Residency Status

Graduate or professional students who are initially classified as non-residents may petition to change their residency status once they feel that they've satisfied all three residency requirements.

Students must demonstrate:

  1. Intent to remain in California
  2. Physical presence in California at least 366 days before the start of the semester in which they wish to be reclassified as a resident
  3. That they are financially independent, or meet one of the exemptions to the financial independence requirement

Indicators of intent to remain in California include:

  • Obtaining a driver's license or state identification card
  • Registering to vote in California
  • Registering a motor vehicle in the state
  • Filing California resident taxes
  • Designating California as a permanent address for all records
  • Opening accounts with financial institutions in California

Acceptable proof of physical presence may include employment verification or school enrollment.

It is imperative that students begin obtaining indicators of intent as soon as they arrive in California. Students are expected to show a concurrence of intent and physical presence 366 days before they are considered residents.

Graduate students petitioning for California resident classification are exempt from the financial independence requirement if any of the following apply:

  • The student will be 24 years old by December 31, 2011 for fall 2011 semester.  For spring 2012 semester, a student must have been born in 1988 or earlier.
  • The student is married or has other legal dependents
  • The student was not claimed as a dependent on anyone's tax returns in 2009
  • The student is a veteran of the armed forces

The rules which govern residency classification for tuition purposes, and certain exceptions to the rules explained above, are more fully explained here.

If you have any further questions, please call John Lapuz at 949-824-6129, or e-mail him at