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Ten things graduate students need to know

  1. Upon admittance to the University of California, you must first complete a Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). Your resident or nonresident classification is determined for purposes of tuition only after you have completed and submitted a Statement of Legal Residence (SLR) to the campus residence deputy.

  2. You normally cannot establish California residence for purposes of tuition while maintaining legal ties to another state or country (e.g. state tax liability, driver’s license, voter’s or vehicle registration). These documents are seen as indicators of your intent to stay in California, and must obtained concurrently with the start of your physical presence in California. Learn more about how to establish residency.

  3. The term “California resident for purposes of tuition” comes from the university’s residence regulations and differs from other definitions of California residence. For example, a person who is a California resident for tax or voting purposes will not necessarily be a resident at the university for purposes of tuition. Admissions definitions of residence also differ. They do not confer residence for purposes of tuition.

  4. You do not become a resident for purposes of tuition simply by living in California for 366 days or more, even if you are in a Master’s or Ph.D. program. The length of time you attend the University of California or live in California is not the sole determining factor of residence.

  5. If you are in possession of a nonimmigrant visa, it is unlikely that you will be able to establish residence in California for purposes of tuition. (For more about these visa types, see who's not eligible.)

  6. The UC residence regulations require that you document the following:

    • At least 366 days of physical presence in California, and
    • Concurrent intent to permanently remain in the state.
  7. Graduate students are presumed to be financially independent for purposes of residency unless they were claimed as a dependent on their parents' federal tax return for the most recent tax year.

    Graduate student instructors, teaching or research assistants, or teaching associates employed 49% time or more (or awarded the equivalent in university-administered funds, e.g., grants, stipends, fellowships) in the term for which resident classification is sought may be exempted from the financial independence requirement.

  8. Nonresident graduate students who wish to apply for a resident classification for an ensuing term must submit a Petition for Resident Classification to the campus residence deputy within the deadline for that term.

  9. It is your burden to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that you have satisfied all applicable UC residence requirements. Financial hardship cannot be considered in evaluating whether you are able to qualify for California residence for purposes of tuition. 

  10. This is only a summary of the main UC regulations for California residence for purposes of tuition. For more detail, please refer to the full UC Residence Policy and Guidelines (pdf).

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