Establishing Residency

Generally, establishing residence in California for tuition purposes requires a combination of both physical presence and intent to remain.

Responses on the Cal State Apply application and if needed, the Residence Questionnaire are used in making this determination.

An adult student must have established and maintained permanent residence in California at least one year prior to the residence determination date to show intent of becoming a California resident.

A minor derives residence from the custodial parent or the parent with whom the minor child most recently resided.

A student in the National Student Exchange Program (NSE) cannot become a resident until they have left the program and then lived in California for one year or more as an independent, self-supporting student.

Residence Determination Dates

Quarter Calendar:
Quarter Date
Fall September 20
Winter January 5
Spring April 1
Summer July 1

Evidence demonstrating intent will vary from case to case but shall include, and is not limited to: 

  • The absence of residential ties to any other state.
  • California Driver's License or California Identification card.
  • California vehicle registration.
  • Filing California income tax returns.
  • California voter registration and voting in California elections.
  • Active California bank accounts.
  • Owning, leasing, or renting California residential property where permanent belongings are kept.
  • Maintaining active membership in California professional or social organizations.
  • Maintaining a permanent military address and home of record in California.

Noncitizens establish residence in the same manner as citizens unless precluded by federal law from establishing domicile in the United States.

Students may submit their residence information electronically to the appropriate Residence Specialist, as specified below, fax to (909) 537-7034, or mail to:

California State University, San Bernardino
Office of Admissions and Student Recruitment
5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407

Exceptions to the General Rules

If a student does not qualify as a California resident, there are certain exceptions that may allow a student to qualify as a resident for tuition purposes. To qualify for these exceptions, the student must be legally capable of establishing residence in the United States and satisfy the exception requirements on the residence determination date for the term in question (not one year prior).

The following are exceptions applicable to students legally capable of establishing residence:

  1. Dependent of a California resident.
  2. AB 540 eligible students.
  3. Graduate of a California school operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  4. Employees of the CSU or state employees assigned outside California and their spouses, registered domestic partners and children.
  5. Employees of school districts.
  6. State Government Legislature or Executive Fellowship Program enrollee.
  7. Amateur student athletes.
  8. Spouse or child of deceased law enforcement or fire suppression and prevention public employee.
  9. Undergraduate dependent of September 11, 2011 attack victims.
  10. Military personnel: a number of exceptions are available to active military personnel, their dependents or to recently discharged military personnel.

California Nonresident Tuition Exemption

Non-California residents who meet certain criteria may be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges, the California State University, and the University of California.

Students who qualify for a California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request (AB 540) are Non-California residents who:

  • Attended a California high school for three or more years AND
  • Graduated from a California high school or equivalent (for example, passing the GED or California High School Proficiency exam).
  • If a student who is without lawful immigration status and must file an affidavit with the college or university stating that he/she has filed an application to legalize his/her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he/she is eligible to do so.

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.

Students who are nonimmigrants [for example, those who hold the following visas F, J, H, L, A, B, E, etc.] are not eligible.

Nonresident students meeting the criteria will be exempt from the payment of nonresident tuition, but they will not be classified as California residents. They continue to be 'nonresidents'.

The California Dream Act extends Cal Grant A and B Entitlement awards, Cal Grant C awards, Chaffee grants, and institutional financial aid to students that meet these criteria as well as the applicable criteria for eligibility for specific types of financial aid.

AB 540 does not provide federal student financial aid eligibility for undocumented students. These students remain ineligible for federal financial aid.

Students who qualify for the AB 540 tuition exemption must submit a California nonresident tuition exemption request along with their high school transcript.

The Chancellor's Office also has resources for undocumented students.

Residence Document Deadline

All residence related items for the fall term must be submitted by February 15th to ensure that the residence status is properly classified for tuition and financial aid purposes.

Appeal Information

Students classified as nonresidents may appeal to the Chancellor’s Office within 30 calendar days of the issuance of the notification of the final campus decision. The campus decision may be appealed only if at least one of the following applies:

The decision was based on:

  • a significant error of fact;
  • a significant procedural error; or
  • an incorrect application of law which, if corrected, would require that the student be reclassified as a resident; and/or
  • Significant new information, not previously known or available to the student, became available after the date of the campus decision classifying the student as a nonresident and based on the new information, the classification as a nonresident is incorrect.

Students must explain why the appeal meets one or more of the above appeal criteria and provide supporting documentation. For example, a “significant error of fact” could be demonstrated by stating that the campus incorrectly determined that a specific document, such as a driver’s license, was untimely and by providing a copy of the document establishing the error. An appeal that only states “a significant error of fact,” will be denied.

Appeals should be submitted online.


If you would like to contact or submit documents to your residence evaluator, please reference your corresponding evaluator information based upon your last name.

Last Name A-M Sergio Estrada
Admissions Counselor
Residence Specialist
Phone: (909) 537-3458
Fax: (909) 537-7034
Last Name N-Z

Juanita Olivo
Admissions Counselor
Residence Specialist
Phone: (909) 537-5207
Fax: (909) 537-7034

Students incorrectly classified as residents or incorrectly granted an exception from non-resident tuition are subject to reclassification as non-residents and payment of non-resident tuition in arrears. If incorrect classification results from false or concealed facts, the student is subject to discipline pursuant to Section 41301 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.