Residency Information
Looking toward the Golden Gate

How to Establish Residency for Tuition Purposes

If you are an adult student (at least 18 years of age), you may establish residency for tuition purposes in California if you are a:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Permanent Resident, or
  • a student holding one of the following eligible visas: A, E, G, H1, H4, I, K, L, N, NATO, O1, O3 (dependent of O1), R, T, TPS, U, or V.

(Students who are not US Citizens or Permanent Residents should go to the What if I am not a US Citizen or Permanent Resident page for more information.)

Adult students cannot derive residence from a spouse or parents. For rules applying to minors, click here.

In order to be classified as a resident for tuition purposes, you must fulfill ALL 3 requirements listed below:

  1. Physical Presence:  You must be physically present in California for more than one year (366 days) immediately prior to the residence determination date of the term for which classification as a resident is requested.
  2. Intent: You must establish your intent to make California your home one year prior to the residence determination date of the term for which classification as a resident is requested.

    If you are physically present in California solely for educational purposes, you will not be eligible for resident classification regardless of the length of your stay in California. The physical presence requirement (above) will be extended until you can demonstrate a concurrence of both physical presence and intent for one full year.
  3. Financial Independence: If you will not reach age 24 by December 31 of the year in which classification as a resident is requested, and are not dependent upon a California resident parent (biological or legally adoptive only) for tuition purposes, you will be required to satisfy the University’s self-sufficiency requirement.

    It should be noted that this requirement makes it extremely difficult for most undergraduates who do not have a parent domiciled in California to qualify for classification as a resident at a University of California campus.

If I am an out-of-state/nonresident student, what should I do once I arrive in California?

Bear in mind that even though you will probably not submit a petition to change your residency status until the end of your first academic year at Berkeley, you must start the residency process as soon as you arrive.  The following are guidelines as to what you must do in order to establish California residency for tuition purposes.

  • Document your presence in the state as soon as you arrive. Save your airline ticket or bank/credit card statements showing that you were physically present in California one year prior to the beginning of the term for which you are seeking resident classification.
  • Obtain a California Driver’s License within 10 days of arriving in California. If you have never had a driver’s license in any state, then you must obtain a California Identification Card.
  • Surrender all out-of-state driver’s license and identification cards.
  • Register your vehicle(s) in California within 20 days of arriving in the state.
  • Register to vote in California, and vote in California elections.
  • Pay California income taxes as a resident on all taxable income earned after your arrival in California and file California resident or part-year resident tax returns.
  • File nonresident or part-year resident out-of-state tax returns if you have out-of-state taxable income prior to arriving in California.
  • Designate and use a California address as your permanent address on all records (e.g., school, employment, tax forms, military, etc.).
  • Open a California bank account and close out-of-state accounts. If your financial account is with an interstate or internet bank, change your permanent address to California.
  • Establish a California residence in which you keep your permanent belongings.
  • Obtain a professional license to practice in California, if applicable.

Note: The student is cautioned that this summation is not a complete explanation of the laws regarding residence. Please note that changes may be made in the residence requirements between the publication date of this statement and the relevant determination date. Non-citizen students should consult the Residence Affairs Officer for information regarding special criteria in determining residency eligibility. If you have questions, call (510) 644-9181. At the campus level, the Residence Affairs Officer is the only person qualified to answer residence questions or to make a residence determination. No other University personnel is authorized to supply information relative to residence requirements for tuition purposes.


This page was last updated on Thursday, June 27, 2013