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How to Apply - Residency

The laws of California require every student attending the California State University to be classified as either a resident or nonresident for tuition fee purposes. Residency is based on age, physical presence, intent, and financial independence. State requirements to establish residency for tuition purposes are independent from those of other types of residency, such as for tax purposes, jury duty or other state or institutional residency. These regulations were promulgated not to determine whether a student is a resident or nonresident of California, but rather to determine whether a student should pay University fees on an in-state or out-of- state basis. A resident for tuition purposes is someone who meets the requirements set forth in the California Educational Code, Section 68000-68084 and 68120-68134, and Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, sections 41901-41916. A Residence Determination Date is set for each academic term and is the date from which residence is determined. Residency is determined after the student has been accepted for admission, or upon request for a residency reclassification.

Residence Determination Date

Fall September 20th
Spring January 25th
Summer June 1st

Adult Students

Adult students (students who are 19 years old by the Residence Determination Date for the semester to which the student is applying) may establish their own residency for tuition purposes in California if they are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or other immigrant; or someone in nonimmigrant status who is not precluded from establishing a domicile in the U.S. The student must establish clear evidence of intent to abandon the derived residence of their out-of-state parent(s) and adopt a new residence. A married person will establish his or her residency independent of his or her spouse.

Minor Students

Minor unmarried students (students who are less than 19 years old by the Residence Determination Date) derive their legal residency from the natural parent or adoptive parent with whom the minor maintains, or last maintained, his or her place of abode. The residence of a minor cannot be changed by the minor's own act, by the appointment of a legal guardian, or by the relinquishment of a parent's right of control as long as the minor's parents are still living. That parent must be a California resident, as established by the California Education Code, for at least one year immediately prior to the residence determination date for the minor to qualify for California residency for tuition purposes.

Non-U.S. Citizens

A non-U.S. citizen may establish residency unless precluded by the Immigration and Nationality Act from establishing a domicile in the United States. An unmarried minor derives his or her residence from their natural or adoptive parents. A non-U.S. citizen adult may establish his or her own residence based on established guidelines and timelines.

Establishing Residency

To be classified as a resident for tuition purposes, a student (or parent in the case of a minor), must demonstrate the following one year immediately prior to the Residence Determination Date.

  1. Physical Presence. The student must establish a physical presence in California more than one year immediately prior to the Residence Determination Date of the term for which classification as a resident is requested. Failure to do so will result in a determination of non-resident.
  2. Intent. The student must demonstrate through objective documentation that their physical presence was coupled with the intent to make California their permanent home. Evidence of intent must be in place one year immediately prior to the Residence Determination Date. Intent is an independent element of residence, and is demonstrated by establishing residential ties in California, and relinquishing ties to the former place of residence. Physical presence within California solely for educational purposes does not constitute establishment of California residence. Proofs of intent must be in place one year prior to the Residence Determination Date, and can include, but are not limited to:
    1. Registering to vote and voting in California.
    2. Registering a motor vehicle owned or operated in California.
    3. Obtaining a California driver's license or ID card.
    4. Filing a resident or nonresident state personal income tax return.
    5. Establishing a permanent residence in California.
    6. Maintaining an active bank account with a bank with a California branch.
    7. Licensing from the state for professional practice.
    8. Listing a permanent California address on home of record, or other military records.
    9. Maintaining active resident memberships in professional organizations.
  3. Financial Independence. In the case of a residency reclassification request, the campus must also consider whether the student has been financially dependent on non-resident parents within the last three years as defined in 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 lived with a parent during the past three years shall not be considered financially independent and therefore, cannot meet the core requirement of demonstrated financial independence necessary to qualify for reclassification from nonresident to resident.

The burden of proof of residency rests solely with the student. Students from whom additional information is required will be contacted by letter or email with further instructions. Students who do not qualify as California residents for tuition purposes will be notified in writing and given the opportunity to appeal to the California State University Chancellor's Office.

Residency Reclassification

A student who has been classified as a nonresident may seek reclassification for any subsequent term. The student must complete the CSU Residency Reclassification Request Form, and submit the form at the Student Services Building, window 1 or mail them to Undergraduate Admissions, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132. Residency reclassification requests take approximately three to four weeks for processing. Students are encouraged to apply during the semester prior to the requested reclassification term. Processing of applications submitted during the requested semester may not be processed in time to avoid non-resident tuition fees from being assessed. Until a decision is made, students will remain classified as non-residents and are responsible for on-time payment of nonresident fees. In addition to the Residency Reclassification Request Form, students must also submit copies of the following supporting documentation:

  • Most current state driver's license or ID card.
  • Most current state voter registration.
  • Most current state vehicle registration for cars owned or operated in California.
  • Most current state and federal tax returns, with W-2s for last tax year.
  • Proof of bank accounts with a branch located within California and date opened.
  • Last three years federal income tax returns for parents (only page 1 of Form 1040 needed for each year).

Students may be asked to provide other documentation to clarify or verify their application for reclassification. Failure to provide these documents, or Residency Reclassification Forms submitted with incomplete information, will significantly delay the reclassification process, and may result in a denial of reclassification.

Residence Reclassification Submission Date

Fall March 1st
Spring September 15th
Summer February 1st

Students denied for reclassification will be notified by letter and have the right to appeal to the California State University Chancellor's Office within 120 days of notification by writing to:

The California State University
Office of General Counsel
401 Golden Shore, 4th Floor
Long Beach, California 90802-4210

Students approved for reclassification are advised that approval may affect financial aid disbursement or awards and may result in the need for repayment of funds already received. Contact the Financial Aid Office at (415)338-7000 for specific details.

Exception/Exemption from non-resident tuition fees

You may be eligible for an exception from paying non-resident tuition fees if you fall into one of the categories below.

  • If you are a teacher
  • Active duty military service member
  • CSU staff member
  • If you have attended a California high school for three or more years AND you’ve graduated from a California high school (AB 540)
  • If you have 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 school in California for three or more years, AND you’ve graduated from a California high school (AB 2000)
  • Those that hold non-immigrant visas are not eligible for the non-resident exemption, with the exception of those holding T or U visas

Contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for more information. You may also contact the Admissions Office with questions concerning residency issues not covered here.

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