Establishing Residence

Register to Vote

Voter registration is a legal tie to the State and is considered indicia of one's intent to reside in California under the UC Residence Policy; On-line Voter Registration.

Glossary of Terms

For definitions of terms used on this page, see the Glossary:

  • Alien
  • California Resident Student or Parent
  • domicile
  • In absentia
  • Indicia
  • Lawful Permanent Resident—Green Card
  • Residence Determination Date (RDD)

General Rule

To be classified a California resident for purposes of tuition and fees, an adult student and/or parent(s) who are not precluded from residence due to immigration status must have established a primary and permanent domicile in California and relinquished all ties to their past place(s) of residence for more than one year (at least 366 days). The 366 days must immediately precede the Residence Determination Date of the term the student proposes to attend the University. Students may have to demonstrate financial independence. It is your burden to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that you have satisfied all applicable UC residence requirements. Financial hardship cannot be considered in evaluating whether you are able to qualify for California residence for purposes of tuition and fees.

Nonresident Supplemental Tuition

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 term in which you propose to attend the University, you must pay Nonresident Supplemental Tuition in addition to all other tuition amounts; for the term in question.

Nonresident students may apply for a change of classification to resident status once all the UC Residence Policy requirements have been met.

Nonresidents Establishing Residence

If you are a nonresident student or parent who is in the process of establishing a residence for tuition purposes and you return to your former home during non-instructional periods, your presence in the state will be presumed to be solely for educational purposes and only convincing evidence to the contrary will rebut this presumption.

A student or parent who is in the state solely for educational purposes will not be classified as a resident for tuition purposes regardless of the length of his or her stay.

All four requirements must be met:

1) Eligibility: In order to establish residence in California for purposes of tuition and fees, you must have the legal ability to establish a domicile in the United States, meaning that you must be a citizen of the United States or a Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holder) or hold a valid, qualifying nonimmigrant visa. Also see information for Non-Citizens.

To establish residence, an adult alien must have lawful presence in the US and be eligible to establish a domicile for 366 days concurrently with their required physical presence and intent to reside permanently in California.

2) Physical Presence: The act necessary to establish residence is physical presence in California. An adult student (and/or the student’s parent(s)) must be physically present in California for more than a full year. Residence may not be established in absentia and it must be established (and the prior residence relinquished) for at least 366 days. The 366 days must be immediately prior to the Residence Determination Date for the relevant term.

If you have moved to California primarily to attend the University of California, you are here for educational purposes and so are not eligible for a resident classification for purposes of tuition and fees. You do not become a resident for purposes of tuition and fees simply by living in California for 366 days or more. Physical presence in California solely for educational purposes within California does not constitute the establishment of California residence, regardless of the length of stay.

The length of time you attend the University of California or live in California is not the sole determining factor of residence. The UC residence regulations require that you and your parent(s), if they claim California residence, prove at least 366 days of physical presence in California, intent to permanently remain in the state concurrent with the duration of your presence.

3) Intent (Legal and Other Ties): Intent to make California one’s permanent home is a required element of residence for purposes of tuition and fees. Although physical presence and intent must be established simultaneously (366 days prior to the first day of the term the student is seeking a resident classification), intent is evaluated separately from physical presence. Intent requires the Residence Deputy to assess the totality of the individual’s conduct and circumstances.

To prove California is their primary and permanent home, the student and/or parent(s) must obtain legal indicia of intent, as well as other indicia of intent, immediately after entering California and demonstrate that all legal ties to their past place of residence have been relinquished. Legal ties established with the State of California will be given greater weight than other indicia. Individuals who fail to establish legal ties with the State of California or fail to relinquish ties to their former place of residence will be presumed to be in California solely for educational purposes.

Out of State Legal Ties: You normally cannot establish California residence for purposes of tuition and fees while maintaining legal ties to another state or country (e.g. state tax liability, driver’s license, voter’s or vehicle registration, state benefits, etc). Students who continue to hold out-of-state legal indicia may be denied a resident classification for that term.

Intent of Spouses/Registered Domestic Partners: A wife does not derive residence from her husband, a husband does not derive residence from his wife and one registered domestic partner does not derive residence from the other. Married couples or registered domestic partners who are living together might have separate residences and each might have a different, unshared intent, indicating their separate residences.

4) Financial Independence: A student who is not dependent on a California-resident parent must demonstrate financial independence and total self-sufficiency for two full years immediately preceding the Residence Determination Date of the term for which the student is requesting a resident classification, in addition to 366 days of physical presence and intent.

Exceptions: The UC Residence Policy provides exceptions from the Financial Independence requirement under certain circumstances outlined in the policy under "Financial Independence—Exceptions".

Demonstrating Financial Independence and Complete Self Support

To prove financial independence, you must be able to document that you have not been claimed as an income tax dependent by any individual for two tax years immediately preceding the term, and that you have been totally self-sufficient for two full years prior to the residence determination date, supporting yourself, for example, through jobs, financial aid, commercial/institutional loans in your name only, and savings from your earnings. You must be able to document that you have paid rent and all other expenses from your own earnings.

UC Residence Policy: Financial Independence, Self Sufficiency and Support

Parents and students planning on attendance from outside of California, or attending Community College in California in order to transfer to the University of California, are cautioned to be familiar with the UC Residence Policy, which requires two years of Financial Independence and complete Self Sufficiency immediately prior to the UC term the student seeks a resident classifiation for purposes of tuition.


Any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States, generally classified as a Permanent Resident (Immigrant or LPR), Nonimmigrant or Undocumented Alien.

California Resident Student or Parent
A student or parent who has met the requirements for residence for purposes of tuition and fees.

The one location where a person is considered to have the most settled and permanent connection, the place where he intends to remain and to which, whenever temporarily absent, he has the intention of returning. A person can have only one domicile at a time. A parent accompanying a student to California who fails to relinquish all ties to the former residence does not meet the University’s requirements for residence for purposes of tuition and fees.

In absentia
Latin for "in the absence." Residence cannot be established in absentia.

Indications of intention. Legal and other ties of residence.

Lawful Permanent Resident—Green Card
Lawful permanent residents of the United States enjoy most of the same rights as United States citizens; namely, they are permitted to live and work in the United States, own property, attend public school and college and leave and return under certain conditions. Lawful permanent residents may acquire their status based upon a family relationship, an employment relationship, or any of the special immigration programs the United States government administers, such as the diversity visa program (Lottery), political asylum and amnesty.

Residence Determination Date (RDD)
The day instruction begins at the last of the University of California campuses to open for the quarter, and for schools on the semester system, the day instruction begins for the semester.