Office of the University Registrar

Residency Requirements (Non-affidavit)

Note: this information is for students who do not meet the requirements to apply using the Residency Affidavit. Students who meet the requirements of the affidavit should submit that form.

Establishing Bona Fide Domicile

The advice from the Office of the Attorney General, Education Division concerning presumption is that before domicile is established, an individual must complete all basic requirements that a legal Washington resident is required to do by law.

Individuals must provide documentation showing they meet the following guidelines to establish WA domicile:

  1. Physically reside in the state for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of the quarter students are seeking residency.
  2. A legal resident must also relinquish all valid legal ties with their former state/country of residence and affirmatively create legal ties and relationships in the state of Washington in accordance with state and local legislation.
    • Driver’s License/State ID: One must obtain a Washington State Driver’s License within 30 days of their arrival if they have a valid out-of-state driver’s license, including an international driver’s license. If an individual does not drive or possess a driver’s license from any state or country, s/he should obtain a Washington State Identification Card within 30 days of arrival.
    • Vehicle Registration: Individuals who own or operate a vehicle in Washington must have their vehicle registered in Washington within 30 days of their arrival.
    • Voter Registration: Individuals who have previously registered to vote in their former state of residence must register to vote in Washington. If one has registered to vote in another state and does not register to vote in Washington, this means s/he may still vote absentee in the prior state of residency. Permanent Resident cardholders or any other status with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) are exempt from registering to vote.
    • Establish a bank account in Washington: Existing bank account(s) prior to arriving in Washington is sufficient as long as one’s name and Washington address are associated with the account and documented.
    • Lease/home agreement

Students who are establishing bona fide domicile, as a financially independent student, must complete the following requirements in addition to the previously listed guidelines:

  1. Students must demonstrate they are financially independent for the current calendar year for which they are applying for residency and the previous calendar year. This means they have and will be paying for the majority of their expenses (cost of attendance and room/board) with their own independent income and resources, that they are not and have not received significant financial assistance in any form, directly or indirectly, from parents, legal guardians, relatives, or others during that time period, and that they were not and will not be claimed as a dependent on anyone’s tax returns for the previous and current calendar years.
  2. Students who are enrolled for 7 credits or more in any term during the period in which they are establishing bona fide legal domicile are presumed by law to be in Washington State for purposes of education. Students cannot qualify for resident tuition unless they can demonstrate conclusively that they have resided in Washington primarily for purposes other than education for a consecutive 12 month period. All domicile must be established prior to the start of this consecutive 12 month period. Examples of situations that can demonstrate a primarily non-educational purpose for residing in Washington include a student residing in the state due to full-time employment for themselves or a spouse/partner, or to take care of a family member. The burden of proof lies on the student to demonstrate they have conclusively overcome this presumption.

Examples of other factors that may help students establish proof of domicile include the disposition of property in the former state of residence, relocation of household members, and generally becoming involved in activities that will help prove their intent to make Washington their official state of residence.

All domicile must be established at least one year immediately prior to the first day of the quarter the student is seeking residency. Once the individual is in full compliance with all of Washington State’s requirements for residency for tuition purposes, then s/he, as of that final date of compliance, has established a domicile and is eligible to apply for residency for tuition purposes. It is the student’s responsibility to apply for a change in residency status once all requirements have been met.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this webpage is current as of 01/12/2024. The University of Washington reserves the right to update or remove this page as necessary for clarity and/or to reflect changes to residency law or university policies. This website is intended as guidance only and students are advised to refer to the Washington state laws on residency for current statutes and additional information. Review RCW Chapter 28B.15WAC Chapter 250-18, and WAC Chapter 478-161.

The UW Residency Classification Office will administer residency determinations in accordance with the current law at the time of application.