FAQs - Information on Residency

California Residency Information

Ten Things You Need To Know About California Residency

CSU Office of The Chancellor - Mandates for California Resident Status for Tuition purposes (NON NEGOTIABLE).


  1. California residency for tuition purposes eligibility criteria are established by State Law and the California Code of Regulations. California State University implements these Laws and Regulations.
  2. California State University cannot alter or waive the eligibility criteria for any reason.
  3.  Under California law, if you have moved to California primarily to attend a California institution of higher learning, then you are not eligible for in-state tuition.
  4. Living in California for 12 months is not an automatic qualification for in-state tuition.
  5.  You must prove through official and/or legal documents that you have moved to California permanently and are not merely living in California temporarily while you attend a California State University, however long your course of study may take.
  6. Financial hardship cannot be considered in evaluating California residency for tuition purposes eligibility.
  7. Legal ties that you maintain in another state or country (e.g., state tax liability, a driver's license, voter's registration, etc.) will disqualify you from residency reclassification, regardless of your reason(s) for maintaining these ties.
  8. Evidence that you are receiving out-of-state financial support in any way, either directly (e.g. tuition payments, parent PLUS loans, etc.) or indirectly (e.g., parent-purchased or co-purchased residences, parent-controlled financial portfolios), will disqualify you from California residency for-tuition-purposes.
  9. Despite the length of time you attend California State University or live in California, you might not qualify for California residency for-tuition-purposes.
  10. Residency reclassification applications and all supporting documentation must be submitted during the term in which reclassification is requested.


Important Note:

The term "California resident" for tuition purposes may differ from other definitions of California residency. A person who has a California driver's license/vehicle registration or who is a California resident for tax, voting, or welfare purposes may have established legal residence in the state but might not necessarily be considered a resident for tuition purposes.


Q: As a non-resident student, how do I qualify for California Resident Status?

Physical Presence: To be eligible for resident status a student who can demonstrate both a physical presence in the state for 12 months combined with timely evidence of intent to remain in California indefinitely may establish California residence for tuition purposes.

Intent: As per the California Education Code section 68071: A student who has been entirely self-supporting and actually present in California for more than one year immediately preceding the residence determination date, with the intention of acquiring a residence therein, shall be entitled to resident classification until he or she has resided in the state the minimum time necessary to become a resident.

Evidence demonstrating intent may vary from case to case but will include, and is not limited to:

  • California driver's license or I.D. card.
  • California voter registration.
  • California automobile registration (if owning a vehicle)
  • California state income tax obligations on total income for the current year (to be filed the following tax period).
  • Absence of residential ties to any other state.
  • Ownership of residential property or continuous occupancy or renting of an apartment on a lease basis where your personal belongings are kept.
  • Active account(s) in a California bank.
  • Immigration status with legal capacity to establish California residency.
  • Maintaining a permanent military address and home of record in California.
  • Military leave and earning statements showing California as legal residence for the prior year.
  • Financial independence from parents for the current year and the three years prior to the current year.

Financial Independence: As per the California Education Code (section 68044) which mandates that any student who has been claimed as a dependent on anyone’s income tax return within the past three years, who has accepted more than $750 in financial support in any form, or has lived with a parent during the past three years, shall not be considered financially independent and therefore, will not be qualified as a California resident for tuition purposes.


Q: Why should I apply for California residency reclassification?

If you plan to make California your permanent home then you may want to apply for resident reclassification. A nonresident pays tuition and university fees; a California resident pays fees, but no tuition to San Francisco State University.

Please Note: By making California your permanent home you have decided to sever all ties with your previous state of residence.

Applicants 19 years of age or older are eligible for resident status only if they have established and maintained permanent residence in California at least one year prior to the following Residency Determination deadlines:

     Spring Semester - January 25

     Summer Semester - June 1

     Fall Semester - September 20

Example: In order to be eligible for resident status for the Fall 2011 semester, a student would need to establish and document intent and maintain permanent residence since at least September 20, 2010.


Q: When should I submit a reclassification request?

Reclassification requests must be submitted at least 60 to 90 days prior to the first day of instruction for the term in which you will be eligible to apply for California resident status. Requests submitted any later may be considered at the discretion of the Residency Coordinator and may require 10 business days or more to process. A form for reclassification received prior to 90 days before the term begins may be returned to the applicant or held without action until the 90 days come into effect.

A Reclassification Request form can only be used for upcoming terms. There is no retroactive request for a term that has already ended.


Q: How do I get my resident status reclassified?

If you wish to have your resident status reclassified, please submit the Residence Reclassification Request form, and any appropriate supporting documents to the Division of Graduate Studies.

The division of Graduate Studies will review Residency Reclassification requests according to California Code of Regulations.

University requirements for establishing residency are independent from those of other types of residency, such as for tax purposes, or other state or institutional residency. A resident for tuition purposes is someone who meets the requirements set forth in the Uniform Student Residence Requirements. (See California Education Code sections  68000-68090, 68120-68134, and 89705-89707.5, and in title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, Subchapter 5, Article 4, sections 41900-41916)

California Code of Regulations

Because neither campus nor Chancellor's Office staff may give advice on the application of these laws, applicants are strongly urged to review the materials for themselves and perhaps consult with a legal advisor