Become a Resident

Moving to Washington? Here’s a checklist to get you ready. These are some practical steps to take, but the rest is about making yourself at home. We’re glad to have you.  

Step 1: Find Your Home 

First, of course, you’ll need a home. Looking for affordable housing? Social and Health Services can help you find a home in your budget—as well as provide rent and utilities assistance, and more.  

Washington State housing assistance

Step 2: Update Your Address 

Once you find your new home, change your mailing address with the US Postal Service and utility service providers to help ensure a smooth transition.  Utility service providers are managed locally in Washington, so look for them in your city or county.  

US Postal Service

Washington Cities and Towns Profile Search 

Step 3: Register to Vote 

As a Washington resident, your voice counts. When you move, register to vote and be heard. (Verify voting eligibility

Voter registration

Step 4: Get a New ID Card or Driver’s License  

Whether you drive, or just need an Identification (ID) card, you will want to work with the Department of Licensing.  Washington State law says you have 30 days after you’ve moved to get your new license. You’ll also need your Washington driver’s license—or an enhanced driver license—to register a vehicle in the state. You can optionally get an Identification (ID) card or enhanced ID (EID) card if you won’t drive.  

Did you know? Enhanced Drivers Licenses (EDL) and Enhanced Identification Cards (EID) can be used as “Real ID” which is a Federal law that will require a minimum security standard for identification when traveling by airplane. The “Real ID” law and requirements will take effect on May 3, 2023.  

Get a Washington State driver’s license

Get your Washington identification card 

Learn about Real ID

After You’ve Become a Resident  

Great work zooming through those steps! Now that you are a resident, you may be eligible for programs through the state, though in some cases additional residency requirements may apply. You can also learn what taxes are required for residents.  

Check Social and Health Services Eligibility

If you meet certain residency requirements you can apply for state and local benefits and programs.  

State benefits and programs FAQs 

Check College Tuition and Financial Aid Eligibility

As an established Washington resident, you’re eligible to receive college tuition and state financial aid at public colleges.  

Student residency requirements

Learn About State Taxes

Learn if you qualify as a resident for state sales and use taxes, and what these taxes mean for you.  

Washington State residency and taxes