Residency Overview

Washington residency law is codified in RCW 28B.15 and further explained in WAC 250-18. A student's eligibility for resident classification often depends on how their circumstance corresponds with Washington law at the time of admission for their current enrollment.

The Admissions Office determines your residency classification at time of admission. Your residency classification generally will remain the same throughout your continued enrollment at Western and determines the tuition and fee rate each academic term.

If you wish to have your residency classification re-evaluated, you must complete the Residency Questionnaire and submit it with the indicated documentation to the Registrar's Office in person, by mail, or by email.  Email is the preferred method of submission at this time.

Students are strongly encouraged to submit petitions at least 3-4 weeks in advance of the academic term for which they are requesting reclassification and no later than the first week of classes. Under Washington law, any petition received more than 30 days after the first day of classes in a given term is by default considered for the following term (WAC 250-18-025).

Petitions may be approved up to 60 days prior to when the residency/domicile requirement is met if other documentation is supportive of resident classification; petitions filed more than 60 days before the residency/domicile requirement is complete may be put on hold, may require additional documentation, and/or may be approved conditionally. 


2022-2023 Residency Filing Deadlines
Term Recommended Final
Fall 2022     before August 24, 2022   October 21, 2022
Winter 2023     October-November 2022   February 3, 2023
Spring 2023     February-March 2023   April 28, 2023
Summer 2023      May-June 2023   July 21, 2023



Top Four Residency Questions

In most cases, no.

Washington law views terms (quarters) of enrollment in more than six credits at any Washington institution to be primarily for educational purposes. Such terms usually do not count toward the 12 months of continuous primary residency or domicile required for an individual to become eligible for resident tuition. This is true regardless of other actions like registering to vote or changing state ID/driver's license.

A dependent with a Washington-domiciled parent/legal guardian is often eligible for resident classification. The parent/guardian must have been domiciled for a full 12 months. The student does not have to be claimed by the Washington parent.


Active duty military members and veterans often are eligible for resident tuition rates. Their dependents, children, and/or spouses may be eligible, as well, though some limitations based on age, duration of service, and/or date of separation may apply.

Read the FAQ linked below, then reach out to our office.

Application Process

The Admissions Office and Graduate School does the initial determination of residency.

What are the required documents?

Whose information would be required to prove that Washington State is their domicile?

  • Petitioning as financially dependent with WA-resident parent/guardian: It will be the Washington State resident’s, parent(s) or legal guardian(s), information and documentation that would be required.
  • Petitioning as financially independent with Washington domicile: The student’s information and documentation will be required.
  • Petitioning based on maintaining 12-month primary WA residence: The student's information and documentation will be required.                            

Will I be disqualified, if I do not have one of the required documents?

  • Complete the application to your best ability.

Electronic submission of materials in PDF format is preferred.

Residency classifications are not given retroactively for prior academic terms. Evaluating residency classification may take up to 30 business days after the start of the quarter to complete.

All tuition and fee deadlines remain in effect during the evaluation process. Do not delay tuition and fee payment just because a residency classification evaluation is in progress. During the residency evaluation process, you may be asked to provide additional documentation. All requests are sent to student’s WWU email.

Active-duty, Veterans or a Dependent/Spouse of Military Personnel

Active duty service members, veterans, and their dependents and spouses are often eligible for resident tuition rates while attending Western.

Your eligibility for military-related residency must be documented before you can be classified as a resident. Students are responsible for notifying the university if they believe they are eligible for reclassification as a resident by filing a petition with the Veteran Services Office.

For more information on veteran status concerning Washington State Residency, please visit Veterans Services. 

Filing deadlines for military/veteran residency are the same as for all other residency petitions.


Who Should I Contact About Residency?