Each student at the time of admission or readmission is classified according to his/her legal residence. Residency determination is made as of the day before the first day of the semester applied for. Students that have been classified as a NON-RESIDENT of California for educational purposes are subject to non-resident tuition. Non-resident students pay both the per unit enrollment fee and the per unit non-resident tuition fee. Out of country non-resident students also pay an additional per unit surcharge. Current non-resident tuition and out-of-country surcharge rates can be found on the Tuition and Fees page.
Residency re-classification must be done in advance of the term for which you wish to be considered for resident tuition.
Eligible students that intend to become residents of California must fulfill both the Physical Presence and Intent requirements listed below. Please note that if you are claimed as a dependent on your parents’ income tax returns filed in a state other than California, you are NOT eligible to establish California residency.
The eligible student must be physically present in the State of California for one (1) year prior to the start of the term for which he/she is applying or enrolling for. The one-year period begins when the student is not only present in California but also has demonstrated clear intent to become a permanent resident of California. Students will be required to provide proof of continuous presence in California for the past (12) months. This may be accomplished by providing a rental/lease agreement, utility bills, employment pay stubs, etc. for the past (12) months in the student's name.
Eligible students must clearly verify intent to make California their permanent place of residency by (no one factor is controlling):
- Living in California for two consecutive years
- Paying California State tax as a resident
- Establishing and maintaining an active California bank account
- Registered to vote in the State of California
- Owning residential property
- Possessing a California ID or Drivers License
Non-resident students that wish to change their status or students that feel they have been classified as non-residents in error will need to apply for re-classification of residency status. To change status, students must complete the Supplemental Residency Questionnaire Form and submit it along with supporting documentation to the Admissions & Records office; incomplete forms will not be accepted.
Supporting documentation consists of three proofs of residency demonstrating physical presence and intent. Two items must be dated at least one year and one day prior to the start of the term for which you are applying for. These items must not be older than two years prior to the start of the term. The third item must show that the student is currently a resident of California.
Examples of acceptable documentation are:
- California Driver's License or California ID
- A resident California Tax Form (540)
- California Vehicle Registration
- Rental/Lease agreement
- Bank Statement
Download and print the Supplemental Residency Questionnaire Form.
Active Duty Military and Veterans
Active duty military, veterans, and their dependents may also qualify for residency or a non-resident tuition exemption. Documentation could include active duty orders, Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), DD214 discharge papers, CalVet Waiver, and/or Certificate of Eligibility.
Students that are in the United States with a visa that allows establishment of residency must fulfill the one year physical presence and intent requirements listed above. Students with a visa that precludes establishment of residency, will be charged the California enrollment fee plus non-resident fees and an out-of-country surcharge. International Student in F-1 visa status must contact the Center for International Student and Programs at Riverside City College to obtain critical admission requirements.
California Non-Resident Tuition Exemption
AB 540 as amended by Education Code section 68130.5
Any student, other than one with a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) nonimmigrant visa status (see exception below for students who have been granted T or U visa status), who meets all of the following requirements, shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges, the University of California, and the California State University (all public colleges and universities in California).
- A student is exempt from paying nonresident tuition if the student meets all of the following four requirements:
- The student must have:
The student must have:
- attended a combination of California high school, adult school, and California Community College for the equivalent of three years or more, or
- attained credits earned in California from a California high school equivalent to three or more years of full-time high school course work and attended a combination of elementary, middle and/or high schools in California for a total of three or more years, and
The student must register as an entering student at, or current enrollment at, an accredited institution of higher education in California, and
The student must file an affidavit with the college or university stating that if the student is a non-citizen without current or valid immigration status, the student has filed an application to legalize immigration status, or will file an application as soon as the student is eligible to do so.
Students who are nonimmigrants who are victims of trafficking, domestic violence, and other serious crimes who have been granted T or U visa status, under Title 8 of the United States Code, sections 1101(a)(15)(T) or (U) are eligible for this exemption.
Students who are nonimmigrants, other than those with T or U visa status as noted above, [for example, those who hold F (student) visas, B (visitor) visas, etc.] are not eligible for this exemption.
A year’s equivalence at a California Community College is a minimum of 24 semester units of credit or 36 quarter units of credit. For noncredit courses, a year’s attendance is a minimum of 420 hours, 210 hours for a semester, and 140 hours a quarter.
The accumulation of credit and/or non-credit in any academic year shall be calculated in reference to a year’s equivalence. Partial completion in an academic year is allowed. (Example: 12 units of credit courses in an academic year is equal to a semester for purposes of determining eligibility.)
Attendance in credit courses at a California Community College towards the attendance requirements shall not exceed two years of full-time attendance.
The student must file an exemption request including a signed affidavit with the college that indicates the student has met all applicable conditions described above. Student information obtained in this process is strictly confidential unless disclosure is required under law.
Students eligible for this exemption who are transferring to another California public college or university must submit a new request (and documentation if required) to each college under consideration.
Nonresident students meeting the criteria will be exempted from the payment of nonresident tuition, but they will not be classified as California residents. They continue to be "nonresidents".
The California Dream Act extends Cal Grant A and B Entitlement awards, Cal Grant C awards, the California Promise Grant (formerly known as the BOG fee waiver), Chaffee grants, and institutional financial aid to students that meet these criteria as well as the applicable criteria for eligibility for specific types of financial aid. Refer to Student Financial Services' California Dream Act page for additional information.
AB540 does not provide federal student financial aid eligibility for undocumented students. These students remain ineligible for federal financial aid.
Exemption is not available for persons who are absent from California, but who are taking distance education classes.
Download and print the Non-Resident Tuition Exemption Request Form
- graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of the term (for example, passing the GED or California High School Proficiency exam), or
- completed an associate degree from a California Community College, or
- completed the minimum requirements at a California Community College for transfer to the California State University or the University of California, and
Students who are U.S. citizens and who may presently reside in a foreign country will be exempt from nonresident tuition by meeting the following requirements:
- Demonstrates a financial need for the exemption.
- Has a parent or guardian who has been deported or was permitted to depart voluntarily under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act.
- Moved abroad as a result of the deportation or voluntary departure.
- Lived in California immediately before moving abroad.
- Attended a public or private secondary school in California for three or more years.
- Upon enrollment, will be in his or her first academic year as a matriculated student in California public higher education.
- Will be living in California and will file an affidavit with the community college stating that he or she intends to establish residency in California as soon as possible.
Documentation shall be provided by the student as required by statute as specified in Ed Code section 76140(a)(5).
Download and print the SB 141 Non-Resident Waiver Form
AB 343 Nonresident Tuition Exemptions for Refugees with Special Immigrant Visas
In 2017, the California Legislature also enacted Assembly Bill 343, which establishes a new exemption from nonresident tuition for refugees with special immigrant visas (SIVs) who have fled Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or other countries.
Effective January 1, 2018, Education Code section 68075.6 grants an exemption to nonresident tuition for: (1) Iraqi citizens or nationals (and their spouses and children) who were employed by or on behalf of the United States Government in Iraq, and who meet certain criteria (Public Law 110-181, § 1244); (2) translators (and their spouses and children) who worked directly with the United States Armed Forces, and who meet certain criteria (Public Law 109-163, § 1059); and (3) refugees (Title 8 U.S.C. § 1157). These exemptions only apply to those who settled in California upon entering the United States. Students who settled elsewhere in the United States, and then moved to California would not be eligible for this exemption and would be required to either establish residency or pay nonresident tuition. Under Education Code section 68122, T and U visa holders are also exempt from nonresident tuition by extension of Assembly Bill 343.
Assembly Bill 343 also states that the exemption for a student is only available for the maximum time it would take for the student to establish residency. That time, and therefore any nonresident tuition exemption, will expire one year from the date the student settled in California upon entering the United States. (Ed. Code, § 68017.) Upon expiration of the nonresident tuition exemption, the student will either have established residency in California, or will have an intention to reside elsewhere, and be subject to nonresident tuition.