out and file an additional affidavit. In this scenario, you would continue to qualify for resident tuition, although your student profile will still reflect your International Student status.

If you do not qualify for residency under the Affidavit of Residency and must qualify using the Residence Questionnaire, it is likely that you would lose your residency for tuition purposes because the F1 visa requires that a student maintain their domicile in their home country. If you later apply to return to eligible status, you would have to re-establish your residency, which will take a minimum of twelve months.

General COVID-related Questions

Do I have to get documents notarized?

This is optional for the duration of the public health emergency. If you have access to notary services, it is preferable to have statements from third parties be notarized. Digital/remote notary services may be available. We are not requiring anyone to go to a notary’s office at this time. If you choose not to have statements notarized, we do request that they be submitted with a photocopy of the signer’s state-issued identification card.

I'm unable to get a required document because the person who would have access to it is quarantined or under a stay-at-home order. What can I do?

Provide a statement of explanation. If essential documents are currently unavailable, our ability to review your application may be delayed. Try to find alternate sources.

I’m having a technological problem with the Residency upload portal. What should I do?

  1. Be sure that your files are in PDF, JPG, or PNG format. We cannot accept DOC, XLS, ZIP, etc.
  2. Be sure that your files are below the size limitation.
  3. If you are still having upload problems, send a screenshot of the error you are receiving to and await further instructions.
  4. Do not upload your documents using another person’s NetID.
  5. Do not email your documents unless specifically instructed to do so by a residency counselor.

I scheduled a Zoom appointment but I never got the Zoom information. What can I do?

Zoom meeting information is sent in a separate email from at least two hours prior to the scheduled start of your meeting. Do not reply to, as it is not a monitored mailbox.

What do I do if I am having problems connecting with the Zoom application?

Contact us by emailing to let us know. You can also join the Zoom conference via telephone through one of the numbers listed in the scheduling email.

Contact UW-IT at with general Zoom and academic computing questions.