Use this guide to determine if your nonresident status may be changed to resident status for tuition and fees purposes.
Deadlines to Submit Documentation to Prove Residency
Residency Reclassification Questionnaire and supporting documents
should be submitted prior to the start of the term the student is requesting to be reclassified as a resident.
Definition of Resident and Nonresident for Tuition Purposes
Unless precluded, a “resident” is a student who has been physically present in the state for more than one year immediately preceding the residence determination date (one year and one day) for a term and has demonstrated an intent to make California a permanent home. EC § 68017
A “nonresident” is a student who does not have residency in the state for more than one year immediately preceding the residence determination date for a term. EC § 68018
To establish residency, a student needs to meet the three conditions below, subject to verification by submitting the
Residency Reclassification Questionnaire and supporting documentation. The burden of proof to demonstrate legal status, physical presence, intent to establish residency in California and financial independence is on the student (EC 68041).
Legal Status that permits the establishment of domicile in the United States. Essentially, the student must be a US Citizen, Permanent Resident, eligible Temporary Resident, hold eligible Visa, etc. Legal status must be sustained for at least one year plus one day prior to the start of the term. This date is known as the Residency Determination Date (Title 5 § 54045).
Physical presence is proved by being physically and continuously present in California for one year plus one day prior to the start of the term (the Residency Determination Date). (Title 5 § 54020 and § 54022).
Intent is proven by providing evidence demonstrating intent to make California a permanent home of residence (see "Acceptable Proofs" section below). Taking any of these actions (not an exhaustive list) demonstrates a lack of intent to make California a permanent home of residence: filing taxes in another state as a resident of that state; filing for divorce or a lawsuit in another state; paying resident tuition in another state; voting in another state. Moving to California for educational purposes alone does not grant residency (Education Code, Section 68062(d)).
To establish or change a residence, a person capable of establishing residence must couple their physical presence with objective evidence that the physical presence is with intent to make California the home for other than a temporary purpose. EC §68062(d); Note: Physical presence alone is insufficient; intent alone is insufficient.
Conduct Inconsistent with Claim on California Residency
Some examples include:
- Possessing a driver’s license or state identification, and/or vehicle registration in another state.
- Being a petitioner in a divorce or lawsuit as a resident in another state.
- Attending an out-of-state educational institution as a resident of that state.
- Declaring nonresidence for California income tax purposes.
- Presence in the United States as a citizen of another country with a nonresident visa.
Financial Independence of Continuing Students 19 to 23 Years of Age
A student between 19 and 23 years of age who has been classified as a nonresident continuing student may request reclassification to resident status once the above three conditions have been met. A Residency Reclassification form must be completed, which requires the submission of documents demonstrating financial independence from parents or legal guardians (EC, Section 68044).
Residency Determination Dates & Proofs
Winter 2020 Session: 01/05/2020||01-04-2017 to 01-04-2019|
Spring 2020 Semester: 02/17/2020||02-16-2017 to 02-16-2019|
*All proofs of residency must be dated at least one year and one day prior to the start of the term for which residency is sought. Proofs should be no older than 3 years
Documents Necessary for California Residency
- Documents submitted for consideration must be dated at least one year and one day prior to the Residency Determination Date. Please review the
Residency Questionnaire for examples of the types of documents that may be submitted.
- Santa Monica College reserves the right to request additional documents when those presented do not sufficiently demonstrate legal status, physical presence, intent, financial independence (as relevant) and the “one year plus one day” requirement.
State law authorizes certain eligible students from paying nonresident tuition and fees. However, it does not grant students residence status. Details may be found on our
Non-resident Tuition Exceptions webpage.
Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Holder
Education Code section 68075.6 grants an immediate nonresident tuition fee exemption to eligible Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders and refugee students who settled in California upon 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:
Ira qi citizens or nationals (and their spouses and children) who were employed by or on behalf of the United States Government in Iraq (Pub.L. No. 110-181, § 1244)
Afghan and Iraqi translators (and their spouses and children) who worked directly with the United States Armed Forces (Pub.L. No. 109-163, § 1059)
Afghanistan nationals who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government or in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan (Pub.L. No. 111-8, § 602}
Refugee students admitted to the United States under Section 1157 of Title 8 of the United States Code
Submission of Residency Questionnaire and Documents
- Please submit the completed and signed
Residency Questionnaire and as many documents necessary to prove California residency to Admissions & Records.
Questionnaire and supporting documentation may be emailed to
- Proofs must be scanned and submitted as a PDF document, Use a free app such as
Scannable (for iOS) or
ClearScanner (for Android) to prepare a PDF.
- Documents will be reviewed in the order they are received and may take up to fourteen business days to process. Students are encouraged to submit their documents as early as possible to avoid any delays in processing.
Questions and/or comments may be addressed by emailing