Residency Overview

California state law requires that residency classifications shall be determined for tuition purposes for each student at the time application for admission is received. An application must be submitted by new and returning students (did not attend for 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. – California Education Code, Sections 68000-70902.

Residency Requirements

To be eligible for in-state tuition, students must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident or hold a qualifying Visa Type and demonstrate the following:

  • Physical Presence: You must have been physically present in California for one year and one day prior to the start of the term you wish to be classified as a California Resident (Title 5 § 54020 and § 54022).
  • Intent to make California your home for other than a temporary purpose for one year and one day prior to the start of the term. (Ed. Code § 68041; Cal. Code Regs., Title 5 § 54024)

It is the student’s responsibility to clearly demonstrate both physical presence in California and intent to establish California residence.

Changing Your Residency Status

You can request to change your residency status from Non-Resident to Resident by submitting the Residency Reclassification Questionnaire.  

Residency Determination Information

A student over 19 years of age may establish California residency by meeting the following criteria:

A minimum of two documents/proofs is required for residency reclassification consideration. It is the student’s responsibility to clearly demonstrate both physical presence in California and intent to establish California residence. All official documents presented must be valid, readable, dated at least one year and one day prior to the residence determination date, and be properly identified with respect to the student’s name and California address. Admissions and Records office reserves the right to request additional documentation in its efforts to determine CA Residency for tuition purposes.

List of Acceptable Documents/Proofs:

  1. California-issued Identification:
    • Current California driver’s license or Department of Motor Vehicles documentation of California driver’s license
    • OR

    • California Identification card
  2. California Motor Vehicle Registration Certificate
  3. Establishing and maintaining active California bank accounts – Two months of bank statement with California address with same account number is required to validate one year and one day physical presence
  4. Records of Income:
    • Documentation of employment – Two months of Pay Stub to validate one year and one day OR
    • Typed and signed letter from employer on company letterhead with employment start date OR
    • California State Income Tax Form 540 or 540A OR
    • Federal Income Tax Form 1040A or 1040EZ from previous year with California address

    Note: Additional documentation may be required if the end of the tax year does not fall one year and one day prior to the residency determination date.

  5. Verification of California Voter Registration Card
  6. Own residential property or continuously occupy rented or leased property in California
  7. Licensing from California for professional practice
  8. Maintaining permanent military address or home of record of California while in armed forces – DD214
  9. Documentation of the student as a California resident having received rehabilitation, unemployment, welfare, or other State Services – service receipts or agreements of certification by the appropriate agency showing the student as recipient
  10. Petition for a divorce as a California resident
  1. A married student under 18 years of age may establish residency in the same manner as an adult.
  2. An unmarried student under 18 years of age derives residency from the parent with whom he/she last resided. The student may be classified as a resident if the parent with whom he/she last resided has been a legal resident of California for more than one year immediately preceding the semester of admission.

Financial Independence (reclassification): Under Title V of the California Code of Regulations §54032, a student seeking reclassification as a resident, who was classified as a non-resident in the preceding term, shall be determined financially independent or dependent in accordance with California Education Code §68044 which requires that the financial independence to be included in the factors considered in determination of residence reclassification.

Any student claiming application of the self-supporting exception pursuant to Education Code §68071 shall provide evidence such as: documentation, including W-2 forms or a letter from the employer, showing earnings for the year immediately preceding the residence determination date of attendance, a statement that the student has actually been present in California and a statement showing all expenses during residency determination period.

This means you must have supported yourself with your own resources (employment, commercial/institutional loans in your name only, financial aid, and savings from earnings, all of which require official documentation) for one full year prior to the residence determination date.

You also must not be claimed as an income tax dependent by any individual for the tax year immediately preceding the term for which a resident classification is sought.

The financial independence requirement will not be a factor in the residence determination if you meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • You are married or a registered domestic partner
  • You are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces
  • You are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • You have a legal dependent, other than a spouse or registered domestic partner
  • You are or were a ward of the court, foster youth, or both parents are deceased
  • You were declared by a court to be an emancipated minor
  • You have been determined to be an unaccompanied youth who was homeless pursuant to federal financial aid rules
  • You reached the age of majority (18) in California while your parents were California residents for tuition purposes and your California resident parents left the state to establish a residence elsewhere, and you continued to reside in California after your parents’ departures.

In order to meet residency requirements, you (as a student) and, in some cases, your parents must have the legal ability to establish a permanent domicile in the United States. As such, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident (“green card” holder)
  • OR

  • Hold a valid, qualifying nonimmigrant visa (or other eligible immigration status such as asylee or refugee status)

If you are in an eligible immigration status for establishing residency for tuition purposes, you must be in that status and present in California on a continuous basis for at least one year and one day prior to the first day of instruction of the term for which a residence classification is sought. You must maintain an eligible immigration status in order to continue paying the in-state tuition.

If you are an undergraduate student under the age of 24 who is not financially independent, you and at least one of your parents must be in an eligible immigration status AND meet all other residency requirements in order to be considered a California resident for tuition purposes.

Note: There are exemptions for specific instances (for example, AB 540 and T/U visa holders)

A student classified as a non-resident will be required to pay tuition at the time of enrollment.

Non-immigrants precluded by the Immigration and Nationality Act from establishing residency in the United States include, but may not be limited to, those with B-1, B-2, C, D-1, D-2, F-1, F-2, H-2, H-3, J-1, J-2, M-1, M-2, O-2, P-1, P-2, P-3, P-4, Q, TN and TD visas and their dependents. Any student not holding a valid visa is precluded from establishing California residence.

Non-immigrants who hold a valid visa may be classified as residents if they meet the requirements of State law.

Information regarding non-resident tuition fees and refunds may be found in the “Fees/Refund Policy” section of this Catalog.

Incorrect Classification:

Non-resident students enrolled without payment of fees because of falsification of information shall be excluded from classes upon notification pending payment of fees. Written notification may be given at any time. Students excluded because of falsification shall not be readmitted during the semester or summer session from which they were excluded, nor shall they be admitted to any following semester or summer session until all previously incurred tuition obligations are paid.

If a student is erroneously determined to be a non-resident and a tuition fee has been paid, the fee is fully refundable, provided acceptable proof of state residence is presented within the period for which the fee was paid.


Reclassification to resident status must be requested by the student. Financial independence during the current year and preceding two years will be considered at the time the student requests reclassification.

Participation as a member of a varsity athletic team does not qualify a non-resident student for resident status.

If this summary of rules regarding residency determination does not provide a complete explanation, contact the Office of Admissions and Records. Students should also note that changes may have been made in the statutes and in the regulations between the time this statement is published and the beginning of the semester for which they are applying.


In some cases, students who do not meet the residency requirements may be eligible for a non-resident supplemental tuition exemption. Depending on the exemption, you may be considered a resident, but you are required to file an affidavit or documents. These exemptions remain in effect as long as the student is in continuous attendance.

Non-resident students who have completed three years of high school in California and graduated in California (or equivalency) may qualify for a waiver of non-resident fees by filing the California Non-resident Tuition Exemption (AB 540) form. *This exemption is not available for persons who are absent from California and are taking distance education classes.

Non-resident students who are a US citizen, permanent resident, DACA, or are an alien without lawful immigration status (undocumented) are eligible to apply.

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.

Requirement 1: Attendance at California Schools

  • Total attendance (or attainment of credits earned) in California equivalent to three or more years of full-time attendance at California high schools, California adult schools, campuses of the California Community Colleges, or a combination of these; OR
  • Three or more years of full-time high school coursework in California, and a total of three or more years of attendance in California elementary schools and/or California secondary schools.
Full-Time Attendance Measures:
Education Type 1 Full-Time Year 3 Full-Time Years
High School 55 Credits 165 Credits
Adult School 420 Class Hours 1260 Class Hours
Community College Credit Classes

24 Semester Units or

36 Quarter Units

72 Semester Units or

108 Quarter Units
Community College Non‑Credit Classes 420 Class Hours 1260 Class Hours

Requirement 2: Completion of a Course of Study

  • Graduation from a California high school or equivalent; OR
  • Attainment of an associate degree from a California community college; OR
  • Fulfillment of the minimum transfer requirements established for the University of California or the California State University for students transferring from a California community college

Requirement 3: Registration

Students must register as an entering student at, or current enrollment at, an accredited institution of higher education in California.

Requirement 4: Affidavit of student without lawful immigration status

Students without lawful immigration status must file an affidavit with their college or university stating that the student has either filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so. (Ed. Code, § 68130.5, subd. (a)(4).)

The affidavit is available on the Skyline College Student Forms page.

California Veteran Tuition Exemption

(Eligible Veterans and Dependents who reside in California. Reference: 38 U.S. Code §3679 and CA ED Code §78075.78)

To be completed if you, your spouse or parent is a member or a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. Effective August 01, 2021 covered individuals under title 7, section 702 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act (VACA H.R. 3230) and their qualified dependents who begin attending an institution of higher learning located in the same state they reside may qualify for an exemption of non-resident fees.

  • Students who are eligible to receive Montgomery GI bill active duty/or post 9/11 benefits.
  • An individual eligible for transferred Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits while the transferor is on active duty who resides in California (regardless of his/her formal state of residence).
  • Children and surviving spouses of service members who died in the line of duty while on active duty and receive benefits under the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (provides Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to the spouse/children)
  • For purposes of this section, “Armed Forces of the United States” means the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, and the reserve components of each of those forces, the California National Guard, the California State Military Reserve, and the California Naval Militia. If that member of the armed forces of the United States who is in attendance at an institution is thereafter transferred on military orders to a place outside this state where the member continues to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States, he or she shall not lose his or her resident classification so long as he or she remains continuously enrolled at that community college.
  • Beginning August 1, 2022, surviving dependents who are using Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) benefits.

Required documents to establish eligibility:

  1. VA Certificate of Eligibility (or)
    VA E-benefits education page
    Note: Must provide certificate of eligibility that have not exhausted eligibility and will be using the covered benefit towards tuition and fees.
  2. Copy of the Transfer of Entitlement approval form (Eligible spouse or dependent)
  3. Servicemember’s Death Certificate

Must provide evidence of living in California (copy of California ID or Driver’s License).

Education Code section 68085 also permits the California Community colleges, and other California public postsecondary segments, to classify a foster youth student as a resident for tuition purposes until he or she has resided in the state for the minimum time needed to become a resident, if the student meets the following requirements:

  1. Currently resides in California
  2. Is 19 years of age or younger
  3. Is currently a dependent or ward of the state through California’s child welfare system, or was served by this system and is no longer being served either due to emancipation or aging out of the system

Acceptable supporting documentation:

  • Ward of the court letter
  • Proof of Dependency card
  • Verification letter from Case Manager

Note: The documentation should include “Youth Name,” “Date of Birth,” “Current Mailing Address and ILP Contact Number,” “County Identification Number” or “Probation Identification Number,” and “Dependency/Wardship Start Date.”

Students who are full-time employee of an institution or state agency, or unmarried dependent child or spouse of full-time employee of an institution or state agency who is assigned to work outside of California may be eligible for a waiver of non-resident tuition fees until they have resided in California for the minimum time necessary to become a resident. (Ed. Code, § 68079.)

The term “institution” refers to any university or college of the California State University or Colleges (including the California Maritime Academy), the University of California, or any California Community College.

For purposes of this section, “employee of any state agency” means a person employed by the state on or after the residency determination date, who is assigned to work outside of the state.

Team USA Student Athletes: AB2747 (Nazarian) Public postsecondary education

The purpose of this bill is to ensure a Team USA athlete who is currently residing in California for purposes of Olympic training will be exempt from the payment of the nonresident tuition fee. This bill provides resident classification (in-state tuition) to any Team USA student athlete, as defined, who trains in California in an elite level program approved by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. This bill requires the student athlete to certify their participation in an Olympic or Paralympic elite level training program through supporting documentation from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and to submit that documentation to the campus Registrar.

Peace Officer (or) Police Academy Training Courses

An individual who has been hired by a California Public Peace Officer agency for the purpose of completing Police Academy training courses at a community college may qualify for in-state tuition.

Written assurance is needed from the agency stating that it intends to classify the student as a Peace Officer upon successful completion of the police academy training course.

Homeless Youth:

Homeless Youth under 25 years of age, who has been verified at any time during the 24 months immediately preceding the receipt of his or her application for admissions by a postsecondary educational institution that is a qualifying institution pursuant to Section 69432.7, as a homeless child or youth, as defined in subsection (2) of Section 725 of the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 11434a(2)) may qualify for in-state tuition.

Seasonal Agriculture labor (Title 5 Section 54048)

A student claiming residence shall provide either (a) or (b):

(a) Evidence that the student's parent with whom the student is living earns a livelihood primarily by performing agricultural labor for hire in California and other states and has performed such labor in California for at least two months in each of the preceding two years, and that the parent lives within the district. If the parent of such student had sufficient income to incur personal income tax liability for federal and/or state purposes, proof that the student was claimed as a dependent on federal or state personal income tax returns shall also be required.

(b) Evidence showing the student himself or herself earns a livelihood primarily by performing agricultural labor for hire in California and other states and that such labor has been performed in California for at least two months in each of the preceding two years.

As used in this section agricultural labor for hire means seasonal employment in connection with actual production of agricultural crops, including seeding, thinning and harvesting.

US Citizen who currently resides in a foreign country

Pursuant to SB 141, U.S. citizen and who resides in a foreign country may qualify for exempt from non-resident tuition if that student meets ALL of 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 Education Code section 76140(a)(5).

September 11 Terrorist attack victims

A dependent who is the surviving child, natural or adopted, of an individual who passed away in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon building in Washington, DC, or the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in southwestern Pennsylvania may be eligible for in-state tuition under this section until that person obtains the age of 30 years.

A qualifying dependent or the individual who passed away in the attacks must have been a resident of California on September 11, 2001.

COVID exemption

A student who is a surviving spouse or child of a deceased person who met all the following requirements may qualify for in-state tuition fees.

  • The deceased person was a resident of California
  • The deceased person was a licensed physician or a licensed nurse employed by or under contract with a health facility regulated and licensed by the California State Department of Public Health to provide medical services or a first responder employed to provide emergency services.
  • The deceased person’s principal duties consisted of providing medical services or emergency services during the COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency.
  • The deceased person died of COVID-19 during the COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency.

Special Immigrant Visa (SIV)

Education Code section 68075.6 grants an exemption to non-resident tuition for Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders and refugee students who settled in California after entering the United States. This exemption is granted for one year from the date the student settled in California upon entering the United States.

This exemption applies to the following:

  1. Iraqi citizens or nationals (and their spouses and children) who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. Government in Iraq (Pub.L. No. 110-181, § 1244).
  2. Afghan and Iraqi translators (and their spouses and children) who worked directly with the United States Armed Forces (Publ.L. No. 109-163, § 1059).
  3. Afghanistan nationals who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. Government or in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan (Publ.L. No. 111-8, § 602).
  4. Refugee students admitted to the United States under Section 1157 of Title 8 of the United States Code.