Washington State Residency Requirements

As a Washington state public institution, Whatcom Community College is required to comply with all applicable state laws regarding residency classification (references: RCW 28B.15 and WAC 250.18).

State laws require that new residents of Washington change out-of-state driver's licenses and out-of-state motor vehicle registrations within 30 days of arrival in this state (references: RCW 46.16.028 and RCW 46.20.021). New residents should also change out-of-state voter registrations.

All requests to change from non-resident to resident status must be received in the Registrar's Office prior to the 30th calendar day of the quarter for which the change is requested.

Students will be initially classified as "resident" or "non-resident" based on the information derived from the Admissions Application. Students who are requesting reclassification from non-resident to resident status will be required to provide proof of meeting the one-year residency requirement by submitting a Residence Questionnaire and supporting documentation including, but not limited to, driver's license, motor vehicle registration, voter registration, home purchase/lease agreement, verification of full-time employment, etc.

In general, a student is considered a "resident" for tuition and fee purposes under the following conditions:

  1. The student is a US citizen, or has permanent or temporary resident status, or holds "Refugee-Parolee" or "Conditional Entrant" status with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, or is otherwise permanently residing in the United States under color of law; and
  2. The student is financially independent for the current calendar year and the calendar year prior to which application is made (if the student is not financially independent, then his/her residency is based on whether one or both parents have met all residency requirements); and
  3. The student (or, if financially dependent, at least one of the student's parents) is in Washington primarily for reasons other than educational and has officially established Washington as his or her true, fixed and permanent home and place of habitation for a period of at least one year prior to the start of the quarter of enrollment.

Other conditions which might qualify a student for resident status are:

  1. members/dependents of the U.S. military or Washington National Guard; or
  2. students who spent 75% of their junior/senior years at a Washington state high school, graduated and immediately enrolled in a Washington state college, and whose parents were residents of Washington during that time; or
  3. students who are not U.S. citizens and do not have permanent resident immigration status, but attended a Washington state high school for at least 3 years and graduated (reference: HB 1079); or
  4. members of certain American Indian Tribes (reference RCW 28B.15.0131).

Students who do not qualify for resident tuition under any of the conditions listed above might qualify for a waiver of the non-resident tuition differential (see next section).

To obtain residency forms, use the following links:

Students should contact the Registration Office at 360.383.3030 for complete details regarding residency classification.


Waiver of Non-Resident Tuition Differential

Refugees/Asylees and their dependents may qualify for a waiver of non-resident tuition, regardless of whether or not they have met the one-year residency requirement.

Students enrolled in classes leading to a high school diploma may also qualify for a waiver of non-resident tuition.

Students who are US citizens or have Permanent Resident immigration status may apply for a waiver of non-resident tuition (operating fees only) under one of the following conditions:

  1. Students who have completed three quarters of full-time enrollment at Whatcom Community College, occurring during or after Fall Quarter 1999; or
  2. Washington State high school graduates; or
  3. US Military veterans; or
  4. Students with Permanent Resident immigration status who came directly to Washington State from their country of origin.


If you qualify in one of these 4 categories, please submit the Residence Checklist/Application for Non-Resident Waiver .

If you do not meet the criteria above, but participate in a co-curricular program (student government, student clubs/activities, athletics, student publications), contact the Student Information Center, SYRE 208, for information and an application.


Students should contact the Registration Office at 360.383.3030 for complete details or applications for tuition waivers.