Legal Residence Information
Tuition Fee for Nonresident Students
If you have not been living in California with intent to make it your permanent home for more than one year immediately before the residence determination date for each semester in which you propose to attend the University, you must pay a Nonresident Supplemental Tuition in addition to all other fees. The residence determination date is the day instruction begins at the University of California, Berkeley.
- Law Governing Residence The rules regarding legal residence for tuition purposes at the University of California are governed by the California Education Code and implemented by the Standing Orders of The Regents of the University of California. Under these rules, adult citizens or certain classes of aliens can establish residence for tuition purposes. There are also particular rules that apply to the residence classification of minors (see below).
- Who is a California Resident? If you are an adult who is not an alien present in the U.S. in a nonimmigrant status which precludes you from establishing domicile in the U.S. (e.g., a B, F, H2, H3, or J visa) and you want to be classified as a resident for tuition purposes, you must have established your continuous presence in California more than one year immediately preceding the residence determination date for the semester during which you propose to attend the University, and you must have given up any previous residence. You must also present objective evidence that you intend to make California your permanent home. Evidence of intent must be dated one year before the term for which you seek resident classification. If these steps are delayed, the one-year durational period will be extended until you have demonstrated both continuous presence and intent for one full year. Physical presence within the state solely for educational purposes does not constitute the establishment of California residence under state law, regardless of the length of your stay. In addition, the Financial Independence requirement must be met. Your residence cannot be derived from your spouse nor, since you are an adult, from your parents. Likewise, a registered domestic partner does not derive residence from the other registered domestic partner.
- Establishing Intent to Become a California Resident Indications of your intent to make California your permanent residence can include registering to vote and voting in California elections; designating California as your permanent address on all school and employment records, including military records if you are in the military service; obtaining a California driver's license or, if you never had a driver's license from any state, a California Identification Card; obtaining California vehicle registration; paying California income taxes as a resident, including taxes on income earned outside California from the date you establish residence; establishing a California residence in which you keep your permanent belongings; licensing for professional practice in California; and the absence of these indications in other states during any period for which you claim California residence. Documentary evidence is required. All relevant indications will be considered in determining your classification. Your intent will be questioned if you return to your prior state of residence when the University is not in session.
- Financial Independence Requirement If your parents are not residents of California for tuition purposes or if you were not previously enrolled in a regular session at any University of California campus prior to Fall 1993, you will be required to be financially independent in order to be a resident for tuition purposes. If you are an adult student and your parents are not California residents, you must demonstrate financial independence, along with physical presence and intent, when seeking resident classification for tuition purposes. You may be considered "financially independent" if one or more of the following applies: (1) you are at least 24 years of age by December 31 of the year you request residence classification; (2) you are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces; (3) you are a ward of the court or both of your parents are deceased; (4) you have legal dependents other than a spouse or a registered domestic partner; (5) you are married, a registered domestic partner, a graduate academic student, or a graduate professional student and you were not/will not be claimed as an income tax deduction by any individual other than your spouse or domestic partner for the tax year preceding the term for which you are requesting resident classification; or (6) you are a single undergraduate student who was not claimed as an income tax deduction by your parents or any other individual for the two tax years immediately preceding the term for which you are requesting resident classification, and you can demonstrate self-sufficiency for those years and the current year. Note: Graduate students who are graduate student instructors, teaching or research assistants, or teaching associates employed at 49% time or more (or awarded the equivalent in University-administered funds. e.g., grants, stipends, fellowships) in the term for which resident classification is sought may be exempt from the financial independence requirement.
NONRESIDENT UNDERGRADUATES: The process of obtaining California residency for tuition purposes is extremely difficult for undergraduates with nonresident parents (this includes transfer students from community colleges and other post-secondary institutions within California). Virtually all nonresident undergraduates with nonresident parents remain nonresidents for the duration of their undergraduate career at the University.
General Rules Applying to Minors
If you are an unmarried minor (under age 18), the residence of the parent with whom you live is considered your residence. If you have a parent living, you cannot change your residence by your own act, by the appointment of a legal guardian, or by the relinquishment of a parent's right of control. If you live with neither parent, your residence is that of the parent with whom you last lived. Unless you are a minor alien present in the U.S. under the terms of a nonimmigrant status which precludes you from establishing domicile in the U.S., you may establish your own residence when both your parents are deceased and a legal guardian has not been appointed. If you derive California residence from a parent, that residence must satisfy the one-year durational requirement.
Specific Rules Applying to Minors
- Divorced/Separated Parents If you want to derive California resident status from a California resident parent, you must move to California to live with that parent before your 18th birthday and establish the requisite intent and remain in California until school begins. Otherwise, you will be treated like any other adult coming to California to establish your legal residence.
- Parent of Minor Moves from California If you are a minor U.S. citizen or eligible alien whose parent was a resident of California but who left the state within one year of the residence determination date, you may be entitled to resident classification if you remain in California after your parent departs, enroll in a California public postsecondary institution within one year of your parent's departure, and, once enrolled, attend continuously as a full-time student.
- Self-Support If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible alien and are a minor and can prove that you lived in California for the entire year immediately before the residence determination date, that you have been self-supporting for that year, and that you intend to make California your permanent home, you may be eligible for resident status.
- Two-Year Care and Control If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible alien and you lived continuously for at least two years before the residence determination date with an adult who was not your parent but was responsible for your care and control, and who, during the one year immediately preceding the residence determination date was a resident of California, you may be entitled to resident status. This exception continues until you become 18 and have resided in the state long enough to become a resident, as long as you continuously attend an educational institution.
Exemptions from Nonresident Supplemental Tuition (Proof of Eligibility is Required)
- Member of the Military
If you are a member of the U.S. military stationed in California on active duty, unless you are assigned for educational purposes to a state-supported institution of higher education, you may be exempt from the Nonresident Supplemental Tuition until you have lived in California long enough to become a resident. You must provide the residence deputy on campus with a statement from your commanding or personnel officer stating your assignment to active duty in California. The letter must include the dates of your assignment to the state.
see also: Military Waiver of Nonresident Supplemental Tuition
- Spouse, Registered Domestic Partner, or Other Dependents of Military Personnel You may be exempt from payment of the Nonresident Supplemental Tuition if you are a spouse, registered domestic partner, or a natural or adopted child or stepchild who is a dependent of a member of the U.S. military stationed in California on active duty. The exemption is available until you have lived in California long enough to become a resident. You must petition for a waiver of the nonresident tuition fee each semester you are eligible. If you are enrolled in an educational institution and the member of the military is transferred on military orders to a place outside California where he or she continues to serve in the armed forces, or the member of the military retires from active duty immediately after having served in California on active duty, you may retain this exemption under the conditions listed above.
see also: Military Waiver of Nonresident Supplemental Tuition
- Child, Spouse, or Registered Domestic Partner of Faculty Member To the extent funds are available, if you are an unmarried dependent child under age 21 or the spouse or registered domestic partner of a member of the University faculty who is a member of the Academic Senate, you may be eligible for a waiver of the Nonresident Supplemental Tuition. Confirmation of the faculty member's membership on the Academic Senate must be secured each semester before this waiver is granted.
- Child, Spouse, or Registered Domestic Partner of University Employee If you are an unmarried dependent child or the spouse or the registered domestic partner of a full-time University employee whose assignment is outside California (e.g., Los Alamos National Laboratory or the University of California Washington, DC, Center), you may be eligible for a waiver of the Nonresident Supplemental Tuition. Your parent's, spouse's, or registered domestic partner's employment status with the University must be ascertained each semester.
- Child, Spouse, or Registered Domestic Partner of Deceased Public Law Enforcement or Fire Supression Employee If you are the child, spouse, or registered domestic partner of a deceased public law enforcement or fire suppression employee who was a California resident and was killed in the course of fire suppression or law enforcement duties, you may be entitled to a waiver of the Nonresident Supplemental Tuition.
- Dependent Child of a California Resident Parent If you have not been an adult resident of California for more than one year and you are a dependent child of a California resident parent who has been a resident for more than one year immediately before the residence determination date, you may be entitled to a waiver of the Nonresident Supplemental Tuition until you have resided in California for the minimum time necessary to become a resident as long as you maintain continuous attendance at an educational institution.
- Native American Graduates of a BIA High School If you are a graduate of a California high school operated by the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, you may be eligible for an exemption from the nonresident fee.
- Employee of a California Public School District Any person holding a valid California teaching credential who is employed by a California public school district in a full-time certificated position may be eligible for a Nonresident Supplemental Tuition waiver.
- Student Athlete in Training at U.S. Olympic Training Center, Chula Vista Any amateur student athlete in training at the United States Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista may be eligible for a waiver of the non-resident tuition until he or she has resided in the state the minimum time necessary to become a resident.
- Graduate of a California High School (AB540) You may be entitled to an exemption from Nonresident Supplemental Tuition if you attended high school in California for three (3) or more years and graduated from a California high school (or attained the equivalent). You are not eligible for this exemption if you are a nonimmigrant alien.
- Spouses, Registered Domestic Partners, and Dependents of California Residents Killed in September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attacks If you are an undergraduate student who is a surviving spouse, registered domestic partner, or dependent child of a California resident killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or the crash of United Airlines Flight 93, you may be eligible for an exemption from the Nonresident Supplemental Tuition.
- Recipient or Child of a Recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor If you are a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor or the child of a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, you may be eligible for an exemption from the Nonresident Supplemental Tuition.
If you are a nonresident student who is in the process of establishing California residency for tuition purposes and you leave California during nonacademic periods (for example, to return to your former or parent's home state), your presence in California will be presumed to be solely for educational purposes, and only convincing evidence to the contrary will rebut this presumption. Students who are in the state solely for educational purposes will NOT be classified as residents for tuition purposes, regardless of the length of stay.
If you are a student who has been classified as a resident for tuition purposes and you leave the state temporarily, your absence could result in the loss of your California residence. Again, only strong evidence will rebut the presumption that you are/were in California solely for educational purposes. The burden of proof will be on you to verify that you did nothing inconsistent with your claim of a continuing California residence during your entire absence.
If you are a minor student, your residence is determined by the residence of the parent(s) with whom you live or last lived, and you would not lose that residence unless you perform acts inconsistent with a claim of permanent California residence.
Some steps that you (or your parent(s) if you are a minor student) should take to retain resident status for tuition purposes are:
- Satisfy California resident income tax obligations. It should be noted that individuals claiming permanent California residence are liable for payment of income taxes on their TOTAL income, including income earned outside the state (abroad or in another state).
- Continue to use a California permanent address ON ALL RECORDS (educational, employment, military, etc.).
- Attend an out-of-state public institution as a non-resident for the entire period of enrollment there.
- Retain your California voter's registration and vote by absentee ballot.
- Maintain a California driver's license and vehicle registration. If it is necessary to change your license or registration while temporarily residing in another state, the license MUST be changed back to California within 10 days of the date of return to the state, and the vehicle registration must be changed within 20 days of the date of return.
- Return to California during your vacation periods.
Petitioning for Resident Classification (for continuing students)
If you are a continuing student who is classified as a nonresident for tuition purposes and you believe you will be eligible for resident status, you must submit an online Residence Classification Petition, available via Bear Facts, for the applicable term. The deadline to file the petition is the last working day before the first day of instruction for the term for which you are seeking resident status. For specific term deadlines, click here.
To download a PDF copy of the document checklist for undergraduates, click here.
Form and Documentation Deadline
New students: You are required to submit an online Statement of Legal Residence (SLR) via Bear Facts by the deadline indicated on the online SLR. Failure to submit an SLR will result in your being classified as a nonresident and assessed the additional nonresident fee. Your registration may also be blocked.
Continuing students: If you are a nonresident and believe you are eligible for resident status, you must submit an online Residence Classification Petition (RCP) on Bear Facts during the filing period for the term for which resident classification is sought. Please follow the detailed PDF instructions after submission. The deadline to file the RCP is the last working day before the first day of instruction for the term for which you are seeking resident status.
All students: If additional documentation is required for a residence classification but is not readily accessible, you will have until the end of the 8th week of the applicable semester to provide it. (See Residency Deadlines for specific dates.) Failure to meet this deadline will result in your file being closed and your status remaining as a nonresident.
If you were incorrectly classified as a resident, you are subject to reclassification and to payment of all Nonresident Supplemental Tuition not paid. If you concealed information or furnished false information and were classified incorrectly as a result, you are also subject to University discipline. Resident students who become nonresidents must immediately notify the campus residence deputy.
Inquiries and Appeals
If you have inquiries regarding residence requirements, determination, and/or official exemptions, please contact the Residence Affairs unit at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510.642.5990. At the campus level, the Residence Affairs Officers and Residence Affairs Assistants are the only people qualified to answer residence questions or to make a residence determination. No other University personnel are authorized to supply information relative to residence requirements for tuition purposes.
Any student, following a final decision on residence classification by the residence deputy, has the opportunity to appeal in writing to the systemwide Residency Analyst within 30 days of notification of the residence deputy's final decision. You can contact the Residency Analyst at the Office of the General Counsel by email at email@example.com or fax to 510-987-9981, attn: Residency Analyst; or mail to University of California, Office of the General Counsel, 1111 Franklin St., 8th Floor, Oakland, CA 94607-5200. You can also visit their website at http://www.ucop.edu/ogc/documents/student-information-sheet.pdf for more information.
Get More Information
Online Statement of Legal Residence Frequently Asked Questions Residency Deadlines Non-citizen Information Caution: This summary is not a complete explanation of the law regarding residence. Additional information is available from the Office of the Registrar. Please note that changes may be made in the residence requirements between the publication date of this statement and the relevant residence determination date.