Office of the University Registrar

Residency FAQ

Select the Residency Frequently Asked Questions below to learn more about the Residency process.

What classifies me as a "dependent" or "independent" student?

  • Dependent students are defined as individuals who are financially reliant and claimed on their parent’s/legal guardian’s latest tax returns. Note: Married students are not considered to be financially dependent when applying for residency. The burden of proof for residency will be on the parents/legal guardians, not the student.
  • Independent students are defined as individuals who are not financially reliant and/or claimed on their parent’s/legal guardian’s latest tax returns. The burden of proof for residency will be on the students.
    • To prove financial independence, students must show they are financially covering at least 51% of their total expenses during the current and previous calendar year.
      “Current calendar year” is defined as the year, up to the month, that students are applying for residency. An example for “current calendar year” is if a student is applying for residency effective Autumn Quarter 2020, they are responsible for showing proof of financial independence from January 2020 to September 2020. Total expense is determined by the tuition at non-resident rate and living costs.
    • Student’s income may include their own employment earnings, financial aid, loans, and scholarships authorized by the Financial Aid Office, grants, etc. Financial sources must show the student as the primary account holder. Parents are allowed to be secondary account holders/co-signers.
    • Personal loans (promissory note), PLUS loans, checking and savings accounts, gifts, and cash earnings cannot be counted as income in this calculation. Receipt of the Federal Parent PLUS loan will contradict financial independent status.
  • Trust funds such as college funds (GET, 529 plan, etc.) may be factored toward a student’s financial independence. These fund accounts are only valid if it was established before the student’s 10th grade of high school. Students will need to provide documentation indicating date of establishment and transaction activities showing funds used toward paying for their tuition.
  • Students who are married or 25 years of age or older, please reference Financially Independent Student section.

Do I have to be employed if I am attending school full-time in order to obtain residency? If so, how many hours?

Students who attend school immediately upon arriving to Washington and take 7 credits or more per quarter are required to be employed. Students must work, at least 30 hours per week, at a non-student position, for the duration they are attending full-time.
Students will need to provide documentation indicating hours worked such as pay-stubs or letter on an official letterhead from the employer verifying hours worked per week.

There are 3 options available for students regarding the fulfillment of employment:

  1. Attend school immediately upon arriving to WA, enroll in full-time status (7 credits or more) for the entire school year, obtain all WA legal ties, and work at least 30 hours per week.
  2. Attend school immediately upon arriving to WA, enroll in part-time status (6 credits or less) for the entire school year, and obtain all WA legal ties. Students are not required to prove hours of employment.
  3. Not attend school for the first year to establish their residency. See Residency Requirements for details.

What are "legal ties" and how long does it need to be in place for?

Legal ties consist of a driver’s licenses, vehicle registration, voter registration, bank account, and lease/home agreement. Legal ties must have been established for at least one year prior to the first day of the quarter students apply for residency.

  • Do I need all of the legal ties switched to Washington? All legal ties must be established in Washington, especially if there are existing, valid legal ties in the former state/country of residence.
  • When do I need to establish my legal ties? By law, all Washington legal ties must be established within the first 30 days of arrival.
  • If I do not own/use a vehicle, do I need a vehicle registration? If students do not own or use a vehicle in Washington, it is not required to provide this documentation.
  • If I never registered to vote in my former state, do I need to register in Washington? Students do not need to register to vote if they never registered in any other state.
  • I registered to vote but never received my voter registration card. What do I provide? Students can visit and print the web registration.

Does living at a UW affiliated housing such as dorms affect my residency?

Students are allowed to live anywhere (dorms, student housing, Greek system, house/apartment, or with family) as long as their place of residence is in Washington.

  • Does having a lease/home agreement, etc., make me a resident? Having a lease/home agreement or property, in general, does not automatically classify an individual as a resident. Individuals are still responsible for proving they have established all other residency requirements.
  • Is having a lease/home agreement such as ledgers or mortgage payments enough to prove physical presence? Lease/home agreements do not prove physical presence. Essentially, one can have property and make monthly payments, but, not be physically present in Washington.

Is there a limit of credits I have to take in order to apply for residency?

There are no credit limitations that students must meet to apply for residency. Students are allowed to take as many credits per quarter as they like. The only factor is if they register for 7 credits or more per quarter, students are required to fulfill the employment requirements for residency. This means they must work at least 30 hours per week, at a non-student position, to overcome the presumption they are in Washington primarily for school. If students register for 6 credits or less per quarter, they do not need to provide hours of employment; however, they are still responsible for all the other requirements listed under Residency Requirements.

When is the deadline to submit residency applications and documentation?

The deadline for the initial application is the 30th day after the quarter begins. After the application has been processed, our office may request additional documentation. Students have until the last day of the applied quarter to submit all documentation. Any information received after the deadline will transfer the application to the next registered quarter for review.

Keep in mind: Initial application and documentation is not accepted via email or fax; hard copies must be provided to our office via postal mail or in-person.

What should I do if my residence classification is not determined by the tuition deadline?

If residency is pending after the student’s tuition is due, students are responsible for paying non-resident tuition and fees. Failure to pay the tuition will result in additional late payment fees. If residency is granted, the university will reimburse the tuition differential.

To inquire about the reimbursement process, please directly contact the Student Fiscal Service at or 206-543-4694.

What is the procedure once I submit my application for the change in residency?

Once the application is received and reviewed, our office will contact the student via email for additional information, questions, or general update on the application status. We do not review any specific documentation with the students/parents. If there are general questions regarding the Residence Questionnaire itself, we can help clarify. Students will receive an email confirmation of the residency status from our office once the decision is made.

*Due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), all email communication from our office regarding the application status will be directed to the student. Students may forward emails to authorized individuals, if they wish.

  • I am currently receiving financial aid, what happens with my aid if I am approved residency? Once residency is approved, the change in status from non-resident to resident is immediately reflected. It is suggested that students should directly contact the Office of Student Financial Aid in regards to the changed status. For questions regarding any financial aid adjustments, eligibility, and/or awarding, please contact their office at or 206-543-6101.

How can students qualify for the "Military Exemption"? Which military branches qualify for this exemption?

To be eligible for the Military Exemption, students must be active duty members or dependents of an active duty member (stationed in Washington) of the following qualified branches of military: U.S. Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, and Coast Guard. Unfortunately, Reservists do not qualify for the exemption. See: Military for complete details.

I am a Veteran and not a Washington resident, do I qualify for residency under the ESSB 5355|Choice Act?

Veterans who were honorably discharged and served at least 90 days of active duty service are eligible to pay in-state tuition and fees if they attend an institution of higher education within 3 years of discharge (regardless of his/her formal state of residence). Veteran students must meet the conditions listed under Resident Tuition for Veterans and Eligible Individuals to qualify.

  • Active Duty is defined in the Choice Act as full-time duty, other than active duty for training, as a member of the uniformed service of the United States. Active duty service as a national guard member under Title 32 U.S.C. for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing, or training and active service under 32 U.S.C. Sec. 502(f) for the purpose of responding to a national emergency is recognized as active duty service.
  • Uniformed Service defined by Title 10 U.S.C. consists of the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps.
  • Spouse/child using transferred benefits are eligible to pay in-state tuition and fees if the transferor meets the terms defined in the Choice Act. Reference Covered Individuals.
  • This eligibility does not apply to current active duty service members and their dependents.
  • What is a Certificate of Eligibility? The Certificate of Eligibility verifies the student’s eligibility for VA educational benefits. Example of the Certificate of Eligibility.
  • School starts after my third year of discharge, will I still qualify under the Choice Act? Unfortunately, students must enter an institution of higher education in Washington before the three year period is over. “Enter” refers to the first day of the term, not the application date.


Do dependents of H, E, and L visa holders qualify for residency?

Spouse/dependent(s) of H, E, and L visa holders are eligible to apply for residency as long as they are able to prove that they fulfilled the residency requirements. See Qualifying Visas for more details according to dependent’s situation.

Can a student obtain residency if they are not a U.S. Citizen, Permanent Resident, DACA, or qualifying visa holder? If so, how?

Students who do not meet the qualifying classification status may be able to obtain residency/in-state tuition through the Washington Higher Education Residency Affidavit (also known as HB 1079 Affidavit). To qualify, students must obtain a high school diploma or its equivalent from a Washington school, live in Washington for at least 3 calendar years (36 months) prior to obtaining their diploma or its equivalent, and continuously live in Washington after receiving the diploma or its equivalent until admitted into an institution of higher education. See Affidavit of Residency for more details.

  • I have DACA status, can I apply for residency? DACA students are eligible to apply for bona fide residency as long as they fulfill the residency requirements. See Residency Requirements and Eligible Non-Citizens for complete details.
  • How can I prove my DACA status? DACA students will need to provide the I-797 notice from USCIS verifying the approval of DACA status (I-821D). Employment Authorization Card (EAC) or I-797 notice of approval for the EAC (I-765) will not suffice. See example of the I-797 notice of approval of DACA (I-821D).

Are there special arrangements for School of Medicine?

Our policy for reviewing residency applications for School of Medicine applicants is as follows: If the individual has met Washington State residency criteria for 6 full months prior to the application to the School of Medicine and sufficient documentation suggests one will continue to fulfill residency requirements up to the time they enroll at the University of Washington, they can be considered as resident for admission purposes to the School of Medicine.

  • If you are a Washington resident and attended school outside of the state, please see Washington Residents Absent from State for complete details.
  • What is the process after the application is approved?: Students will receive a confirmation email from our office once their residency is approved. The School of Medicine will be notified by our office of the approval and will continue their review process for admissions.

Does a Washington resident maintain their resident status if they attend school outside of the state?

Students are able to maintain their resident status as long as they prove that the absence was due to educational purposes. This means students need to prove that they:

  1. Were continuously enrolled at the college/university for the duration they were absent from Washington,
  2. Paid non-resident tuition at the out-of-state college/university (if students attended a private school/university, they need to provide a certificate of enrollment verifying continuous enrollment),
  3. Did not surrender any of their Washington legal ties by establishing ties in the state they were attending school. This includes driver’s license, vehicle registration, etc. See Residency Requirements for the complete list,


See: Washington Residents Absent from State.

Does UW participate in any "reciprocity agreements?"

The University of Washington Residence Classification Office does not participate in any reciprocity agreements. Reference Reciprocity page to find the appropriate website that contains more information on these programs.