Immigration

In order to meet the University of California residency requirements, you (as a student) and, in some cases, your parents must have the legal ability to establish a permanent domicile in the United States.

As such, you must:

  • be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (“green card” holder) of the United States
    or
  • hold a valid, qualifying nonimmigrant visa (or other eligible immigration status such as asylee or refugee status)

If you are in an immigration status eligible for establishing residency for tuition purposes, you must be in that immigration status on a continuous basis for at least 366 days immediately prior to the first day of instruction (the residence determination date) of the respective term. You must maintain an eligible immigration status in order to continue paying the in-state tuition.

f you are an undergraduate student under the age of 24, you and at least one of your parents must be in immigration status eligible for establishing California residency AND meet all other residency requirements in order to be considered a California resident for tuition purposes.

Note: There are exceptions and exemptions for specific instances (for example, AB 540 and T/U visa holders).

On this page USCIS refers to the department of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Permanent Residents

  • If you are a permanent resident ("green card" holder): You are eligible for residency for tuition purposes so long as you are in that status on a continuous basis for at least 366 days immediately prior to the first day of instruction (residence determination date).  
  • If you were recently issued a permanent resident card but hold an I-485 (pending application for permanent residents); The approved receipt notice should be dated no later than 366 days immediately prior to the first day of instruction (residence determination date).
  • If you apply for permanent residence abroad at a U.S. Consulate: You can provide evidence of an approved DS 260 ("Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application Confirmation") in lieu of the I-485 as long as you are in that status on a continuous basis for at least 366 days immediately prior to the first day of instruction (residence determination date).
  • If you have additional documentation prior to the I-485 (i.e. I-130 or I-140): You should contact the Residence Affairs Unit.

Eligible Nonimmigrant Visas

The following is a list of nonimmigrant visas eligible for residency for tuition purposes. In addition to the nonimmigrant visa, students (and at least one parent for undergraduate students under the age of 24) must hold a valid I-94 as evidence of legal presence in the United States.  

If you hold one of the following visas, to maintain eligibility for residency for tuition purposes you must provide documentation of your current eligible immigration status every semester of attendance. Additionally, with the exception of A and G diplomatic visas, all nonimmigrant visas expire for dependents/children after the age of 21 years.

  • A-1, A-2, A-3
  • E-1, E-2, E-2C, E-3
  • G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4
  • H-1B, H-1C
  • H-4 spouses and H-4 children of H-1 principals
  • I
  • K-1, K-2, K-3, K-4
  • L-1A, L-1B, L-2
  • N-8, N-9
  • NATO-1 through NATO-7
  • O-1
  • O-3 spouses and O-3 children of O-1 principals
  • R-1, R-2
  • T-1, T-2, T-3, T-4, T-5
  • U-1, U-2, U-3, U-4, U-5
  • V-1, V-2, V-3

Ineligible Nonimmigrant Visas

The following is a list of nonimmigrant visas that are not eligible for residency for tuition purposes. If you hold any of these nonimmigrant visas, you are classified as a nonresident for tuition purposes.

  • B-1, B-2
  • Visa Waiver Program
  • C-1, C-2, C-3, C-4
  • D-1, D-2
  • F-1, F-2
  • H-2A, H-2B, H-3
  • H-4 spouses and H-4 children of H-2 and H-3 principals
  • J-1, J-2
  • M-1
  • O-2
  • O-3 spouses and O-3 children of O-2 principals
  • P-1, P-2, P-3, P-4
  • Q-1, Q-2, Q-3
  • S-5, S-6
  • TN, TD

Note: If you are an adult who entered the United States with one of of the above nonimmigrant visa types and  are in the process of adjusting your status (for example, submission of an I-485, Application for Permanent Residence), contact the Residence Affairs Unit.

Asylees

If you are an asylee, you may establish eligibility for residency for tuition purposes if you are legally present in the United States and have a properly filed Request for Asylum (I-589), pending approval with a receipt date that is at least 366 days immediately prior to the first date of instruction [residence determination date]).

If you have applied for asylum, to verify legal presence and applicant status you must provide:

  • a valid copy of an I-589 acknowledgement

or

  • a receipt and a valid employment authorization document that reflects withholding of removal (Employment Authorization Document [EAD] category (a)(10))

or

  • a pending asylum Employment Authorization Document (EAD)category (c)(8)

When asylum has been granted, you receive a confirmatory USCIS letter and Form I-94, or a copy of the court order granting asylum. The U.S. Immigration notice should include spouse and minor children, provided they were present in the United States and included in the asylum application (EAD category (a)(5)).

Note: If you (or your parent) have asylee status, to be eligible for residency for tuition purposes, you still must satisfy all residency requirements.

Refugees

If you are a refugee, you must present a copy of the Form I-590 (Registration for Classification as Refugee) approval letter or a copy of the Form I-730 (Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition) approval notice.

Either copy must be approved at least 366 days immediately prior to the start of instruction/residence determination date.

In addition to the I-590 or I-730, you must submit a copy of the Form I-94. Note: You may also request Employment Authorization Document (EAD) category (a)(3) or (a)(4).

Spouses or children of a qualifying refugee may be entitled to admission to the United States if they are accompanying or following to join the principal refugee.

To be eligible for residency for tuition purposes, students, and/or parents, with refugee status must satisfy all applicable residency requirements.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

A foreign country may be designated by the Department of Homeland Security for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for a specific period of time, which may be extended.

If you are a TPS beneficiary, or preliminarily eligible for TPS, during the designated period you:

  • are not removable from the United States
  • can obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) category (a)(12) or (c)(19) (for those eligible for TPS even before final approval), and
  • may be granted travel authorization

As a TPS grantee, you must be able to verify legal presence by providing an approved I-821 (initial registration only) and a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) category (a)(12) or (c)(19). Both of these documents must be dated at least 366 days immediately prior to the first day of instruction in order for you to be eligible to satisfy the residency requirements for tuition purposes.

If the EAD has expired, the Residence Deputy will verify whether it has been automatically extended by the Department of Homeland Security and whether you have re-registered to TPS.

Additional information on designated countries, eligibility, registration and expiration dates may be found at: www.uscis.gov/tps

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

If you are an immigrant eligible for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), you must be able to verify legal presence by providing a copy of the Form I-360. The Form I-360 receipt notice date must be at least 366 days immediately prior to the first day of instruction in order for you to be eligible to satisfy the residency requirements for tuition purposes.

When the VAWA self-petition has been approved, verification of the approval can be provided with a copy of the approved Form I-360 and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) category (c)(31).

Withholding of Removal

If you are granted withholding of removal, you have status similar to an asylee.

If you have this status, you are not eligible to adjust to lawful permanent resident status; however, appropriate immigration authorities can extend your “withholding” status indefinitely.

To confirm legal presence, you must provide:

  • an I-94 stamped “Withholding of Removal (or Deportation) § 243 (h) or 241 (b)(3)"

or
 

  • a copy of a valid EAD category (a)(10)

Parolees

Parolees include the following categories: deferred inspection, advance parole, humanitarian parole, and significant public benefit parole.

The only parolee categories eligible for residency for tuition purposes are:

  • advance parole for individuals with a pending I-485 (Application for Permanent Residence) dates at least 366 days immiediately prior to the first day of instruction (residence determination date)

or

  • any individual who holds additional immigration documentation that is eligible for residency for tuition purposes

AB 540

Students may be exempt from paying nonresident supplemental tuition if the student meets all of the following:

  • attended a California high school for at least three years
  • graduated from a California high school
  • does not carry a nonimmigrant visa as defined by federal immigration law (please see nonimmigrant visa sections above)

As of January 1, 2015, you may be eligible for AB 540 if you:

  • are a UC nonresident student who has successfully completed three years of high school academic credit in fewer than three years
  • can document that you have been enrolled in school in California for at least three academic years during K-12 enrollment

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

If you are a DACA-approved student, you will receive an I-821D Approval Notice indicating dates through which DACA status is valid.

To be eligible for residency for tuition purposes, you must: 

  • provide a copy of the I-821D Approval Notice that is dated at least 366 days immediately prior to the first day of instruction

and
 

  • satisfy all applicable requirements, including 366 days of continuous physical presence (to start from the date of the “approval notice” on the I-821D) with concurrent intent and financial independence when applicable

If you are a DACA-approved student who is also eligible for AB 540, you may continue or pursue a nonresident determination with the AB 540 nonresident tuition waiver in order to be eligible for California Dream Act funding.

About DACA: Periods of time when students are in a DACA status in California are periods of ‘legal presence’ that count toward a student’s physical presence. DACA confers lawful presence, but does not confer lawful status. Students who have an approved DACA classification may be authorized to be employed in the United States for renewable periods of up to two years.

Citizen/Permanent Resident with Undocumented Parents

If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States (minor or adult), whose parent is undocumented or out of status, but has otherwise been physically present in California for at least 366 days immediately prior to the first day of instruction with concurrent 'Intent to Remain in California', you will be eligible for residency for tuition purposes.

If your parents begin to acquire lawful presence, you will not lose your eligibility for this provision, so long as your parents do not act inconsistently with a claim of continued California residence.