Residency Coronavirus FAQs
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Residency Coronavirus FAQs
The Office of the Registrar has been receiving many inquiries about how the COVID-19 global health emergency will impact the residency process. Currently, there have been no changes to the residency laws with regard to the pandemic, however, the Office of the Registrar will review each application with consideration of the circumstances. The following information is provided to help students plan throughout their residency period and prepare documentation for their application but does not guarantee that residency can be approved or verified.
I haven't been able to get my WA state driver's license/ID/vehicle registration due to the Department of Licensing being closed. What can I do?
The Office of the Registrar is aware of the Department of Licensing closures and delays. We recommend making an appointment with the DOL to change your license/identification/vehicle registration as soon as possible. Keep a record of making the appointment. Submit that documentation and a statement of explanation with your application.
Please note that the closure of the Department of Licensing in March 2020 does not excuse a delay in obtaining these legal ties for students who arrived in the state more than 30 days prior to the closure.
I haven't been able to register to vote because the online form requires documentation that I am unable to obtain due to agency closures. What can I do?
Visit the Department of Elections website to explore alternate methods of registering to vote and corresponding deadlines.
Please note that, because voting is a right reserved for residents of a location, voting in another state will contradict Washington state residency.
I've been out of the state due to COVID-19. Will this impact my residency application?
Question: I left Washington to be with my family in March when the University moved to remote instruction. Will this impact my residency application?
Question: I traveled outside of Washington and was subject to a quarantine, which impacted or delayed my ability to return. What should I do?
Question: I have been outside of Washington caring for a sick family member. What should I do?
For all of these circumstances, you should list your absence, location, dates, and purpose on your Residence Questionnaire. If there are special circumstances involved with your absence, we encourage you to provide a written statement of explanation along with any relevant documentation.
If all of my classes are remote for Autumn Quarter, how does my physical presence in another state impact my residency application?
Question: With remote classes, do I have to go/return to Washington? How will this impact my residency application?
Question: With remote classes, do I need to keep my apartment in Washington if I am remote learning from somewhere else? How will this impact my residency application?
If you have not yet lived in Washington, you will not be able to begin your residency period until you arrive in the state and obtain your legal ties. If you are already in the process of establishing residency for tuition purposes and you do not return to Washington because classes are remote, there may be a concern that you were only in the state for an educational purpose. We will review each case based upon individual circumstances, but we encourage you to provide documentation showing the purpose and duration of your absence.
I haven’t left my apartment in six months. How can I document where I have been?
Be creative. We can accept any reliable, verifiable documentation of your physical presence. You may submit multiple types of documents to cover this time period. Check your bank/credit card statements for indicators of your physical presence. (Some food delivery charges could place you in the state, for instance.) If you have seen a doctor, verification of those appointments could place you in the state. What you can provide will depend on your individual circumstances.
Do CARES Act and/or stimulus payments count as independent funds?
Yes. These payments come to you as an independent individual.
I lost my job due to the pandemic. How does this impact my financial independence?
We recommend applying for unemployment benefits if you qualify to do so. These payments will be classified as independent income.
If you are receiving unemployment or other benefits from a state other than Washington, please contact the Office of the Registrar to determine whether this will impact your eligibility for residency for tuition purposes.
Can I accept financial help from a friend or family member?
At the current time, the residency guidelines have not changed, so students should be careful not to accept significant financial support in an amount that would cause them to be considered financially dependent. Washington state law defines gift money, cash earnings, and personal loans as dependent funds.
I need emergency financial help. Where can I get help?
Presumption of Educational Purpose
My job cut my hours due to the pandemic, so I am no longer working 30+ hours per week. How does that impact my ability to show I’m not here for an educational purpose?
Provide documentation of your previous work history as well as your reduction in hours. Your employer may be able to provide a verification letter regarding your employment reduction. You may provide additional community ties to show your non-educational purpose.
I have been unable to continue volunteering in my community due to the pandemic. What can I do?
Provide documentation of your volunteering record and scheduled/canceled times.
I had intended to seek work or volunteer opportunities but have been unable to due to the pandemic. What can I do?
You will need to build a case supporting your non-educational purpose using other activities or community ties.
I am considering changing my visa type to F1 because of delays I am experiencing in renewing my (other) visa. Will this impact my residence classification?
The short answer is Yes. The long answer depends on your current classification and residence history.
When your immigration status changes to an F1 visa, your student status automatically changes to International Student in your student record. This has an immediate impact on your tuition rate, as it sets your tuition rate to non-resident with international student charges.
If you can continue to qualify for residency because you meet the terms of the H.B. 1079 Affidavit of Residence, you must contact our office for advice, as you may need to fill out and file an additional affidavit. In this scenario, you would continue to qualify for resident tuition, although your student profile will still reflect International Student status.
If you do not qualify for residency under the Affidavit of Residence and must qualify using the Residence Questionnaire, it is likely that you would lose your residency for tuition purposes because the F1 visa requires that a student maintain their domicile in their home country. If you later apply to return to an eligible status, you would have to re-establish your residency, which will take a minimum of twelve months.
General COVID-related questions
Do I have to get documents notarized?
This is optional for the duration of the public health emergency. If you have access to notary services, it is preferable to have statements from third parties be notarized. Digital/remote notary services may be available. We are not requiring anyone to go to a notary’s office at this time. If you choose not to have statements notarized, we do request that they be submitted with a photocopy of the signer’s state-issued identification card.
I'm unable to get a required document because the person who would have access to it is quarantined or under a stay-at-home order. What can I do?
Provide a statement of explanation. If essential documents are currently unavailable, our ability to review your application may be delayed. Try to find alternate sources.
I mailed my application to you, but I haven’t received a confirmation. What can I do?
Due to limited access to campus buildings, we are experiencing significant delays in receiving postal mail. We highly recommend uploading a copy of your application and all supporting documents that you have available to our portal as soon as possible to secure your place in line for review. We may be able to return your mailed documents to you at a future date.
Can I continue my application from an earlier quarter?
Most likely not. Due to limited access to campus buildings, we may not have easy or quick access to your earlier paper file. Files from Winter 2020 and earlier are now more than six months old and out of date, so a new application must be submitted. Incomplete applications that were submitted online for Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 should be re-uploaded to the current quarter for consideration, as technological limitations prevent us from moving files between quarters in our online system.