California Residency and the Dream Act

Legal California Residents

To qualify as a California resident you must verify physical presence in California and intent to become a resident one year prior to the day before classes begin for a new term. The one-year period begins when you are not only present in California, but also have demonstrated clear intent to become a resident of California.  Not to be precluded from establishing residency by provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (Title 5, 54020 and 54028).

The burden of proof is on the student to verify both physical presence in California and intent to make California your residence. No single document is controlling or decisive.

Students may be required to complete a Supplemental Residency Questionnaire to clarify residency or apply for a residency reclassification. Residency changes are not automatic. Residency will not be changed once the semester has begun.

Final determination of residency will be made by the college at the time of admission or readmission evidence will be required to prove physical presence in California and intent to make California the legal residence residence determination shall be made as of the day before the first day of the semester of application All documents must be submitted in a timely manner for residency determination.

Starting November 26, 2012, all students will now be required to pay for classes on the same day they register instead of a three-day window for payment.  Read more.

Starting January 1, 2013, AB 540 students may apply for a Board of Governors (BOG) waiver using a dedicated application available in the Financial Aid Office, on the Financial Aid website, and in the forthcoming Spring 2013 class schedule. Read more.

Any student other than a non-immigrant alien, who meets all of the following requirements, shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges (all public colleges and universities in California).


  • The student must have attended a high school (public or private) in California for three or more years.
  • The student must have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of the term (for example, passing the GED or California High School Proficiency exam).
  • An alien student who is without lawful immigration status must file an affidavit with the college or university stating that he or she has 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.

The Admissions & Records Specialist, Sylvia Romo will be available in AD/SS-100 by appointment for students inquiring of residency topics.

Nonresident Tuition Fee Exemption to Eligible Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Holders:

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:

  • Iraqi citizens or nationals (and thier 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 Unites 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
  • Refugee student admitted to the United States under Section 1157 of Title 8 of the United States Code