Office of the University Registrar

Financially Independent Students

Students whose parents or court-appointed legal guardians do not reside in Washington can only obtain residency by fulfilling the requirements as a financially independent student.

For Students 25 Years of Age or Younger (Single/unmarried)

To be considered financially independent, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Parents or court-appointed legal guardians are not providing the student with significant financial assistance, directly or indirectly, and not claiming the student as a dependent on the Federal Income Tax returns for the current and prior calendar year.
  • Students are independently paying at least 51% of their total expense (including the cost of attendance and living) with their own income for the current calendar year and previous calendar year.

Documentation to provide along with the Residence Questionnaire form:

  1. A copy of the student’s most recent tax return (Form 1040)
  2. A copy of the parents’ most recent tax return (page listing dependents claimed and signature page)
  3. Verification of student’s income to prove financial independent status (reference FAQs for more details)
  4. Documentation proving student has established bona fide domicile (see below)

For Students 25 Years of Age or Younger (Married/Domestic Partnership)

To be considered financially independent, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Marriage or domestic partnership must be in place for at least one calendar year prior to the quarter of application for residency.

Documentation to provide along with the Residence Questionnaire form:

  1. Proof of marriage or domestic partnership (e.g. certificate)
  2. Documentation proving student has established bona fide domicile (see below)

Note: A married student applying for residency status will be applying as a financially independent student.

For Students 25 Years of Age or Older

Students that are 25 years of age (for the entire academic year prior to the quarter of application) and older may be presumed financially independent unless there is evidence proving otherwise. In addition, students must meet all other requirements for bona fide residency (see below).

To Establish Bona Fide Domicile

Financially independent students must:

  1. Physically reside in the state for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of the quarter students are seeking residency.
    A legal resident must relinquish all valid legal ties with their former state/country of residence and establish such ties in Washington in accordance with state and local legislation.
  2. Establish Washington State legal ties:
    • Driver’s License/State ID: One must obtain a Washington State Driver’s License within 30 days of arrival if they have a valid out-of-state driver’s license, including international driver’s license. If an individual does not drive or possess a driver’s license from any state or country, they must obtain a Washington State Identification Card within 30 days of arrival.
    • Vehicle Registration: Individuals who own or operates a vehicle in Washington must have their vehicle registered in Washington within 30 days of arrival.
    • Voter Registration: Individuals who have previously registered to vote in their former state of residence must register to vote in Washington.
      Permanent Resident Card holders 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 accounts prior to arriving in Washington is sufficient as long as one’s name and Washington address is associated with the account and documented.
    • Lease/home agreement
  1. Students must demonstrate they are financially independent for the current calendar year for which they are applying for residency and the previous calendar. This means they are paying for the majority of their expenses (cost of attendance and living) with their own income. Students who are 25 years of age or younger must provide their parents’ most recent tax returns.
  2. Students who are enrolled for 7 credits or more each term, during the period they are establishing bona fide legal domicile, are presumed by law to be in Washington State for purposes of education. Students cannot get resident tuition unless they can demonstrate conclusively they moved to Washington for purposes other than education.
    One strong method of overcoming this presumption is through significant employment of 30 hours per week at a non-student position. Other methods can be a combination of significant employment and other ties such as community involvement (i.e. volunteering, etc.), participation in state/local organizations, family, etc. The burden of proof lies on the student to demonstrate they have overcome this presumption.

 

Students must complete and sign the Residence Questionnaire form (both pages). This process requires all documentation of students’ establishment of domicile and financial independence.

 

For more information, please reference the Residency FAQs.