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A person must have lived continuously in California for at least one year immediately preceding the residence determination date to be considered a resident for tuition purposes. Evidence must also be provided to indicate that the person has intent to make California his/her permanent home. The residence of an unmarried minor is that of the parents or legal guardian. The residence determination date is the day before a term begins for which the person is applying for admission.

It is the student’s responsibility to clearly demonstrate both physical presence in California and intent to establish California residence.

To have your residency status reclassified, download the Residence Questionnaire. Once completed, submit the form to your college Admissions and Records Office along with proof of residency documents.

For questions about CA Residency, contact the Admissions and Records Office on campus 

Proof of Residency Documents

California regulations require that before the first day of each term, new students bring proof of 366 days of residency in the state. Examples of these are:

  • A valid CA ID or driver’s License
  • State 540 or 540A tax forms for the previous year with California address
  • Active Military ID card
  • Receipt for payment of residential property tax
  • Rental or lease agreement showing continuous occupancy in a CA property
  • Notarized letter of residency 

Military Residence Exception

Nonresident U.S. military personnel in California (except those assigned for educational purposes to state-supported institutions of higher education) are granted a waiver of Nonresident Tuition until they are discharged from their military service. Their dependents are granted a waiver for a period of one year from the date they enter California. Upon expiration of the waivers, evidence must be provided as to the date the student surrendered his/her out-of-state residence to become a resident of California. The student will be classified as a nonresident and charged Nonresident Tuition until one year has elapsed since the out-of-state residence was surrendered.

AB 540 and AB 2000 California Nonresident Tuition Exemption

Any student, other than one with a 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):

Requirements

Requirements: 

  • The student must have:

• attended a high school (public or private) in California for three or more years, 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

  • 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) and
  • The student must file an AB 540 and AB 2000 California Nonresident Tuition Exemptionwith the college or university stating that he or she has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he or she 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.

• 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, 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.

For more information about Assembly Bill 540 and the California Dream Act,click here.

Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Students who have been granted DACA status have taken appropriate steps to obtain a change of status from the applicable federal agency to a classification which does not preclude establishing domicile. (See, Cal. Code Regs., tit. 5, § 54045(c).) Thus, for residency determinations made on or after June 5, 2014, if the student otherwise meets the requirements of California law related to physical presence and the intent to make California home for other than a temporary purpose, the student can be classified as resident for purposes of assessing tuition, awarding Board of Governors Fee Waivers, and determining eligibility for services that require California residency.

More Information About DACA

he Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in June 2012.  Under this program, individuals meeting specified requirements can apply to have a deportation action deferred for two years, subject to renewal for an additional two years.  Students under DACA are considered by DHS to be lawfully present in the United States during the period of deferred action

On June 5, 2014, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated its Frequently Asked Questions regarding Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  Of significance, the USCIS clarified that “individuals granted deferred action are not precluded by federal law from establishing domicile in the U.S.” (Frequently Asked Questions, #5.)   Based on this clarification, we have concluded that students who have been granted DACA status have taken appropriate steps to obtain a change of status from the applicable federal agency to a classification which does not preclude establishing domicile. (See, Cal. Code Regs., tit. 5, § 54045(c).) Thus, for residency determinations made on or after June 5, 2014, if the student otherwise meets the requirements of California law related to physical presence and the intent to make California home for other than a temporary purpose, the student can be classified as resident for purposes of assessing tuition, awarding Board of Governors Fee Waivers, and determining eligibility for services that require California residency.

While DACA status is conferred for only two years, subject to renewal, as a general rule residency classification will not be impacted by the renewal requirement.  Once a student has been classified as a resident, colleges are not required to determine the student’s classification again unless the student has not been in attendance for more than one semester or quarter. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 5, 54010(a).)

Assembly Bill 2210

Recent legislation, AB 2210 (2018, McCarty), added section 68075.65 to the Education Code, requiring each community college to post on its Internet Web site a notice that sets forth which persons are exempt from paying nonresident tuition pursuant to Section 68075.6.

The Chancellor’s Office has developed the following language which may be posted to community college websites to comply with the requirements set forth in AB 2210:

Education Code section 68075.6 grants an immediate nonresident tuition fee exemption to eligible Special Immigrant Visa {SIV) holders and refugee students who settled in California upon entering the United States. This exemption is granted for one year from the date the student settled in California upon entering the United States.

This exemption applies to the following:

  • Iraqi citizens or nationals (and their spouses and children) who were employed by or on behalf of the United States Government in Iraq (Pub.L.No.110-181, 1244
  • Afghan and Iraqi translators (and their spouses and children) who worked directly with the United States Armed Forces (Pub.L. No. 109- 163, 1059)
  • Afghanistan nationals who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government or in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan (Pub.L. No. 111-8, § 602)
  • Refugee students admitted to the United States under Section 1157 of Title 8 of the United States Code