California state law requires that public colleges determine residency classifications for tuition purposes at the time applications for admission are received by new and returning students (did not attend three consecutive semesters). The burden is on the student to demonstrate clearly, with proof, both physical presence in California and intent to establish California residence.
Physical presence is defined as being continuously physically present in the State of California for one year and one day prior to the start of the term for which a student wishes to be classified as a resident student. This requirement includes actions taken during the summer. Intent is demonstrated by relinquishing all legal ties to the former home state and establishing strong evidence that California has become the student’s permanent home.
Exceptions may be considered, but students must be able to demonstrate that they have been financially independent of their parents for two years or more. Students who earn their livelihood by performing agricultural labor for hire must perform such labor in the State of California for at least two years.
How to Prove Residency in California?
In determining California residency, the state looks at your intent and the number of days you spend in the state. While there is a presumption that you’re a resident if you stay in California for more than six months, the FTB considers this only one factor. Other factors include physical presence, establishing ties to the state, and transferring key records, including bank, IRS, and USPS data.
In addition to establishing a permanent address, you must also get a driver’s license and transfer other official documents. You should also register to vote, establish banking and financial ties, and enroll in local and state programs. These steps will help you establish residency and prove that you are a California resident for tuition purposes.
To qualify for in-state tuition, you must demonstrate that you have relinquished all legal ties to your former state and intend to make California your home permanently. You must also meet all the residency requirements listed on your admission letter. You’ll be charged non-resident tuition if you don’t satisfy these requirements.
California Residency Requirements for Non-resident
California residency rules are notoriously difficult to grasp, and even for the most honest people, it’s easy to make a mistake that triggers an audit. This is particularly true for those who spend time in the state on a seasonal basis, such as those from wintry states who are known as “snowbirds.”
In order to establish residency, you must demonstrate a union of act and intent. This requires physical presence in the state and a showing of intent to make California your permanent home. The intent requirement can be demonstrated in several ways, including establishing a place of residence, keeping your California address on all records, voting in California elections, and maintaining a bank account in the state.
The evidence you use to prove residency can include:
- A rental/lease agreement.
- Utility bills.
- Employment pay stubs.
- Credit or debit card receipts.
Students who have been in the military and/or are a dependent of an active duty service member may also be able to submit their Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), DD214 discharge papers, or CalVet Waiver.