California Residency


Residency status is determined by the information provided by the student on the Application for Admission.  Students who do not meet residency requirements will be classified as non-residents for tuition purposes only.  In order to establish a residence, it is necessary that there be a union of act and intent.

You are a resident if:

  • You intend to make California the home for other than a temporary purpose.
  • You have lived in California one year and one day prior to the start of the semester and meet eligibility requirements for establishing California residency.
  • You have applied or received immigrant status one year and a day prior to the start of the semester in addition to the above requirement.

You are a non-resident if the following is less than a year proceeding the first day of term you plan to attend:

  • You have not lived in California one year and one day prior to the start of the semester, even though you are a U.S. citizen or legal immigrant.
  • You have registered and voted in a state other than California.
  • You have petitioned for divorce in a state other than California.
  • You have attended an out-of-state educational institution as a resident of that state.
  • You have declared non-residence for California State income tax purposes.
  • You have been approved for admission as an International Student.
  • You are in the United States on a temporary visa/non-immigrant status.

The burden of proof to clearly demonstrate both physical presence in California and intent to Establish Residence lies with the student. The student is required to present evidence in accordance with the California Education Code 68040. The documents presented must be valid, readable, and dated to show continuous physical presence in California for one year and one day prior to the beginning of the term for which reclassification is requested. See Residency Reclassification Request form.



Any student, other than one with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) nonimmigrant visa status (see exception below for students who have been granted T or U visa status), who meets all of the following requirements, shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges, the University of California, and the California State University (all public colleges and universities in California).

  • A student is exempt from paying nonresident tuition if the student meets all of the following four requirements:

    1. The student must have:

      • attended a combination of California high school, adult school, and California Community College for the equivalent of three years or more or

      • attained credits earned in California from a California high school equivalent to three or more years of full-time high school course work and attended a combination of elementary, middle and/or high schools in California for a total of three or more years, and

    2. The student must have:

      • graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of the term (for example, passing the GED or California High School Proficiency exam), or

      • completed an associate degree from a California Community College, or

      • completed the minimum requirements at a California Community College for transfer to the California State University or the University of California, and

    3. The student must register as an entering student at, or current enrollment at, an accredited institution of higher education in California, and

    4. The student must file an affidavit with the college or university stating that if the student is a non-citizen without current or valid immigration status, the student has filed an application to legalize immigration status, or will file an application as soon as the student is eligible to do so.

  • Students who are nonimmigrants who are victims of trafficking, domestic violence, and other serious crimes who have been granted T or U visa status, under Title 8 of the United States Code, sections 1101(a)(15)(T) or (U) are eligible for this exemption.

  • Students who are nonimmigrants, other than those with T or U visa status as noted above, [for example, those who hold F (student) visas, B (visitor) visas, etc.] are not eligible for this exemption.

  • A year’s equivalence at a California Community College is a minimum of 24 semester units of credit or 36 quarter units of credit.For noncredit courses, a year’s attendance is a minimum of 420 hours, 210 hours for a semester, and 140 hours a quarter.

  • The accumulation of credit and/or non-credit in any academic year shall be calculated in reference to a year’s equivalence.Partial completion in an academic year is allowed.(Example: 12 units of credit courses in an academic year is equal to a semester for purposes of determining eligibility.)

  • Attendance in credit courses at a California Community College towards the attendance requirements shall not exceed two years of full-time attendance.

  • The student must file an exemption request including a signed affidavit with the college that indicates the student has met all applicable conditions described above. Student information obtained in this process is strictly confidential unless disclosure is required under law.

  • Students eligible for this exemption who are transferring to another California public college or university must submit a new request (and documentation if required) to each college under consideration.

  • Nonresident students meeting the criteria will be exempted from the payment of nonresident tuition, but they will not be classified as California residents. They continue to be “nonresidents”.

  • The California Dream Act extends Cal Grant A and B Entitlement awards, Cal Grant C awards, the California Promise Grant (formerly known as the BOG fee waiver), Chaffee grants, and institutional financial aid to students that meet these criteria as well as the applicable criteria for eligibility for specific types of financial aid.

  • AB540 does not provide federal student financial aid eligibility for undocumented students. These students remain ineligible for federal financial aid.

  • If you believe you are eligible for AB540, complete the AB540 Affidavit and submit it to the Admissions & Records Office.

In 2017, the California Legislature also enacted Assembly Bill 343, which establishes a new exemption from nonresident tuition for refugees with special immigrant visas (SIVs) who have fled Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or other countries. 

Effective January 1, 2018, Education Code section 68075.6 grants an exemption to nonresident tuition for: (1) Iraqi citizens or nationals (and their spouses and children) who were employed by or on behalf of the United States Government in Iraq, and who meet certain criteria (Ed. Code, § 68075.6, subd. (b)(1); Public Law 110-181, § 1244); (2) translators (and their spouses and children) who worked directly with the United States Armed Forces, and who meet certain criteria (Ed. Code, § 68075.6; Public Law 109-163, § 1059); and (3) refugees (Ed. Code, § 68075.6, subd. (b)(1), 8 U.S.C. § 1157). These exemptions only apply to those who settled in California upon entering the United States. (Ed. Code, § 68075.6, subd. (b)(1).) Students who settled elsewhere in the United States, and then moved to California would not be eligible for this exemption and would be required to either establish residency or pay nonresident tuition. Under Education Code section 68122, T and U visa holders are also exempt from nonresident tuition by extension of Assembly Bill 343.

Assembly Bill 343 also states that the exemption for a student is only available for the maximum time it would take for the student to establish residency. (Ed. Code, § 68075.6, subd. (b)(1).) That time, and therefore any nonresident tuition exemption, will expire one year from the date the student settled in California upon entering the United States.  (Ed. Code, § 68017.) Upon expiration of the nonresident tuition exemption, the student will either have established residency in California, or will have an intention to reside elsewhere, and be subject to nonresident tuition.

Please contact the Admissions & Records Office for additional information.