Documenting Physical Presence

Documentation of physical presence is used to establish the fact that an individual has been physically residing in Wisconsin continuously during a specific period of time. Verifying physical presence in Wisconsin is only one of several criteria needed to qualify as a bona fide resident of Wisconsin, but meeting this verification requirement is important to confirm your eligibility for resident status.

Individuals should never submit unrequested documentation of physical presence. Residence Specialists in the Office of the Registrar will define if and when documentation of physical presence is required and will communicate that requirement to the student by email.

Each item of documentation must include,

  • your name
  • the date of presence
  • the location of presence

In most cases, providing acceptable documentation of three to four days of presence per month will suffice (i.e. three to four documents), but it may sometimes be necessary to request additional documentation depending on individual circumstances.

Types of Documentation

You are not limited to the examples and may provide other forms of documentation. However, Residence Specialists in the Office of the Registrar will need to verify whether the alternative type of documentation satisfies the review requirements. If you plan to submit documentation other than what is included on this list, you may want to speak with a Residence Specialist to discuss your documentation before collecting and submitting it. Residence Specialists will advise you to their best ability, although it is not always possible to confirm the acceptability of a document prior to seeing it. We understand that collecting documentation of physical presence may be difficult in some cases, but the University must include them in student records to support the student’s residence classification in the event of a residence audit.

Click the document types for additional guidance

Appropriate documents include:

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Banking or debit statements

Banking or debit statements showing ATM transactions or point-of-sale debit and credit transactions in Wisconsin. These statements must generally be in your name only, although in the case of spouses, we will accept documentation that is jointly held. We will not accept joint statements in cases where the individuals are not married (including statements held jointly with a parent or child), or statements that are held solely in another individual’s name. Please submit the full statement for each month. We do not accept screenshots of purchase histories. The statement must show all identifying information, although card numbers, transaction amounts, and balances may be redacted.

Monthly billing statements

Monthly billing statements from utilities or other businesses. These must be the monthly statements and must include the component showing the mailing address in addition to the main statement. Residency staff does not review this type of document to confirm utility usage at a service address. They are reviewed like other mailed documents to confirm that you are listing Wisconsin as your home address for formal mailing purposes. We do not accept documents with the mailing address removed or aggregated bill summaries covering multiple months. Billing statements that list an email address instead of a mailing address will not be accepted, even if the service address is listed.

Bills from doctor or dentist

Verification of, and/or bills from doctor or dentist appointments in Wisconsin.

Documentation of volunteer work or involvement in community activities in Wisconsin

Documentation of volunteer work or involvement in community activities in Wisconsin. (e.g.: an original letter from a Volunteer Coordinator on official letterhead). A letter demonstrating volunteering/involvement should specify the date range that the individual has been involved and indicate specific dates of participation or the frequency of participation.

List of visits to health club/fitness center

List of visits to health club/fitness center (must be on letterhead, show the name of the member who checked in, check-in dates, and location (including city and state) of facility). If the fitness club cannot produce the document on letterhead, a staff member from the club should write a brief letter verifying that the document was produced by the club and should include a copy of their business card.

Canceled checks to local businesses

Canceled checks you wrote to local businesses or credit card receipts you signed with charges to local businesses. We only accept cancelled checks as they appear on monthly banking statements. The signature must be legible, and we must be able to identify the Wisconsin business that you provided the check to for payment. We do not accept voided checks.

Envelopes addressed to you at your Wisconsin address

Envelopes (excluding window envelopes) addressed to you at your Wisconsin address with a legible postmark. We cannot accept envelopes (or other mailed items) that do not clearly list the shipment date, such as magazines or packages that don’t have human readable postmarks. We do not accept window envelopes because we can’t confirm that the contents inside correspond to the postmark; however, we can often accept the mailed documents inside the window envelopes as evidence of physical presence.

Shipping receipts from online purchases

Shipping receipts from online purchases. These should be the shipping, not billing, receipts, as it is required that we see the shipping address and ship date in addition to the individual’s name. Websites like Amazon allow customers to download shipping receipts for very long periods of time after their initial purchase and shipment.

Pay stub/pay slips

Pay stub/pay slips showing your name, the paycheck date, and your Wisconsin address. All three items must be clearly visible for these items to be acceptable.

Unacceptable documents include:

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Document that doesn't have an individual’s name

Any document, regardless of type, that does not include the individual’s name.

Duplicate checks or voided checks

Duplicate checks or voided checks: These do not show the original signature or, in the case of voided checks, were not used for payment. Only canceled checks are acceptable.

A lease

A lease: This does not attest to one’s physical occupancy during the dates in question.

Letters written from friends and relatives

Letters written on your behalf from friends and relatives. Only letters written by impartial individuals are acceptable.

Documents that include more than one person’s name

Documents that include more than one person’s name, such as a utility bill or letter sent to two individuals, or a credit/debit statement held jointly by multiple individuals. We may accept joint documents from individuals if the other person on the account is their legal spouse. In most other instances, we will not accept joint documents. However, if you share a joint credit/debit account with someone who is not your spouse and the statements have a method of identifying who made specific purchases on that account, feel free to contact a residence counselor for further guidance, as we may be able to accept the documents under certain circumstances.

Envelopes without a postmark

Envelopes that do not bear a clearly dated postmark or window envelopes.

Submitting Documentation

For all documentation, please submit copies rather than originals. Electronic files are preferred over physical documentation when possible, but Residence Specialists will accept documents in both formats. Any hard copy document sent to our office will be securely disposed of after review and will not be returned to you.

Please submit electronic documentation by email. If you use a cloud storage service such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Microsoft One Drive, etc., you must make sure that Residence Specialists can access the files by clicking the link only. The email account does not have accounts with Google, Microsoft, etc., and cannot register accounts with these services. If Residence Specialists cannot access the files by clicking the link only, the documents will be treated as unsubmitted. In most cases, it is simplest to attach files as standard email attachments in a reply to the information request.