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Financially Independent Student

For students 25 years of age or younger

Students must show establishment of a bona fide domicile in the state of Washington if they are under the age of 25 and if their parents or court-appointed legal guardians do not reside in Washington.

Students must also provide documentation showing independent payments of the majority of their expenses for the previous calendar/tax year and independent payment of, or the ability to independently pay, the majority of their expenses for the current calendar/tax year. These documents include:

  • A copy of the students' most recent tax return (first two pages only showing income).
  • A copy of the parents' most recent tax return (top half of first page only), showing dependents claimed.
  • Verification of year-to-date earnings (i.e., a copy of the student's most recent pay stub with year-to-date earnings total listed).

Note: A married student applying for residency status should apply as a financially independent student.

To establish a bona fide domicile, Financially Independent students must

  • Prove conclusively that they have not come to the state primarily for educational purposes. Current guidelines require that students enrolled for 7 credits or more a quarter must be employed at least 30 hours per week at a non-student job to overcome the presumption of educational purposes.
  • Live in the state for 12 consecutive months as legal residents. A legal resident is an individual who has relinquished all valid legal ties (for example, driver's license, voter registration, etc.) with their former state of residence and established such ties in Washington in accordance with state and local legislation.
  • Establish legal ties:
    • Employment.
    • Driver's license/state ID. If students possess current, out-of-state driver's licenses, they must obtain a Washington State Driver's License within 30 days of arrival. If they do not have a driver's license from any state, they must obtain a Washington State Identification Card.
    • Vehicle registration. If students own or drive vehicles in Washington, the vehicles must be registered in Washington.
    • Voter registration. If students have current, out-of-state voter's registrations, they must be registered to vote in Washington.
    • Establish a bank account in Washington.
    • Be financially independent for the current and prior calendar years.

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