A student seeking to pay in-state tuition at a California State University campus as a first-time freshman, transfer, or as a post-baccalaureate/graduate student must have an
eligible immigration status to establish residency, meet
physical presence by the Residence Determination Date, and demonstrate
intent to indefinitely remain in the state of California for more than one year immediately preceding the Residence Determination Date. If the student is under the age of 19 (with limited
exceptions), the student's residence status is derived from the parent's or from that of the legal guardian.
If you are classified as a nonresident (out-of-state), your tuition rate is higher than those classified as residents (in-state). If you are a California resident and believe you have been classified incorrectly, please submit the
Residence Questionnaire to the campus Admissions Office.
A student seeking to pay in-state tuition at a California State University campus as a first-time freshman, transfer, or post-baccalaureate/graduate student must have an eligible immigration status to establish residency. Therefore, the student must be a United States citizen, a permanent resident (Green Card holder), or hold an eligible visa status (see list). If a student does not qualify as a California resident, the student may be eligible for certain exceptions and exemptions.
Nonimmigrant Statuses and Other Categories that are Eligible to Establish California Residency for Tuition Purposes
The Immigration and Nationality Act allows individuals of certain nonimmigrant statuses to establish permanent residency in the United States. Therefore, they are entitled to establish California residency for tuition purposes. Students must hold an eligible visa status at least one year before the Residence Determination Date to be eligible to establish California residency for tuition purposes. Review the
Nonimmigrant list for a complete list of eligible visas and other eligible categories.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
Students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) are also eligible to establish residency for tuition purposes. Also, students adjusting their immigration status, such as asylum, may qualify for residency depending on where they are in the application process.
California Nonresident Tuition Exemption (AB 540 Exemption)
Nonresident students (including US citizens, permanent residents, and undocumented individuals, including students with a T visa U visa, DACA, or TPS) may be exempted from paying nonresident tuition. Students seeking the AB 540 Exemption must satisfy attendance and graduation/transfer requirements from a California school (e.g., K-12, adult school, and community college).
The California Dream Act allows certain students who have been granted the AB 540 Exemption to qualify for California financial aid. Students wanting to be eligible for the California Dream Act must have an AB 540 Exemption affidavit on file and remain classified as nonresidents. It is encouraged for students, particularly students with DACA or TPS, to review the eligibility requirements and seek financial aid advice from the campus Financial Aid Office to learn more about the California Dream Act.
International Students With an F-1 or J-1 Visa
Most nonimmigrant visa holders, such as an F-1 or J-1 visa holders, are not eligible to establish California residency for tuition purposes. Students with a visa or without an immigration status should contact the campus Admissions Office.
B-1/B-2 Visitors Who Want to Enroll in a CSU
According to federal regulations
8 CFR § 214.2(b), B-1 and B-2 visas are "visitors" visas. Nonimmigrant visas permit individuals to enter the United States
temporarily for business (B-1) or pleasure or medical treatment (B-2). These nonimmigrant visas generally allow an individual to enter the US for a short period of time, generally no longer than six months.
B-1 and B-2 visa holders
are prohibited from enrolling in the course of study at a US Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school. Enrolling in the course of study constitutes a violation of the individual's B-1 or B-2 status and has serious consequences for the individual, even including possible deportation/removal.
If you are a B visa holder interested in attending a California State University campus, you should consult with an immigration attorney to discuss your specific situation and the options available to you. The following providers may be able to provide you with a confidential consultation,
Immigrant Legal Defense,
Central American Resource Center,
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, and
Jewish Family Service of San Diego.
If you have an expired visa, please refer to the Undocumented Students section.
Physical Presence: The student or parent/guardian must be physically present in California for more than one year immediately preceding the Residence Determination Date in which enrollment is contemplated.
For example, if a student plans to attend the CSU for the Fall 2022 academic term, and the Residence Determination Date for that term is September 20, 2022, the student must establish physical presence in California no later than September 19, 2021.
For example, if a student plans to attend the CSU for the Spring 2023 term (semester campus), and the Residence Determination Date for that term is January 25, 2023, the student must establish physical presence in California no later than January 24, 2022.
Intent: California law stipulates the burden of proof rests with the student, and merely living in California for a year does not support a claim for residency for tuition purposes. The student, or in some cases a parent or legal guardian, must demonstrate intent to remain indefinitely in the state for more than one year immediately preceding the Residence Determination Date (RDD) and sever all residential ties with the former state or country of residence. If the student is under the age of 19, the student's residence status is derived from that of the parent or legal guardian unless an exception applies. There must be sufficient documentation to demonstrate that intent was established more than one year (a minimum of one year and one day) before the Residence Determination Date.
Documents must include the student's name, the student's California address, and a date at least one year and one day prior or on the RDD for the term. For example, if the student plans to submit a copy of their driver's license as evidence that they meet residency requirements, the driver's license must be dated before or on September 19, 2021, to meet residency requirements for Fall 2022.
For students under the age of 19, documents must be in the parent or legal guardian's name unless a limited exception applies. Also, a parent or legal guardian's immigration status does not preclude a student from establishing residency; therefore, the parent or legal guardian is not required to provide any immigration documents to demonstrate intent.
A minimum of three documents is required. At least one document must be from list A, and the remaining documents may be selected from either List A or List B.
Options to meet the requirement:
Please note: The campus residency specialist may require additional documents in addition to the documents listed in List A and B to determine the residence status.
Actions and/or documents that show residential ties to a State or country other than California may cause a denial of residency.
For more information about an initial residency classification in California, see California Education Code Section 68017 and California Code of Regulations Title 5, Sections 41904 and 41905.
A student classified as a nonresident for a prior term may seek reclassification in any subsequent term; however, reclassification requires that, in addition to satisfying the requirements of eligible immigration status,
physical presence, and intent to remain indefinitely in the state, the student must also satisfy the requirement of financial independence as outlined in Title 5 CCR § 41905.5. The student must contact the appropriate person in the campus admissions office, complete the approved Residence Questionnaire Form, and provide supporting documents.
Reclassification: Financial Independence Requirement
Note: Students who receive a government scholarship and/or financial assistance should be viewed the same as state and federal financial aid, and athletics grants-is-aid; and should not be counted as parental support.
Effective Fall 2020 academic term, if the student meets at least one of the following criteria, the student does not have to meet the financial independence requirement. Student must provide the campus admissions office supporting documents (e.g., state income tax returns, court documents, marriage certificate, military order form) that demonstrate they meet the criteria.
Example 1: If a student married in 2022, in order to meet the financial independence criteria, the student must have been married by September 20, 2022 (Fall Residence Determination Date). Document required: Marriage certificate.
Example 2: If a student turned 24 years of age in 2022, the student must turn 24 by September 20, 2022 (Fall Residence Determination Date. Documents required: California ID/Driver's license.
Example 3: If the student is dependent of California residents, the parents must reside in California by September 19, 2021, in order to meet the requirement of more than one year immediately preceding the residence determination date requirement for Fall 2022. Optional documents required: CA tax return, CA Identification Card/Driver's license.
Students financially dependent on nonresident parents are not eligible for reclassification. As with the initial residence classification, the campus must review the information presented by the student in connection with any subsequent reclassification request and notify the student of its decision. If reclassification is denied, the student has the right to appeal if they meet the criteria for appeals.