Residency Requirements: Graduate Students

In order to meet the University of California residency requirements, graduate students must be in an eligible immigration status and satisfy the "Physical Presence" and "Intent to Remain in California" requirements by the residence determination date, which is the first day of the term.

If you are a graduate student who will not be turning 24 by December 31 of the year a resident classification is sought, you must also satisfy the Financial Independence requirement.

If you are a continuing nonresident graduate student and wish to apply for a resident classification for an ensuing term, you must submit a Statement of Legal Residence (SLR) by that semester’s deadline.

Eligible Immigration Statuses

  • U.S. citizens
  • Permanent residents of the United States who have been in that status on a continuous basis for at least 366 days immediately prior to the residence determination date.
  • Qualifying nonimmigrant visa holders who have been in that status on a continuous basis for at least 366 days immediately prior to the residence determination date.

Physical Presence

You must be physically present in California on a continuous basis for at least 366 days immediately prior to the residence determination date.

  • Residence may not be established in absentia and the prior residence must have been relinquished.
  • You must be able to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that you have been continuously physically present in California.  
  • During the 366-day period, you can be absent from California for a total of six weeks. If you exceed six weeks of absence, you will not be granted a resident classification.

The Residence Affairs Unit will require documentation to verify your date of arrival in California and request evidence of your presence in California during summer and holiday breaks (if needed).

Sample documents we will request include:

Arrival Date Documents

  • plane tickets
  • flight confirmations
  • receipts
  • bank or credit card statements

Keep receipts/bank/credit card statements and pay stubs for nonacademic periods; please make sure they include your name and are not joint accounts.

Summer Physical Presence Documents 

  • California employment offer
  • Summer Session registration
  • letter from your department verifying academic/research for the summer
  • letter from your supervisor verifying your employment for the summer
  • credit/ATM card statements (Note: Make sure statements include your name and clear transactions made in California.) 
  • pay stubs

Summer Outside of California
If you are required to conduct research, intern, or be employed outside of California, this will not count toward the six-week period of absence. The Residence Affairs Unit will need a confirmation letter from either your supervisor, adviser, or academic department. However, if you return back to your original place of residence for employment opportunities, this will be highly scrutinized.

Intent to Remain in California

You must demonstrate the intent* to make California your permanent home and relinquish ties to your previous places of residence. Examples of establishing legal ties to the state of California are as follows:

  • obtain a California Driver’s License or State Identification card within the first 30 days of arriving in California
  • register a vehicle in California (if vehicle is owned and used in California) within the first 30 days of arriving in California
  • register to vote in California (if registered to vote in previous state of residence) within the first 30 days of arriving in California
  • file California state income tax returns as a resident or part-year resident on all taxable income earned in or out of the state after arriving in California
  • file out-of-state income tax returns as a nonresident or part-year resident on income earned prior to arriving in California
  • designate and use a California address as a permanent address on all school, employment, and military records

Sample documents we will request:

  • all state and federal tax returns for the current (or previous) tax year
  • W2s for the current (or previous) tax year (including your previous state of residence)
  • California driver’s license or state ID card
  • California vehicle registration (if you own a vehicle)
  • California voter’s registration (for example, a copy of voter’s registration card or screenshot of online voter registration status)
  • records using a California permanent address

You may file a California Part-Year Resident tax form (540NR) your first year; Schedule 540NR indicates your dates in California. If you earned income out-of-state before your arrival, we recommend filing a part-year resident return in your previous state.

Note: If you do not relinquish out-of-state ties and establish California legal ties within the time frame, you may not be classifed as a resident for tuition purposes when you apply for residency.

*Intent is not limited to terms listed here.

Financial Independence

The Financial Independence requirement only needs to be met by those students who will not be turning 24 by December 31 of the year a resident classification is sought. In order to satisfy the Financial Independence requirement, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • You cannot be claimed as an income tax deduction by any individual other than your spouse or domestic partner for the tax year immediately preceding the term for which a resident classification is being sought.
  • You must be employed at the University of California 49 percent or more time (or awarded the equivalent in University-administered funds: grants, stipends, fellowships) in the term for which a resident classification is being sought.